Moroccan Beet Soup

I love to cook with beets whenever I can because they are so incredibly nourishing. I grate them, juice them, roast them, but what I haven’t done for a while, is prepare a really good beet soup. This recipe is exquisite because of the subtle flavors and beautiful velvety texture. You will fall in love with it.

4 tbsp olive oil

1/2 large yellow onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp cumin seeds

11/2 pounds beets (about 6 medium beets) peeled and cubed

1 large potato, peeled and cubed

4 1/2 cups veggie stock

3 tbsp red wine vingar

1 bunch small bunch parsley, roughly chopped

Sea Salt

1cup greek yogurt (thin with a little milk so that it’s runny)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan and add the onion. Turn down to low and fry forabout 10 minutes until the onion is slightly browned.

Add the cumin seeds and the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the beets and potato, followed by the broth. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cubes of potato are completely soft. Remove from heat and stir in half of the parsley and the vinegar, and 2 tsp sea salt. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat until very warm just prior to serving.

 

Serve in warmed bowls, and top with a generous drizzle of yogurt, a sprinkle of parsley and a few drops of good quality olive oil.

BEET CARPACCIO

This is my new favorite appetizer for when I’m trying to be super-healthy. You can use any kind of beet and actually this dish looks stunning if you use different colored beets, especially a golden and a red. I made this one from the Candy Stripe beets that I can only find in my farmer’s market in the Summer.

You do need a Mandolin. I purchased one of these scary slicing devices a couple of years ago and use it much more than I thought I would. However, every time my husband sees me whipping it out, he gets afraid – I did slice of the tip of my finger not so long ago!!! So, be warned, use one of those prong things to hold the food you are slicing. The great thing about beets is that they have a big thick stalk, which can kind of act as a handle.

Set your mandolin to it’s thinnest setting and slice away at your beet. You need the slices to be paper-thin.

Drizzle with walnut oil, and then top with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon, a pinch of smoked paprika and a flakey sea salt.

I also toasted a handful of walnuts, crushed them and sprinkled on top (optional).

If you can’t find walnut oil, go with a good olive oil

MY FAVORITE SPRING SALAD

I’m obsessed with this salad for a number of reasons: It’s really easy to prepare and contains a number of really healthy nutrients – but most importantly – it’s so tasty. I love to use candy-striped beets because they are so pretty, and because they don’t stain your hands when you grate them.

Seves 2

1 large candy-striped beet ( or regular if you can’t find the candy-sritpe)

2 cups of baby salad leaves

1/2 cup Marcona Almonds (if you live near a Trader Joe’s, you’re in luck because they carry them, roasted and salted.

1 cup of crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup really good quality olive oil

1tbsp fresh lemon juice

Sea salt and pepper

 

Roasted Beet, Orange, & Hazelnut salad

I have bunches of beets! I can’t seem to stop buying them, and they always come in my farm box. I wanted to have a go at making the ultimate Seasonal Salad – one that is hearty, and that combines different tastes and textures. I was really happy with the result, as I managed to get in two flavors I love: hazelnut and cumin – they pair beautifully together. The only thing I really dislike about working with beets is the red dye that gets on everything. Be sure to pull on your rubber gloves before peeling and cutting your beets!

Roasted Beet, orange, & hazelnut salad

4 or 5 medium beets (this is normally what makes up a regular bunch.)

2 medium oranges

1tbsp red wine vinegar

1tsp honey

3tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted in a hot oven for 10 minutes

1 cup feta or crumbly goat cheese

1 ripe avocado

Serves 2

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Peel the beets and cut into bite-size wedges. Place them in a roasting tin.

Take one of the oranges and grate the zest into a small bowl. Squeeze the juice into another small bowl.

Whisk the vinegar, honey and olive oil together in a jug and season with sea salt and pepper. Divide this dressing between two bowls. Whisk the mustard into one of the bowls and set aside. Whisk the cumin, orange zest and half of the orange juice into the other bowl of dressing and then pour over the beets. Make sure each wedge is well-coated.

Lightly cover the roasting tin with foil, before placing in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove when down and leave to cool (you can do all this the day before if you want.)

Peel the orange and cut away all the pitch. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the segments away from the dividing membranes.

Slice the avocado

When you are ready to assemble, carefully place the beets in a large bowl and add the orange segments. Top with the avocado, goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts. Drizzle over the mustard dressing, taking care not to toss or mix the salad, as you don’t want everything to turn pink.

 

PINK BEET PANCAKES

While my in-laws were visiting for the Holidays, I wanted to pull something really impressive out of the bag for breakfast, and remembered a pancake recipe that I’d seen in the excellent book on baking, Good To The Grain, by Kim Boyce. It’s for beet pancakes, and just by virtue of the way they looked, I wanted to give them a go. I also got a huge bunch of beets in my farm box and no one was in the mood for a beet salad.

I customized the recipe a little, as I wanted to use a little less sugar, but the result is still sweet enough because of the roasted beets always slightly caramelize.

I highly recommend roasting a bunch of beets the day before, because you can always use the rest of them for other recipes.

Suffice to say, my in-laws were tickled pink (sorry!) by the color and couldn’t believe how wonderful they tasted – a sweet earthiness provided by the beets and the quinoa flour – spectacular and well worth the extra bit of effort.

Pink Beet Pancakes

Serves 4

2 medium beets

1/2 cup quinoa flour (if you can’t get hold of this, use whole wheat instead.)

1/2 cup wholewheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1tbsp Coconut Palm Sugar (I love this because it’s low -glycemic and deliciously nutty, but use an extra tbsp of maple syrup if you can’t find it.)

2tbsp maple syrup

1tbsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups of whole milk (or soy if you prefer)

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled (you can substitute with Earth Balance, but it won’t taste as good!)

1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Roughly wash your beets, cutting off tops and lay them on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake for about one hour or until they are tender when a knife is inserted. Leave to cool and then wrap in foil and refrigerate until you are ready to use them.

When you are ready, peel them – the skins come off easily, and roughly chop them. You then want to puree them. I used my Magic Bullet, which worked great. You need to end up with about 1/2 cup of puree.

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the milk, yogurt, butter, egg and beet puree.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until you have a batter which should be the consistency of heavy cream – bright pink too!

Heat a griddle or frying pan and melt a little butter making sure it had evenly covered the bottom of the pan. Add a ladle at a time of batter to the pan, creating the size of pancake you want.

When bubbles appear in the top, flip them over and fry until the bottom is golden brown.

Keep them warm in oven and serve topped with either butter, a dollop of virgin coconut oil and maple syrup or agave nectar – heavenly!

 

 

ROASTED BEET & WATERCRESS SALAD

In my local Sunday Farmer’s Market there is a wonderful stall, Underwood Family Farms, that almost always (especially this time of year,) have a huge selection of beets. I go through phases with beets – sometimes I get really gung-ho and buy the magenta ones to grate onto salads and juice: sometimes I’ll buy the little golden ones to roast for a simple salad, but this week I spotted some giant pale pink ones. They looked like giant radishes, but Peggy (lovely farmer who is there every Sunday,) explained that they were candy-striped beats. I knew that they’d probably look pretty when cut open, so grabbed a bunch intending to put together a salad to beat all salads.

As far as I’m concerned a marriage-made-in-culinary-heaven is roasted beets and soft goat cheese or feta. What I love most about the salad is that aside from it’s exquisite complimentary tastes and textures, its also insanely healthy: walnuts, beets, sprouts and watercress are all in my top 10 healthiest foods category – so what a joy to be able to mingle them together into this perfect salad.

Make sure you buy enough of each ingredient so you can make this salad twice. I ate it 3 days-running for lunch this week.

 

Roasted Beet & Watercress Salad.

3 large beets (can be any color but the candy-striped makes it look spectacular)

I package of watercress

2-ounces of goat cheese that can crumble or feta

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup of sprouts (clover, alfalfa or broccoli is fine)

Dressing:

1/2 cup good cold-pressed olive oil

1tbsp apple cider vinegar

1tsp honey

1tsp dijon mustard

sea salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F

Roughly oil the skins of the beets with any old vegetable oil and place the beets on a baking sheet covered with foil for about an hour or until a knife easily slips into the beet.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. I roasted my beets on Sunday and when they were cool, wrapped them up in the foil I’d cooked them in and put them in the fridge until the next day.

When you are ready to assemble the salad:

Take the beets out and slip off their skins – they should come off really easily. Slice the beets into 1/4″ slices.

Arrange a bed of watercress on a pretty plate and lay the beet slices overlapping each other on top.

Crumble the cheese and sprinkle the walnuts over the salad. Finally add the sprouts and dress.