Quick and easy, fresh beetroot recipes

Beat the winter blues by adding a colourful and seasonal twist to salads with beetroot. 

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According to recent findings by scientists at Imperial College London, we should all be eating 10 portions of vegetables and fruit a day to lower our chances of developing heart disease, stroke, cancer and premature death. February can be a challenging month for leafy greens but if you want to increase your vegetable intake and like your salad bowl to reflect the changing of the seasons, consider adding beetroot for colour and flavour. During the winter months it is widely available and packed full of vitamins and antioxidants to keep those office coughs and colds at bay.

In these three salads it’s eaten raw and cooked. For salads, roasting gives a sweeter, deeper flavour. To roast: take six to eight beets, and cut the leaves leaving a short stub so the roots don’t bleed. Scrub and place in a roasting dish with a splash of water. Cover securely with foil and roast at 200ºC for around 45 min or until soft when pierced with a knife. When cool peel off the skins.

 

Recipes

 

Walnut, chicory, blue cheese and beetroot

Take around eight walnuts and remove the kernels (around 50g shelled nuts). Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan until they begin to smell nutty. Remove and cool. Take a head of castelfranco or other loose-leafed chicory, separate into leaves, wash and spin dry. Arrange the leaves in a salad bowl with around 450g of roasted beetroots cut into quarters (or eighths if large). Make a simple vinaigrette of 3tbsp olive oil and 1tbsp cider or wine vinegar, and season. Just before serving, crumble over around 50g of blue cheese (it works well without too) and add the walnuts, then dress, toss and serve.
You can also serve beetroots with endive and two pared, sliced oranges in a vinaigrette dressing with the added zest of one orange and its juice. Peel and slice the orange and set aside. Wash and crisp some endive in cold water. Drain and dry well before mixing with the beetroots and the orange and toss in the dressing.

 

Crisp beetroot, carrot, apple and chickpea salad

If you have a julienne attachment on a mandolin or food processor, you can make a variety of vibrant root vegetable salads very easily. This one would go well with a hefty chicken sandwich for a good gardener’s lunch. Take one beetroot (raw and peeled), two carrots (peeled), one green apple, one small red onion (peeled) and one cucumber and use the julienne attachment or a knife to cut them all into matchsticks. Chop a handful of flat-leaved parsley and add half a tin of drained chickpeas. Dress with vinaigrette (as above) toss and serve.

 

Beetroot with dandelion greens

Roast and peel around eight medium beetroot. Dress the beets in vinaigrette (a little saltier than usual) and allow the beetroot to macerate for an hour. Take a handful of washed and dried dandelion greens (or use rocket or lamb’s lettuce) and just before serving toss with the beetroots. This dish is good before an omelette as part of a simple supper.

 

(If you don't like beetroot) Carrot, celeriac and rocket salad

Root vegetables can be julienned, then dressed with lemon juice and chilli and left to macerate before being mixed with bitter or pepper leaves just before serving. Take three carrots, peel, julienne and massage with the juice of half a lemon and a sprinkle of chilli flakes and salt. Do the same with half a celeriac (keep the vegetables separate at this stage). After half an hour, toss the two root vegetables together with a bunch of washed and dried rocket or lamb’s lettuce (about 200g). Dress with olive oil and serve. You can substitute fennel or celery for carrot or celeriac.

 

Words Jojo Tulloh

Illustration Sarah Young

This article was taken from a longer feature in the February 2016 issue of Gardens Illustrated (244). 

 

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