There was a time I barely knew you, beetroot. I thought I had your number (only good for borscht) but oh your hidden depths.
Raw in beetroot and carrot salad, roasted for caramelised sweetness, sumptuous in chocolate brownies.
Beetroot’s unequivocal colour makes it a natural dye. Bear in mind beetroot turns everything red. (Including your urine).
Red is fitting because iron-rich beetroot helps make red blood cells. Its powerful pigment is due to the super-nutrient, betacyanin. Beetroot has been used medicinally for centuries because it helps detoxify the liver.
This is my current fave way to eat beetroot.
Beetroot and feta salad
The feta adds creamy saltiness to beetroot’s natural sweetness, while the raw red onion adds succulent crunch and freshness.
You can substitute crumbly white cheese such as Caerphilly, or fried tofu, for the feta.
Two large beetroots or a few small ones
1-2 small red onions or shallots sliced/chopped
Packet of feta cheese
Olive oil and balsamic to taste
Scrape or peel beetroots. Cut into chunks or cubes, cover with cold water and bring to the boil then simmer for about 25 minutes or until beetroot is easy to cut but not too soft.
Drain the beetroot (drink the cooled cooking juice!), and put into a serving bowl. Add the cut-up red onion and diced feta. Drizzle the beetroot with oil and vinegar.
Beetroot grows in the UK, and stores well – a perfect winter vegetable, and very versatile.
What are your fave ways to eat the beet?
Posted in eating well on a budget, food, health, organic, recipe, sustainable, vegetarian
Tagged beetroot, cooked, feta, good for you, salad, scratch
I used to think beetroots had to be cooked. Now I am wiser, I know they can be raw. And may be more nutritious as a result.
Grating beetroots makes crunching effortless while an oil and vinegar dressing adds luxury. Carrots, also grated, are a perfect companion.
You know what they say: eat for colour: orange, reds (and more), each colour containing different immune-boosting nutrients.
I first came across the beetroot/carrot combo at the Better Food Cafe about seven years ago, and copied the idea, working out a version at home.
Then turned it into a recipe for Grown in Britain Cookbook. I wish I had name-checked my inspiration so glad to be doing so now. My beetroots came from the Better Food Company, too.
I peeled the carrots and beetroots, above. Grown organically, slowly, biologically, they are chemical-free and needed only scrubbing, plus the skin has nutrients. (But I am not perfect and peeling is faster).
I was taken with the yellow, white and purple carrots, as they used to be before 17th century Dutch growers went monoculture orange to praise William of Orange. Poetically, these 21st century rainbow carrots were grown in Holland.
I had bought my Dutch rainbow organic carrots at the Bear Fruit stall (above) in the Bear Pit, Bristol.
The Bear Pit is, by the way, an example of urban regeneration from the grass-roots-up. A dingy subway on a busy city roundabout now transformed by locals into a lively market and meeting place.
Beetroot and Carrot Salad – ingredients for four
- 600g raw beetroot
- 600g raw carrots
- 50g sunflower seeds
- Dressing: 4 tablespoon olive oil + 50ml balsamic vinegar
- oil for frying/toasting + soy sauce for seeds
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Fresh herbs (parsley, coriander) or snipped salad cress.
- 1.1. Scrub/peel carrots and beetroot, and trim tops and tails. Keep carrots whole for grating. Peel the beetroot and cut in half. Grate the raw vegetables, using hand grater or food processor. Combine in large bowl and add olive oil and vinegar dressing.2. If not serving immediately, don’t add dressing yet. Instead, store covered in fridge. Remove 1 hour before serving to bring to room temperature. Then add dressing (below).
3. For the vinaigrette, put the oil and vinegar in a screw-top jar, put the lid on tightly and shake vigorously.
4. Gently heat olive oil in a small frying pan and toast the seeds for 3–4 minutes over a moderate heat, stirring to prevent sticking. Add the soy sauce at the end of the cooking, if using. Most of the sauce will evaporate, leaving a salty taste and extra browning for the seeds. Store the toasted seeds in a jar with a lid if preparing the day before.
5. When ready to serve, add the chopped herbs to the grated beetroot and carrot. Shake the screw-top jar with vinaigrette, then pour over the vegetables, and season to taste. Toss the salad gently until everything glistens. Scatter the toasted seeds.
Posted in eating well on a budget, food, health, organic, producers, recipe, recipe idea, sustainable, vegetarian
Tagged antioxidants, Bear Pit, beetroot, Better Food Company, Bristol, cancer-fighting, carrot, colour, orange, organic, raw, salad
Celeriac’s brutish appearance belies its tender nature.
This winter root vegetable makes a fabulous nutritious raw salad in minutes.
Here is the celeriac peeled, its dirty shavings discarded and its whiteness revealed, ready for grating.
After grating it, I dressed the organically-grown celeriac with yogurt, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice. All organic because I want less of the bad stuff, more of the good stuff.
Nigel Slater’s classic celeriac remoulade is made with cream and mayonnaise. He points out dressed celeriac goes soggy overnight so eat it freshly-made.
Celeriac salad goes well with many dishes such as fish
– and is also just great on its own.
I have to eat. Now. Quick and dirty.
So I grab a tin of organic haricots beans, a must-have cupboard staple.
I open it with the ring-pull and drain the health-sustaining beans in a sieve.
I put them in a bowl and snip whatever fresh things I can lay my hands on:
- wild garlic flowers from a walk a week ago
- chive flowers from my balcony pot
- winter chard that kindly reappeared this spring when I thought it was a gonner
I added olive oil, balsamic vinegar and crunchy rock salt.
All of which sounds poncy but make all the difference to a dish so get over it.
What is your most cannot-live-without cupboard staple?
PS Inspired by Lynn who comments here and grows organic produce for vegetarian restaurant in Bath, the well-established Demuth’s, I ate lunch there on Friday. My thali with all its different tastes and textures including dhal and chickpeas cost £10.95 . I also liked my dining companion’s beetroot dish.
Posted in food
Tagged Balsamic vinegar, bean salad, canned beans, chives, Demuth's vegetarian restaurant, haricots beans, organic beans, organic food, salad, tinned organic beans, wild garlic
I was feeling a bit under the weather but this salad revived me.
Chloe (who by now knows I won’t touch a raw tomato, nor am enamoured of radish or spring onion) made me a Winkler-friendly version.
Extending her repertoire to cater for my fussiness, she found new ways to palate-please by adding sliced grapes and goji berries to Marshford‘s organic salad leaves and carrots.
The salty creaminess of the (organic) goat’s cheese with the sweet wetness of the grape with the earthy-tartness (oi, earth tart!) of the goji was indeed a felicitous mixture.
Maude (above) also approved (and is not a salad-lover like me).
I had consciously let go of kitchen-control, sat instead while others cooked (steamed turnips and baked fish followed the restorative salad).
My attempts at zen-like submission were rewarded.