I thought I was so clever volunteering to take the left over beetroots home with me from work, thinking of all the wonderful dishes I could make with them. Vege burgers, Malaysian curries, beetroot brownies or a good detoxing juice. ‘Why wouldn’t you want to take these beauties home with you?’ I thought to myself.
Barely half way out the door with the handles of the plastic bag already cutting into my hands, I had my answer. My cherished organic beetroot weigh a bloody tonne!
‘Not to worry’, I thought, as I passed the huge bag into my other hand, it will all be worth it once I get them home. A little further down the road with a good 5 minutes to go until the tube station, my positive thinking was beginning to waver. I had to practically run past a skip sitting idle at the side of the road, for fear I might loose the will to live and fling the beastly beetroots in with the rubble.
I did finally manage to get them home, but not before the plastic handles had stretched out to dental floss thickness, with the beetroot threatening to make a break for it all over the tube. So was it worth it? Yes, it absolutely was and I have made a point of adding this simple beetroot recipe to our site, as the poor vegetable always seems to be on the list of things people love to hate.
Not only is beetroot a nutritional power house (check out Jessica’s nutrition notes on beetroot on our facebook page later today https://www.facebook.com/theGFgourmet) but it also adds a wonderful depth of flavour to a whole host of dishes from soups and salads to curries and cakes. (Beetroot chocolate cake recipe coming soon!) So cast your preconceived notions about this vegetable aside and try out this rich, vibrant and guilt free beetroot puree, perfect for a mezze plate or even in sandwiches.
I have used fresh horseradish in this recipe, as it is far superior in terms of taste then the type that comes in a jar covered in preservatives. Fresh horseradish is not difficult to find, I have seen it available in good supermarkets and farmers markets. It is actually a root and looks a little like a very large yam, grey and gnarly on the outside with a beautiful creamy white flesh on the inside.
500g Beetroot (around 5/6 medium beetroot)
3 cloves garlic (left in their skin)
Grated zest of a lemon
1 tbsp freshly grated horseradish
1-2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 chili deseeded
Handful of mint leaves (some left over to garnish)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Pre heat the oven to 220 C. Place the beetroot in a roasting tin and cover with tin foil. Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Then remove the tin foil, add in the garlic and bake for a further 30 minutes or until a sharp knife easily glides into the centre of the beetroot and the garlic is soft. Depending on the size of the beetroot you may need to cook them for slightly more or less time.
Leave the beetroot to cool and then scrape off the skins. I find a normal eating knife or spoon is quite handy for this job.
In a food processor add the beetroot, then squeeze the soft garlic out of their skins and add in also. Blitz for a few seconds to break it down and then add in the rest of the ingredients. Blitz until smooth and then season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Plate up with whatever mezze you like most, scatter the remaining mint leaves over the top and drizzle over a little more extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Serve with hot pitta bread. If you are trying to avoid wheat flour you can find good quality wheat free pitta breads in good supermarkets.