Beetroot, we think, is like Marmite or olives, you either love it or you hate it but this undervalued vegetable is not only good for you but is super vibrant and versatile. Like many modern vegetables, beetroot was first cultivated by the Romans. By the 19th century it held great commercial value when it was discovered that beets could be converted into sugar.
Wonderfully high in nutrients; especially the greens, which are rich in calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, beetroots are a source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium. In recent studies, beetroot fibre has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells, which are responsible for detecting and eliminating abnormal cells. Red beetroots have been ranked as one of the 10 most potent antioxidant vegetables and are also one of the richest sources of glutamine, an amino acid, which is essential to the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract.
In honour of this incredible vegetable we tried out some spring time salad recipes which are perfect for a quick and easy lunch ….
1. B E E T R O O T & G O A T ‘ S C H E E S E I S R A E L I C O U S C O U S
We love this super simple recipe at HM – simply mix together cooked israeli cous cous, some cooked beets, fresh mint and parsley coarsely chopped, toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Such a quick and easy dish for lunch that keeps really well in the fridge so it will last a few days without fading and we love the colours!
2. S T E A M E D B E E T S , P R A W N & A V O C A D O S A L A D
If you’ve never tried steamed beetroot, this recipe is a must try. We used the Miele steam oven, but you could easily use a hob based steamer if you have one. A word of warning when you take the beets off the heat they do lose a bit of colour but as they cool it seems to come back. And they are absolutely delicious – well worth a try.
Once the beets have steamed and cooled, assemble the sliced avocado, radish, watercress and beets on a plate and leave a space for the prawns. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, add the prawns, and then add a clove of garlic (minced or sliced). Flip the prawns so they are crispy and brown and add the tarragon. Salt and pepper to taste and maybe a drizzle of olive oil and you’re good to go!
3. B E E T R O O T , O R A N G E , H A Z E L N U T & Q U I N O A S A L A D
A fresh, zingy salad that is packed with flavour is the perfect starter or lunch dish for the upcoming summer. We also added gravalax to this dish for an extra dose of protein, but this dish could easily be served without. All you need to do in advance is toast the hazelnuts – don’t let them catch as they taste awful slightly burnt. Assemble the gravalax, beets, peeled and segmented orange, a good sprinkle of cooked quinoa and the hazelnuts on a plate. Garnish with rocket salad, dill and salt and pepper.