root salad with sumac yoghurt dressing

grated beetroot and celeriac, with sliced kohlrabi, blood orange segments, with a few parsley leaves, capers, and a yoghurt sumac dressing on a plate

A great salad for March. It’s crunchy (root veg) and colourful (beetroot and blood orange) with a yoghurt dressing made citrusy with sumac.  Luckily, we no longer think of salads as wilting lettuce leaves, tomatoes and cucumbers. Since leaves are in short supply in March, your veg box, local greengrocer or market will have some beetroot and celeriac. Other roots are available. Use what’s to hand. Our fridge had a kohlrabi (German turnip), and two small soft beetroots that had missed the boat for roasting. Basing ours on a recipe from Tender by Nigel Slater, we scattered in some sumac, giving each mouthful more citrus zing.  

Sumac is used a lot in salads in Lebanon. In mountainous areas where lemons don’t grow, these berries grow wild and provide the lemony taste for salads and more in Lebanon. Preserving them is part of the culinary heritage of Lebanon. Sumac is an essential ingredient in Lebanese “mouneh”, foods that are preserved in rural areas. It’s a spice added for its acidity.

Using seasonal produce is a trait of any Lebanese household. Celeriac and beetroot, while delicious cooked, when grated create different textures. Mandolin sliced kohlrabi marinated in thin slivers of blood orange, spiked with capers is a salad in itself. But here it forms the foundations of this beautiful rainbow. A handful of parsley, while not essential, provides the green we often expect in a salad and vitamins A, K and C. Drench the salad with Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil, for those polyphenols we need. When mixed with salt and lemon juice, marvel at how the EVOO emulsifies into a thick dressing as you whisk. The yoghurt dressing isn’t essential, but adds a luxuriously velvety note to your meal. 

enough for 4


1/2 kohlrabi, sliced very finely, on a mandolin if you have one
a blood orange, segmented
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon of capers
70ml Zejd extra virgin olive oil
2 small beetroot, peeled and grated
200g piece of celeriac, peeled and grated
a handful of parsley leaves (optional)

for the dressing
100g yoghurt
2 tablespoons of Zejd extra virgin olive oil
garlic, 1 small clove, crushed
1 tablespoon of Zejd sumac and some extra for scattering.


  1. Peel half a kohlrabi, and using a mandolin, slice it finely. If you don’t have one, slice it as thin as you can. Place the pieces on each plate.
  2. Peel and segment the blood orange, arranging the slivers on top of the kohlrabi.
  3. In a bowl, add a pinch of salt to the lemon juice, and whisk in Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil. Stir in the capers, and pour over the kohlrabi. 
  4. Peel and coarsely grate the celeriac and beetroots into a bowl. Add in the handful of parsley leaves, if using, and mix with your hands to distribute the colour. 
  5. Add the crushed garlic to another bowl containing the yoghurt and a pinch of salt. Pour in the EVOO and stir in the sumac. 
  6. Pile a handful of the grated root veg onto each plate. Either serve with the sumac yoghurt dressing in a bowl alongside, or add a generous dollop onto each plate. To finish the plate, scatter some sumac on top just before eating.

This makes a wonderful winter salad to go with a cheese board or some smoked mackerel for an easy weekend lunch. 

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