Beetroot was a logical thing to plant in our allotment. We love it so let’s grow it. Looks easy enough. My husband and I got totally sucked in by the different varieties but settled for a traditional round one and the one with stripes running through it that chefs love to slice into delicately presented Michelin star dishes. I wanted to be able to do that too.
So two neat rows planted next to each other. Two lovely lanes of seedlings grew. It felt cruel and wasteful to thin them so we left them to grow. And grow they did. One Sunday we arrived at the allotment and I gasped “Look at all that bloody beetroot!” and of course the little ones have repeated the phrase ever since.
The bulbs merged into each other and we could see they would be all sorts of shapes. Panic set in and we transplanted as many as we could around the allotment to restore the balance. And it worked! We still have a few funny shaped ones but they taste delicious just the same and what learnings we have for next year.
So we’ve been a bit beetroot obsessed of late and it shows no signs of slowing. It’s all in a good cause really as the health benefits are so fantastic. Potassium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, folic acid, protein, fibre….the list is literally endless. Read more at the Love Beetroot website.
Some quick ideas for raw beetroot….
I haven’t been able to photograph all our creations as many have been rather spontaneous. Here are a few ideas for using it raw saving the hassle of roasting or boiling.
- Pink Mash – Purée and stir through hot mashed potato for girlie pink swirls – gives a lovely earthy flavour but also a nice healthy twist to children’s meals.
- Coleslaw – Grate finely and mix with grated carrots, thinly sliced cabbage, crème fraiche, salt, pepper and a handful of fresh parsley for a quick coleslaw.
- Garnish – Slice thinly and add to a bunch of any salad leaves.
- Beetroot Pancakes – Grate into a thick pancake batter with chopped beetroot leaves and serve pancakes with poached eggs.
- Smoothie – Use as a base smoothie ingredient as inspired by my friend Monica at Smarterfitter.
I have had so much crop that I’ve batch boiled and frozen in square chunks. The boiled form has gone into so many meals:
- Baked Beetroot and Feta Filo Parcels – Mix small 1 cm chunks with feta, lots of ground cumin and fresh thyme and then place this mixture into little filo parcels and bake for about 15 minutes in a 180C oven.
- Beetroot Tzatziki – Mash and add to yoghurt, garlic, seasoning and herbs . This works really well in with grilled mackerel in a bun.
- Beetroot Bhajias – Mix up with a basic bhajia batter and deep fry for a great beer snack.
- Beetroot and Cheese Frittata – slice into a saucepan along with some onions, add eggs and cook til slightly wobby on top. Add cheese of your choice and pop under the grill to finish off.
- Baked Beetroot with Cod – Boil rough 1 inch squares of beetroot, carrot, parsnips, potatoes for about 10 minutes, toss in olive oil and then bake in a 180C oven for 30 mins with whole cloves of garlic and a white fish fillet.
- Beetroot Canapés – Creamy mascarpone cheese and pastry match beetroot very well.
- Beetroot Smoked in Lapsang Souchon with Tarragon and Mascarpone – a salad created by Great British Chef Marcus Wareing and tested at home by me – very cheffy, very doable and very tasty!
- Beetroot Truffles – Yes beetroot in chocolate truffles! It works really well. Give it a go.
Pickled for a perfect fix at any time
I don’t much care for pickled things – pickled eggs and onions for example make my stomach churn. But I do love pickled beetroot so I decided to make my own this year with the early mini crop from the allotment. I added cumin as I fell in love with this flavour combo at Duck Soup in Soho. It works very well. And a few coriander seeds too if they take your fancy. Here’s the recipe.
One last thing. Don’t throw away the beetroot leaves. They boil and purée really well to add a tinge of pink to dhal. Or roast them in a little oil oil and sprinkle with sea salt for a little snack.
I’m sure there will be a few more creations as the last of the crop is harvested. I would like to try that ubiquitous Beetroot and Chocolate Cake for example and perhaps some Beetroot Risotto. I will keep you posted!