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Beets can seem pretty unapproachable - the long cooking time and the “I just killed a man” effect on your hands is enough to put off even the most seasoned veg scheme member.
Despite the bloody horror, I’ve learned to fall in love with beetroots - there's a whole world of diversity in this rude little red root. But they're not just red - our farmers grow golden beets, pink and white stripey beets and sometimes white beets.
1) You don't have to cook them – beets can be just as enjoyable raw, you can grate them and add them to salads with very little fuss. Just scrub clean and grate!
2) Beets don’t have to be peeled – the skin is perfectly edible. And full of nutrients.
3) Get tooled up - a sturdy vegetable scrubber will make your veg prep so much easier. Cleaning your beets will become a breeze with one of these.
4) Julienne like a pro (cheat)
The jullienne peeler is your friend – with this handy contraption you can chuck strips of beets into salads and stir fries like a ninja.
5) Cook them while you're making other plans – if you're going to cook the beets you’ve got to boil, steam or roast them in the oven for about an hour. Who has the time? What I do is cook them in advance while I’m making another meal. Even if I don’t know what I’m going to do with the beets yet, I’ll just cook them, peel them (and maybe even puree them) and put them in the fridge for later. So next time you’re roasting some potatoes or heating up an oven pizza, wrap those beets in foil and chuck them in too. They'll store in the fridge for up to a week.
So now we’ve got that out of the way, here are some of my favourite beetroot recipes:
Spiced Beetroot Dip
There are so many versions of this – basically puree the beet and stir in some yoghurt or ricotta, and warm Middle Eastern spices like cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chilli pepper and black pepper. Try this version with hazelnuts or maybe this vegan hummus with walnuts.
This is a gorgeous and exciting way to use up beetroots with Sri Lankan flavours. Perfect warming stuff for a cold windy day.
Beetroot works so well in cake or brownies. And you know what that means – cake just got healthy.
For such a simple salad this really packs a punch on the buffet table – everyone loves it, even people that don’t like beetroot.
These are better than beef. Trust me.