Let’s beet it!
I think that we underestimate the value that beetroot can add to our diets. On top of its health benefits it is also available almost all year round. It is known by many names like table beet, garden beet, red beet or simply as beet, to name but a few. The whole plant is edible. The leaves, which are cooked like spinach, are fabulous. Stalks can be lightly steamed and dressed with a splash of fresh lemon juice and a good healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and there is also the root, which can be eaten as a hot vegetable, juiced, pickled, used in salads and made into relishes and jams. There are more ways with beetroot than you think.
Let us see why we should be eating more beetroot: it is a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrient. These include magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health.
Other studies have found the positive effects beetroot juice can have on human exercise and performances. In studies conducted by Exeter University, scientists found cyclists who drank a half-litre of beetroot juice several hours before setting off were able to ride up to 20% longer than those who drank a placebo blackcurrant juice. Now there’s something to think about; looks like we need to be “beeting” ourselves up.
Beetroot is said to have one of the highest sugar contents of any vegetable. Up to 10% of beetroot is sugar, but it is released slowly into the body. I think is better than a sudden sugar rush from eating sweets and chocolates.
It is also said that the juice contains nitrate, a chemical that reduces blood pressure and therefore cuts the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It functions by acting with other nutrients to reduce the concentration of homocysteine, a homologue of the naturally occurring amino acid cysteine, which can be harmful to blood vessels and thus contribute to the development of heart disease, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease. Beetroot is really so easy to grow, and on top of it all the young leaves make a delicious salad.
Roasted butternut, beetroot and feta salad
- Mixed lettuce
- 1 whole butternut, peeled and cubed
- 1kg beetroot, peeled and cubed
- 500g Danish feta
- 50g alfalfa sprouts
- 50g toasted pumpkin seeds
- 200ml balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tsp. of sugar
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Drizzle of olive oil
Honey and Dijon mustard dressing:
- 50ml honey
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1tsp whole grain mustard
- 75ml apple cider vinegar
- 25ml lemon juice
- 200ml olive oil
For the Dressing:
Add all ingredients to blender and emulsify.
For the Salad:
Preheat oven to 180 deg C, place the evenly cubed butternut into a roasting dish, sprinkle with a little sugar and cinnamon, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 45 minutes.
Peel and quarter the beetroot and place in a pot, add the 200ml balsamic vinegar and add water till the beetroots are submerged. Boil for 45 minutes till soft, adding water if needed. Removed and drain once cooked.
Thoroughly rinse and dry the mixed lettuce, place the roasted butternut, beetroot and feta evenly on the plate, sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds and alfalfa sprouts and garnish with fresh rocket. Serve with the honey and mustard dressing.
© Fraiche Food by Pam and Kyle Miller
Roasted beetroot salad
Delicious, earthy ruby wedges of beetroot roasted and served with its tender stems and leaves, finished off with skordalia and toasted sesame seeds. I tasted this at the Greek Sizzler in Johannesburg; this is my twist on it!
What could be more delicious than a meal made from really fresh, seasonal local ingredients?
My mouth is ready to receive every time I walk past my newly watered rocket bed and I think nothing of shoving a handful of freshly picked leaves into my mouth! Imported fruit and vegetables might add variety and interest to meals, but they come at a higher cost than seasonal ingredients and they also have many more food miles under the belt.
- 12 medium to large beetroots with perfect leaves and stalks
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the stems and leaves from the beetroot. Thinly peel the beetroot and cut into 8 wedges. Place the beetroot onto an oven tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast them until they are just fork tender. Now remove the leaves from stalks and give them both a good wash – cook the stems in salted, boiling water till they are just tender, remove them and then blanch the leaves just till they wilt. Remove and drain.
A delicious Greek style aioli, I have had it made with stale bread as well. I love this spooned over grilled aubergines, meat, fish, my face and everything else, pretty much.
- 750g potatoes
- 8 cloves garlic made into a paste
- Fresh lemon juice to taste
- 175- 200ml extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbls toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Boil the potatoes in their skins until they are tender. While they are still warm and comfortable to handle peel them and mash them. Place the potatoes into a food processor with the remaining ingredients, except the sesame seeds, and blitz till smooth.
Season with salt and pepper, adjust the lemon and olive oil. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds
© Cooking with Jenny Morris 2012