SAGE Education and Events Coordinator Sandra Makdessi uses beetroot whenever it’s available locally and has kindly shared her favorite sweet and savory recipes.
1. Beetroot stems salsa
- Beetroot stems salsa
- Quick Indian beetroot salad
- Beetroot, rhubarb and potato gratin
- Preserved Beetroot
- Beetroot salad with walnuts and cumin
- Lentils and Beets with Salsa Verde
- Beetroot and rhubarb salad (V)
- Chocolate and beetroot brownies
- Beet and Ginger Cake with Cream
Use it All – The Cornersmith guide to a more sustainable kitchen - cook book Don’t throw your beetroot stems away, instead, make salsa! Enjoy it on toast with eggs or goats’ cheese, tossed through a beetroot salad or served with grilled lamb.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 finely sliced red onion
- 2 cups (200gm) thinly sliced beetroot stems
- Bunch of dill, chopped leaves and stems (reserve some for garnish)
- Pinch chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoon capers (or thinly sliced gherkins, chopped olives or preserve lemon)
- Pinch chilli flakes
- Pinch of salt
- Splash of red wine vinegar
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan, over a low heat.
- Add red onion and beetroot stems, sauté for a minute
- Add a handful of dill leaves and stems, chili flakes and sauté for 10 minutes.
- Add finely diced capers (or gherkins), salt, a splash of vinegar and cook for about 5 minutes more.
- Mix in some extra dill.
2. Quick Indian beetroot salad
Prep 20 min | Cook 1 hr 5 min | Serves 4 as a side
- About 600g raw beetroot
- 5 garlic cloves, skins on
- 1 tbsp ghee or butter
- 1 tsp each mustard seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds
- 6 curry leaves
- 1 red chilli
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper
100g natural yoghurt and Flatbreads or chapati
- Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)
- Cut tops off beetroot, wrap them in foil with the whole garlic cloves, put on a roasting tray and bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on size.
- Unwrap the foil to let them cool slightly, then peel off the garlic skins
- Peel and chop the cooled, cooked beetroot into chunks and put in a bowl with the garlic, and mix.
- In a frying pan on a high heat, melt the ghee or butter. Add the mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves, red chilli and nigella seeds: they should all crackle with the heat.
- Fry for one to two minutes, until everything is toasted and crackling nicely, then pour straight on to the beetroot.
- Squeeze over the lime juice and zest, season well and serve with a dollop of yoghurt and flatbread to soak up the juices.
3. Beetroot, rhubarb and potato gratin
‘This beetroot, rhubarb and potato gratin might just get the all-time gratin crown.’ Serves 6
Butter, for greasing
1kg potatoes, preferably waxy ones such as desiree or charlotte
500g cooked beetroot, peeled
300ml weak vegetable stock
300ml double cream
150ml sour cream
2 bay leaves
2 tsp pink peppercorns or ½ tsp black peppercorns
200g forced rhubarb, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Butter a large gratin dish.
- Peel the potatoes and slice them very finely – a mandolin or the fine slicer attachment on a foodprocessor is the best way to do this; just watch your fingers if you’re using a mandolin.
- Cut the beetroot into fine slices as well – they don’t have to quite be as thin, so you could just use a knife.
- Put the stock and both the creams into a large saucepan, along with the bay leaves and 1 tsp of the peppercorns.
- Bring the liquid to just under the boil, then take off the heat and leave to sit for 30 minutes or so.
- Remove the bay leaves, leaving the peppercorns in, then bring the liquid to just below a simmer.
- Add the sliced potatoes and cook gently for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, season really well with salt and pepper, and spoon half the potatoes into the gratin dish.
- Put half the beetroot and rhubarb on top, seasoning as you go, then top with the rest of the potatoes and their cream, followed by the rest of the beetroot.
- Roughly bash the remaining pink peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and sprinkle on the gratin.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are completely tender. Cover the top with foil after about 45 minutes if it looks like it is becoming too dark.
4. Preserved Beetroot
- 6 Beetroots
- 1.5 cups of Malt Vinegar
- 1 cup of Water
- 1 cup of Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- Wash the beetroot to remove the dirt and then chop leaf stems off so only an inch or so is left.
- Place Beetroot into a pot of water (skins on) and bring to the boil.
- Boil until they are soft – about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the boiling water and allow to cool. Save the water for the preserving mixture.
- Start making the preserving mixture while the beetroot cools.
- Put all ingredients into a pot, and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
- When the beetroot has cooled, rub the skins away – they should come off easily having been boiled.
- Cut the beetroot into slices, and then halve the slices if desired.
- Place them into sterilised jars, so the slices lay horizontally in the jar.
- Pour the boiled preserving mixture into the jar, over the beetroot.
- Seal with sterilised lids and then using heat protection, gently tap the bottom of the jar on a chopping board to force the air bubbles up to the surface and also settled the slices.
- Leave the jars for at least a week so the Beetroot pickles.
5. Beetroot salad with walnuts and cumin
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall beetroot salad with walnuts and cumin: The younger the beet, the better. This salad is full of crunch, sweetness, and vibrant colour of raw beetroot, but it needs to be grated finely. With the warmth of cumin, walnuts and creamy yoghurt, it makes a salad packed with mouth-filling flavour. Serves 4.
- 75g walnuts
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- About 400g beetroot
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- Juice of 1 small orange
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp plain, full-fat yoghurt
- A pinch of hot smoked paprika
- Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and add the walnuts. Toast gently for a few minutes, tossingoften, until they smell toasted and are colouring in a few places, then tip into a mortar.
- Put the cumin seeds into the frying pan and toast gently for a minute or two, tossing a few times, just until they start to release their scent. Tip on to a plate to stop them cooking further.
- Peel the beetroot, grate it coarsely and put it in a bowl. (If you have fresh baby beetroot, just slice it very thin.)
- Add the parsley, orange juice, a squeeze of lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil, and season.
- Stir, adjust the seasoning to taste and, if possible, leave for 20 minutes or so, during which time the dressing will marinate and tenderise the beetroot.
- Roughly bash the walnuts with the pestle and scatter over.
- Roughly bash the cumin in the mortar and scatter most of it over the beets.
- Finish with a final trickle of oil, dot with blobs of yoghurt and sprinkle on the remaining cumin and the paprika.
6. Lentils and Beets with Salsa Verde
Recipe adapted from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones | Serves 4. This is a gorgeous recipe – full of flavours, texture and colour!
For the beetroots
- 8 medium firm beetroots, peeled and quartered
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the lentils
- 400g puy lentils (french lentils here), washed
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 small tomato
- 1 bay leaf
- a few sprigs of thyme (or a pinch of dried)
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- for the salsa verde
- 2 tablespoons capers (35g)
- 2 tablespoons cornichons (50g)
- a bunch of fresh mint
- a bunch of fresh parsley
- a bunch of fresh basil
- extra virgin olive oil
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
- Preheat your oven to 180C (or 160C fan-forced)
- Prepare beetroot - Put the quartered beetroots on a tray with the red wine vinegar and a good glug ofolive oil and a splash of water, season with salt and pepper then toss everything together to coat. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour or until the beetroot are tender.
- While the beets are roasting, get on with your lentils.
- Put them in a pan with the unpeeled garlic cloves, tomato, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with vegetable stock and on a medium heat, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes, untilthey are cooked and the liquid has evaporated. You can always top up with a little water throughoutthe cooking if it starts to look a little dry.
- When your lentils are cooking, make your salsa verde.
- In a food processor add your capers and cornichons and whizz until finely chopped but not mush. Add your herbs, olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Taste. Does it need more lemon juice? oil? salt? now is the chance for you to make it to your liking.
- Back to the lentils - Once the lentils are cooked and all the liquid has evaporated, scoop out the tomato and garlic cloves and place them in a bowl to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, pop the garlic out of the skins and place back in the bowl with the tomato. Mash the garlic and tomato up with a fork and stir into the lentil. Season lentils with salt, pepper, a glug of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar.
- Finally when the beets are cooked, pile the lentils onto plates, top with the roasted beets and drizzle with any roasting juices still in the pan. Spoon over the salsa verde to finish.
NOTE: salsa verde will last 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge and is amazing on fish taco's the next day!
7. Beetroot and rhubarb salad
We're coming into beet season, and all the different varieties mean you can play with colours and subtlety of flavour. Get golden, red and candy beets and you're in for a dazzle. Serves four.
- 800g various beetroots (or, if you can't get them, one type is fine)
- 300g rhubarb, cut on an angle into 2.5cm pieces
- 30g caster sugar
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- ¾ tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp ground allspice (pimento)
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 20g picked parsley leaves
- 100g creamy gorgonzola or similar blue cheese, torn into small chunks
- Salt and black pepper
- Mixed salad leaves
- Set the oven to 200C.
- Wrap the beets individually in foil and bake for 40-70 minutes, depending on size. To check, push a sharp knife through to the centre of each one – it should be soft all the way through. Set aside to
cool, then peel and cut into a rough 2cm dice.
- Toss the rhubarb with the sugar, spread it over a foil-lined oven tray and roast for 10-12 minutes,until soft but not mushy. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, molasses, maple syrup, oil, allspice and some salt and pepper.
- Add the onion, set aside for a few minutes to soften.
- Then add the parsley and beets. Stir to combine, season to taste and, just before serving, gently fold in the rhubarb, its juices.
- Place mixed salad leaves on a platter and add the salad on top, including all the juices.
- Top with the cheese and serve.
8. Chocolate and beetroot brownies
The international success of carrot cake has surely paved the way for experimentation with root vegetables in other cake recipes.
Prep 25mins | Cook 25mins
- 250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 250g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
- 3 medium eggs
- 150g caster sugar
- A pinch of sea salt
- 150g self-raising flour (wholemeal ideally but white works well too)
- 250g beetroot, boiled until tender, cooled, peeled and grated
- Grease a shallow baking tin, approximately 20 x 25cm, and line the base with baking parchment.
- Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Set the oven at 180°C and put the bowl in it for a few minutes until the chocolate and butter start to melt.
- Stir, then put back in to the oven for a few more minutes to melt completely. Of course, you could melt them together in the traditional way, over a pan of hot water, but it is a shame not to exploit the warming oven.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl until combined then beat in the melted chocolate and butter until smooth.
- Combine the salt with the flour, sift them over the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Fold in the grated beetroot – be careful not to over-mix or it will make the brownies tough.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes; when the brownies are done, a knife or skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
- Don’t be tempted to overcook them or they will be dry. Remove the tin from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool before cutting into squares.
9. Beet & Ginger Cake with Cream Cheese
9 to 12 servings
Adapted from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh
Although I liked the cake just fine without it, a little ground cinnamon or allspice in the cake batter would be welcome, for those who like spices. The original recipe had some fresh ginger juice added to the cream cheese frosting, but I didn’t think it was necessary; it was so good on its own. The candied ginger in the cake gave it enough bite.
For the beet and ginger cake
- ½ cup (100g) finely chopped candied ginger
- 1 2/3 cups (200g) flour
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 2/3 cup (260g) grated fresh, raw beets
- finely grated zest of one orange
- 2/3 cup (75g) toasted walnuts, chopped
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (60g) sour cream
- ½ cup (125ml) sunflower or canola oil
- ¾ teaspoon Vitamin C powder or 1 (1500mg) vitamin C tablet, crushed to a fine powder (optional)
For the cream cheese frosting
- 160g cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup (60g) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
- 1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, or the finely grated zest of one lemon
- Butter an 20cm square or round pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. In a small bowl, pour boiling water over the candied ginger and let it sit for 15 minutes. Drain the ginger and squeeze out as much of the excess water as possible.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the grated beets, orange zest, walnuts, and candied ginger to the bowl, but do not stir in.
- Whisk together the eggs, sour cream, oil, and Fruit Fresh or vitamin C is a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the large bowl and use a spatula to mix the ingredients together, stirring just until thoroughly combined.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, even the top, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 40 minutes, although start checking it at the 30 minutes, or so, mark.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack, then remove the cake from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and let cool completely.
- To frost the cake, beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or by hand in a large bowl, using a wooden spoon or spatula), until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar until it’s completely incorporated. Add the heavy cream and vanilla (or lemon zest) and beat for about 1 minute on high speed, until thickened. The frosting may seem rather soft, but spread beautifully.
- Spread the frosting over the top of the cake.
Storage: The cake will keep for up to 3 days. If not eaten the same day, it’s best stored in the refrigerator, although let it come to room temperature before serving, if you can.