09 Apr Blushing Beetroot Recipes
I’m sure that growing up, most of us associated beetroot with the crinkle-cut slices that come in a jar. Or maybe the grated beetroot where it isn’t as easy to avoid the eye-watering vinegar pickle. If you were lucky, you might have had a granny who made homemade beetroot chutney or pickle.
Food snobbery aside, shop bought pickled beetroot in jars and vacuum-packed beetroot are good pantry staples to have on hand. I find the whole vacuum-packed beetroots to be more versatile and I buy them regularly. They’re handy to keep in the office fridge for when you need an easy extra veg to add to your lunch. Chop up, season and drizzle with balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar reduction if you’re feeling fancy. Add a dollop of plain yoghurt or cottage cheese for a bit of protein. And a sprinkle of toasted, flaked almonds if you really want to show off. A cheap and cheerful way to enjoy more vegetables.
Fortunately, perhaps thanks to juicing and a growing interest in healthy eating, fresh beetroot has become readily available. It is in season at the moment and supermarkets have been really good at stocking it. It is seasonal, local and gloriously fresh. And did I mention cheap? I’ve been buying loads of it and experimenting. You can’t really go wrong with classic flavour combinations and twists on traditional recipes. These are some of my new ideas and some old favourites.
Grated Raw Beetroot
This is my favourite way to prepare fresh, seasonal beetroot. Many people assume that raw beetroot would be too hard to eat, but once it’s grated and ‘pickled’ in dressing, it has a lovely texture and taste. You might need some food preparation gloves for this method, as the raw beetroot juice will stain your skin. Simply peel the beetroot and grate on the course side of a box grater or in a food processor. Dress the grated beetroot with plenty of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve as a simple side salad or mix with baby spinach leaves, quinoa and a sprinkling of feta cheese. Chopped walnuts and pecan nuts are a classic combination for this beetroot salad. Parsley and finely chopped fresh rosemary work well if you have them to hand.
Roasting works wonders for beetroot as it is caramelises the natural sweetness of the beetroot and makes it terrific tasty to use in warm salads and starters. After trying several methods, I think roasting the beetroot whole in their skins works the best. It seems to steam the beetroot and cook it more effectively. Simply place the whole beetroot on a roasting tray and bake at 180 degrees until tender. Allow to cool slightly and then peel and chop. You can roast the beetroot a second time with olive oil and seasoning if you want crispy edges. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar reduction and add to warm salads or as a delicious side dish for duck, lamb and pork.
I’m a huge fan of traditional hummus, and always have some on hand for crudités and wraps. Beetroot hummus is a lovely, seasonal version that is easy to whip up. Simply blitz together: 1 drained and rinsed 400g tin of chickpeas, 250g of cooked beetroot, 1 garlic clove, 2tbsp tahini, juice of half a lemon, 100ml of olive oil and 2tbsp horseradish sauce out of a jar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and a little more lemon juice if needed. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve with bread and crudités.
Rozanne’s Fridge Raid Plate de Jour
This is a very common lunch or dinner that I cobble together. I keep a variety of fruits, vegetables and protein foods in the fridge and pantry and I assemble a ‘snack’ plate for myself. I add a small amount of dip to keep it interesting. Vacuum packed or pickled beetroot from a jar is a staple. Combine small amounts of any or all the items below and add your favourites to the list:
- Beetroot slices (fresh, vacuum packed or out of a jar!)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cucumber sticks
- Celery sticks
- Apple wedges
- Pineapple chunks
- Leftover cold meats
- Tinned sweetcorn salad
- Raw mangetout
- Red pepper slices
- Hummus or cottage cheese as a dip
- Small blocks of feta cheese or slices of cheddar cheese
- Pickled gherkins
Fresh, pickled, raw or vacuum packed, make beetroot and its sweet, earthy flavours a regular feature in your meal plans.