Valentino Salad is a perfect starter for a romantic dinner, it’s a light earthy salad with roasted beets, strawberries, roquefort, sunflower seeds and arugula topped with an aged balsamic vinegar.Valentino Salad is a perfect starter for a romantic dinner, it's a light earthy salad with roasted beets, strawberries, roquefort, sunflower seeds and arugula topped with an aged balsamic vinegar.

Valentine Salad

If there is something I like about blogging recipes is to choose a name for my recipes. This one was a no brainer… just a quick look at it and it’s clearly a romantic looking salad and Valentine’s day is coming so Valentin0 Salad seemed appropriate. Since we are all having different eating habits and different partners… I’ve done 2 plating designs for this salad, one really light and modern with the beets being cut into squares and a minimalist presentation with just a few arugula leaves. I’ve used a balsamic cream to decorate the plate. The other version (see below) is a more everyday life salad, maybe a tad less esthetic but filled with arugula and a bigger portion with lots of aged balsamic vinegar. Also, I’ve added small pearled onions marinated in balsamic vinegar, those taste fantastic, almost like caramels. It’s a product you’ll find only in Italian delicacy shop and of course it’s optional. Both salad styles have the same ingredients, the plating is just a question of preference because in the end they both taste equally dreamy!

Valentine Salad

Romantic Roquefort

If you ask me “which cheese screams romance?” I’ll answer “roquefort” right away. Roquefort is in my opinion one of the sexiest cheese out there, I can not put exactly the finger on it though as to why… Maybe it’s because it’s a bold sharp flavored cheese just like passion is… or maybe it’s in its texture: creamy and soft or maybe the legend about how the cheese got discovered. A young shepherd boy eating his lunch in a cave in the South of France when suddenly he saw a young lady and just pursued her (not the creepy way hopefully…) and a few weeks later he came back and his cheese became blue from the special flora of the cave resulting into “Roquefort”.

The art of Salad

Valentine SaladI’ve done a post about the “art of making a salad” which is my own golden rules to an exquisite salad. I do have a “thing” for salads. As I was grew up, I would always be the one who makes the salad up until today, I go back home whether it’s at my parent’s or sister’s place, I’m always the one in charge of the salad. I like my “salad maker” title and it’s probably because I love them and it shows, but I also do believe salads are underrated… By definition a salad is a mix of ingredients, and to make sense of a “mix of ingredients” it isn’t always so simple. For this particular salad every single element is complementing the next; for example; beets are so earthy they need an acidic and salty element to counterbalance it so the balsamic vinegar and the salty roquefort is perfect for it. Roquefort as a sharp tang that can overwhelm but with the sweetness of the strawberry no worries here… arugula is bringing this light spicy touch and crunch to the dish… I could go on and on… sorry I’m a weirdo about salads… But in the end it’s all about having a general harmony which is what makes a salad stands out!


Valentino Salad

Makes 2 portions | Preparation: 10 minutes

IngredientsValentine Salad
  • 1 pre roasted beetroot
  • arugula 
  • strawberries
  • roquefort cheese
  • sunflower seeds
  • aged balsamic vinegar or cream
  • a tad of olive oil
  • *optional pearled onions in balsamic
  • salt and pepper
  1. Simply cut the beet in a square (modern way) and cut 3mm thick slices with the mandoline (keep the sides for later use)
  2. Add to the bottom of the plate the slices of beetroots
  3. Add the strawberries, arugula, sunflower seeds, *pearled onions and roquefort
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar
  5. Salt and pepper


Let the romantic dinner begin. Enjoy!



beets and apricot saladBeetroot and apricot salad topped with fresh goat cheese and pistachios. The earthy beetroot is the perfect companion to the perfumed and sweet apricot, the goat cheese bring the salt element to the dish and the pistachios the crunch. In other word… a perfectly balanced and delicious salad.

beets and apricot saladMy mom showed me that recipe, the original was with raspberries and beets and I remembered at first being skeptical with the whole mix of goat cheese, beets, raspberries… But once you try it, you’ll make this salad for the rest of your life, guaranteed!

Like in most salads… it’s fairly simple to make. I like to slice with the mandoline thick slices of beets and add them to the bottom of a big plate, than you build the rest of the salad in the middle of it. We don’t eat only with our mouth…nose… but also the eyes.

As for the goat cheese…oh my… I’m a big fan of it. You would think… it’s whether you love or hate this cheese… but this isn’t true. I’m telling you, you can corrupt even the worst goat cheese hater with this salad, just don’t add too much at first… then it’s gonna be more and more each time. You’ll see, it’s a magic salad. I talk from experience here… I have one of those at home, and since I am a goat cheese lover and he isn’t… well, he says he isn’t, but he doesn’t complain when I do this salad with goat cheese.

So let’s get that perfect salad ready!

Beets, Goat Cheese and Apricot Salad

Makes 2 salads

beets and apricot saladIngredients
  • 1 pre cooked beetroot
  • 2 apricots
  • Lettuce of your choice
  • a few slices of fresh goat cheese
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • a few pistachios
  • Balsamic cream *optional
Salad dressing
  • 4 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp of white wine mustard or dijon
  • salt, pepper
  1. Cut the Beetroot with the mandoline in 5mm thick slices
  2. Add the slices to a big plate
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients in the center of the beetroot flower
  4. Make the salad dressing
  5. Pour over the center
  6. Add a little balsamic cream and pistachios on top *optional


beets and apricot salad

goat cheese grilled cheese.jpg

Just saw on Twitter; it’s national grilled cheese day! Oh and I LOVE grilled cheeses! I had to do something about it… so I’ve checked the fridge and saw some leftovers from my beets patties recipe, a leftover of goat cheese, baguette and just bought some good fresh basil leaves. Heavenly mix! It’s not a classic grilled cheese clearly, it’s a… let say… experimental one. With a side of strawberries, oh! and the result was fantastic! I could pat myself on the back for this one. I did it last minute without much thinking and now I got myself a new top 10 sandwich on my repertoire. So if you really need to know how to do it: go get the red patties recipe here and then do:

Grilled goat cheese sandwich

goat cheese grilled cheeseIngredients
  • Red beets patties
  • baguette cut in 2
  • 1 tbsp salted butter
  • Slices of goat cheese (buche)
  • Fresh basil leaves
  1. In a non sticky pan, add the butter to melt at medium-low heat
  2. Add the 2 pieces of baguette
  3. Add on top of it the patties, cheese and basil leaves
  4. Cover, cook for 3 minutes at low heat
  5. Turn the lonely half of baguette mid-coccion
  6. Assemble on a plate

Enjoy with a few strawberries!

Beets quinoa patties

Red beetroot, red quinoa, red pepper and why not a few strawberries to make it extra red and tasty. Those red patties are a great alternative to falafel or even meat, they go where you like them to go, whether it’s a veggie burger, a wrap, a salad or just a snack by itself. They are also gluten free since buckwheat flour is used. You simply have to do different shapes, depending on what you intend to do with them. I usually like to put a bunch of different Beets quinoa pattiesvegetables on the table with those red patties, and everyone does their own mix. You can add a nice tzatziki with it or a sweet mustard (mango mustard is great to, if you have some at home). In my case I did it with tzatziki a la Maria-Pia. As sidekicks;  avocados, goat cheese, spinach and tomatoes are fantastic.

Those red patties are not only healthy, tasty and light but a good deed. See… as scientists told us, the amount of meat we consume is pretty intense, not only is it bad for our health, but our environment. I’m not myself a vegetarian, but I do not want to simply ignore it either… if everyone would try to cut their meat intake that would make the world a much better place. The bovine meat is, by the way, the worst on the scale of impact for the environment, so why not skip that beef patty and try out this one… You won’t regret it.

So here is the recipe to your new alternative to beef!

Red beets and quinoa patties

Makes 4 portions

IngredientsBeets quinoa patties
  • 1 big precooked beetroot (250g)
  • 60g red quinoa
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 250g chickpeas
  • 5 strawberries *optional
  • 40g crunched pistachios
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt, red pepper
Toppings * suggestions
  • avocado
  • baby spinach
  • tomatoes
  • goat cheese
  • Tzatziki

Bring the oven to 180C° (350F)

  1. Start by cooking the quinoa
  2. In a mixer, add the onions, garlic, chickpeas and mix (not too fine, so we can get bite of chickpeas ones in a while)
  3. Reserve into big bowl
  4. In the mixer, add the beets, strawberries, pistachios and mix
  5. Add to beets to the big bowl
  6. Add the quinoa, vinegar, olive oil, egg and mix
  7. Pour in the flour in a few times, and mix with a wooden spoon until the consistency is holding  on the side of the bowl without falling down.
  8. Add baking sheet to a tray and make the balls the size you want, whether it’s a golf ball size of beef patty size, but it should all be the same size, otherwise it will cook unevenly (I did 2 different batches).
  9. Cook for 20-25 minutes depending of the size of your patties
  10. Let cool a bit, serve with healthy wraps or burger bread, avocado, tzatziki, tomatoes, salad of your choice and goat cheese