Thursday 22 February 2018

Five Great Ways to Enjoy Beetroot

Make the most out of the trendiest superfood with these simple recipes

Beetroot gnocchi with smoked almond pesto
Beetroot gnocchi with smoked almond pesto
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

The term superfood is thrown around a lot these days, but little else can describe beneficial beetroot better.

The deep magenta coloured root vegetable is a great source of iron and folic acid and packed with antioxidants that help to ward away cancer and keep blood pressure in check. Beetroot’s purple stain is a result of betalains which are nutritionally sound and guaranteed to boost your diet.

Despite its obvious benefits, many are still unsure of how to incorporate beetroot into their every day diet, looking upon the veggie with an element of fear. Yet, it really couldn’t be easier. Here are a few recipes to set you off on a journey of beetroot exploration.

Salad with beetroot, toasted hazelnuts and Cashel Blue dressing

Gently wash four beets (150g), and place them unpeeled in a saucepan of cold water before bringing to a simmer on a medium heat for 45 minutes. Gently rub off the skin of each beetroot and cut each one into eight wedges. In a separate bowl, mix together a drop of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, honey and crumbled Cashel Blue cheese. Season to taste before tossing in your beetroot and some toasted chopped hazelnuts. Serve your beetroot upon crisp salad leaves.

Beetroot superfood salad

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Peel and slice your beetroot into bite size pieces and coat well in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes until tender before allowing to cool.

Serve upon a bed of watercress and top with crumbly goat cheese, alfalfa shoots, cruncy sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds and dill. Dress your salad with the purple roasting juices from your baking tray.

Creamy beetroot mousse

Creamy beetroot mousse with cheese straws

Bring 300g of double cream and 10g of agar agar to a simmer and season well with salt and pepper. Puree 500g of cooked beetroot in a food processer until smooth before adding a dash of chilli sauce, the juice of one lime and the cream mixture. Blitz again until smooth.

Divide the mousse between six glasses or place in one large bowl. Serve alongside horseradish crème fraiche and an array of crunchy crackers.

Beetroot gnocchi
Beetroot gnocchi with smoked almond pesto

Boil 600g of floury peeled potatoes in a pot of salted water until soft. Drain, before passing them through a potato ricer or mash until smooth in a bowl. Add 125g of cooked pureed beetroot to the bowl and mix well. Crack in one egg, before adding in 450g of plain flour and mix to form a dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface for a few minutes.

Divide the dough into five equal pieces and roll them out into a rope shape measuring around 2cm in diameter. Cut the rope into 2.5cm pieces. Drop the gnocchi into a large pan of boiling water. When they rise to the top, they are finished.

Serve with fresh pesto and a dose of parmesan cheese.

Dark Chocolate Beetroot Cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 180°C or Gas Mark 4 before lining your cupcake tray with paper cases. Melt 100g of dark chocolate before stirring in 200g of pureed beetroot. In a large bowl, beat together 110g of butter with 110g of castor sugar until fluffy before whisking in two large eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix in 75g of self raising flour, 1tsp of baking powder, 50ml of milk as well as the chocolate and beetroot mixture. Dish out into your cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes.

To make the frosting beat together 100g of butter, 1tsp of vanilla extract, 325g of icing sugar, 4tsp of cocoa powder and 75mls of double cream and lightly smooth onto your cold buns.

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