Saturday, June 6, 2009

Purple Reign

When it comes to root vegetables, I have always held the view that Beetroot is king. Earthy and sweet, all swathed in ruby/purple goreousness, the colour of Ceasar's robes. It has been eaten since Roman times, when it was used to treat sickness and was believed to fortify the blood. Beetroot is ridiculously good for you - rich in folate, vitimin B, very high in fibre and extremely low GI, so it will help stabilise your blood sugar. Apart from all of that, it tastes fantastic.

Beetroot is in season right now and it is a great time to eat it at its best. I was inspired by this morning's trip to the grocer, where I found beautiful fresh bunches of beetroot and new season's oranges - ingredients that belong together. I was craving fresh greens all day, so tonight's dish is a salad - with roasted beetroot as the star - along with mixed greens, fresh orange, toasted walnuts, fetta cheese and an orange and maple dressing.
Before we go to the recipe, I should share a little Gourmet Goddess cook's hint with you. The secret to the fabulousness of this salad is in matching the music to the boldness of the beetroot. Punchy, sassy, purple as they come and sure to make you feel good? There could be only one choice here. I have to admit that a sneaky glass of red for the cook and Prince played loudly on the stereo (Purple Rain on high rotation and a singalong to Raspberry Beret!) made the beetroot that much sweeter. Would I lie to you?

Balsamic Roasted Beetroot Salad

with Orange and Maple Dressing

You will need: 1 bunch fresh beetroot, 1 large red onion cut into thick slices, 3 cloves garlic, Olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar (tonight I used a Pomegranate Balsamic but a plain one is still perfect), Juice of 1 orange, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, Sea salt & pepper

For the salad: Mixed greens, Flesh of 1 orange, sliced into segments, 1 or 2 tablespoons walnuts (I toast them in a dry pan for 5mins - gives a better flavour), A few cubes of Fetta cheese (I used an organic sheep milk Fetta tonight)

For the dressing: 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 4 tablespoons orange juice, 1 clove crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, Salt & pepper to taste

Method: Start by cutting the stalks off the beetroot and putting them in a pot of water. You should keep the beetroot whole at this point. Bring them to the boil and then simmer for about 15mins. You are not trying to cook them right through, so don't worry if they are still quite firm after the cooking time is over.

Plunge the whole beetroot into a bowl of cold water and let them sit there for 5 minutes. With your hands, rub the outside skin off the beetroot (treat it rough, it can handle it) You should be left with beautiful smooth, bright purple beetroot. Cut the whole beetroot into into small wedges.

In a baking dish, mix the beetroot, onion, garlic, oil, balsamic, maple syrup, orange juice, salt & pepper and cook in a hot oven for about 45mins (or until the onion and beetroot has caramelised and the liquid has evaporated) Stir the mixture a few times during the cooking process. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Whisk the dressing ingredients. Assemble the salad ingredients and beetroot - topping with the the walnuts and a crumble of Fetta. Drizzle with the dressing and serve right away.



  1. Today Michael and I had the leftover beetroot mixture as a chutney on lamb kebabs we made for lunch. I just chopped the beetroot into small bits. Very yummy!