BEETROOT – a small word that elicits a huge response. Few people are in the neutral camp when it comes to this veggie. You have your loathers and your lovers and that’s pretty much it. I have nothing empirical to base this on, but I figure when we hear the word, most of us automatically think of bottled beetroot in vinegar. While I may have abhorred this as a child, I’ve come to appreciate this rather basic treatment of these purple beauties. But really, beetroot is about so much more. It’s deep earthy richness is quite unique and the perfect carrier for so many flavours.

Think blue cheese or goat’s cheese, think sour cream and chives, think mackerel or smoked salmon. They all work, but I think beetroot has a particular affinity for heady spices like cumin and coriander.

So that’s what I used in this beetroot salad, along with a gorgeous harissa blend I found in the Woolies spice isle. Warm spice, chilli bite and cooling mint. Perfect. Serve this carrot and beetroot salad as a side at your next braai or on its own with pita and tzatziki as a light vegetarian lunch.

All you need is…

bunch of beetroot
2-3 large carrots
large handful of fresh mint (whole leaves if they are small, otherwise sliced into thin slivers)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ tsp powdered cumin
¼ tsp powdered coriander
½ tsp powdered harissa blend (look at Woolworths – replace with a pinch of chilli flakes if you can’t find any)
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tbs white wine vinegar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Cook the beetroot by boiling them (unpeeled) in a large pot of water until soft. (I actually think roasting them produces better flavour, but these puppies are dense and take forever to roast. Who has the time.) Drain and cool them, then peel. If you’re worried about stained fingers, wear surgical gloves for this bit. I couldn’t be bothered.

Peel and grate the carrots. Alternately cut them into long thin strips using your veggie peeler. Put the spices in a non-stick pan and heat through for a few seconds just until you smell them. Remove from the heat and add the vinegar, oil, salt and sugar. Whisk briefly to combine all the dressing ingredients. Combine the carrots and beetroot, pour over the dressing and scatter over the mint and pumpkin seeds.

serves

4-6

prep

15 min

cook

30 min

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tips, tricks and trivia

More ideas for this recipe

Freshly cooked beetroot is the bomb, but if you’re pressed for time, you can use bottled beetroot in this recipe. In which case it’s on the table in less than 10 minutes!

Pretty carrot ribbons: If you opt to make carrot ribbons with your veggie peeler instead of grating the carrot, pop the ribbons in ice water. They’ll curl prettily and be extra crunchy.

Grate over some orange zest at the end for an extra flavour dimension.

Add some flat-leaf parsley in addition to the mint.

If you have some nasturtium flowers in your garden, pop a few of those on top for the extra pretty.

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enjoy with

Van Loveren, masters at the art of producing accessible, crowd pleasers that won’t break the budget, have launched the summer season with a brand new label. While I love their redesign, I love the new addition to their lineup, Daydream, even more. A wonderfully whimsical name for a whimsical pale salmon-pink wine, Daydream is a blend of Chardonnay (94%) and Pinot Noir (6%). It boasts loads of lush, ripe fruit and refreshing acidity to counter.

This is not a complicated wine. It’s an easy-drinking everyday wine that shouts lazy summer days, beach and braai and should appeal to a wide audience. It’s ever-so-slight off dry character makes the Van Loveren Daydream perfect to pair with my spicy beetroot salad.

Van Loveren Daydream

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