I don’t believe I ever saw a single beetroot growing up. Never even thought much about that strange dirt cloaked root until I grew up and planted a garden. I fell in love with beets after tasting my very first homegrown beet baby, pulled from the soil just minutes before cooking.
I love beetroot because it’s not just flavourful—it’s highly aromatic. I’m not talking about the shrivelled specimens, petrified beet fossils left to languish in supermarket fridges. Freshly harvested beetroot from the garden or farmers market is perfumed with the sweet and musky scent of the soil.
The shockingly crimson colour of beetroot is due to a special type of anti-oxidants called betacyanins, which aid the liver in detoxifying the body while also reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. Beets are packed with iron and B vitamins as well, to keep your blood cells healthy and your nerves firing on all cylinders. I’m talkin’ all sorts of anti-inflammatory goodness to keep your heart pumping and your blood flowing.
To me beets are pure luxury. Roasting requires a bit of a time investment but rewards you with beautifully sweet, earthy taste and soft, comforting texture. I like to roast a few beets and store them in the fridge for tossing into salads or pureeing into soup– they’ll keep for 2 or 3 days.
This week in my newsletter, La Belle Vie, I’m sharing additional tips on selecting and storing beets, plus 10 ways to cook them. Sign up for the newsletter here…
My Delicious Detox Beetroot Salad brings together a host of good for you ingredients. Beet and avocado may sound like a strange combination, but the rich, creamy green avocado tames the wildness of beetroot while still allowing her sweetness to shine through. Mixing black rice with brown basmati provides a variety of flavours and textures: the black rice is nutty with a gentle crunch, while the basmati has a lovely popcorn aroma and fluffy kernels.
Brown rice is a source of fibre and selenium, reducing cholesterol and promoting a healthy gut. Adding wild rice to the mix gives you a nice dose of vitamin E and zinc for promoting immune function and zapping cancer-causing free radicals.
Toss the rice with a handful of tender salad greens, or young beet leaves, which are high in protein, fibre, vitamin K and beta-carotene. To finish the salad, shaved red onion adds a nice bite, basil a fresh, herbal note and balsamic vinaigrette brings it all together.
This salad makes a fantastic packed lunch that will leave you feeling like superwoman for the rest of the day.
- 1 roasted beet (5oz/150g);
- 1 avocado;
- ½ a lime or lemon;
- ½ red onion;
- 4oz/115g cooked wild black rice*;
- 4oz/115g cooked brown basmati rice;
- 2 small handfuls mixed greens or spinach;
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar;
- 1/4cup/50mL extra virgin olive oil;
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil;
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Prepare the vegetables. Chop the beet into bite sized pieces. Do the same with the avocado, tossing in a little lime or lemon juice to keep it from turning brown. Slice the red onion very thinly, either with a knife or a mandolin slicer.
- Compose the salad. Place all of the rice in one large bowl. Add the beet, avocado, red onion, black rice, basmati rice and the salad greens.
- Make the vinaigrette. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a bowl, adding a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and sprinkle over the basil. Serve immediately. Leftovers keep well to be enjoyed the next day.
- Simple Kale Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
- Turkish potato salad
- Warm Kale, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Salad
How to Roast Beetroot
makes as many beetroots as you like
- Olive oil;
- Whole unpeeled beets.
Heat oven to 200°C. Cut the stem from the beets, leaving about 2cm stem attached. Discard the stems and save the leaves for another meal (small leaves for a salad, large leaves are delicious sauteed in olive oil). Wash and dry the beetroot, then place atop a large piece of tinfoil. Drizzle with olive oil and warp tightly, then place in the oven to roast until tender. This could take 1-2 hours. The beets are ready when easily pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then rub off the peel and cut the beets into chunks. (I recommend wearing rubber gloves for this task, which will stain your hands deep purple.) Proceed to the next step of the recipe or store the peeled beets in the fridge.