I hated beetroot as a child; it reminded me of school dinners. So much so, that I avoided it for most of my adult life. But look what I was missing out on! This incredible vegetable is packed full of nutrients. Take a look at the bottom of this page for more information.
This dish is so flavoursome, it’s become a firm favourite in our household. It’s adapted from a hamlyn book, ‘Easy Vegetarian Dishes’. It’s perfect for summer and you could also add a few sultanas to the mix if you prefer even more sweetness. And do not skimp on the sour cream and mint! They add the perfect finishing touch and taste delicious. Trust me!
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes.
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g / 1 lb raw beetroot, peeled and cubed
400g / 13oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
400g / 13oz can chopped tomatoes
450 ml (¾ pint) vegetable stock
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper (preferably rock salt)
Brown rice, to serve
Soured cream, to serve
Mint leaves, chopped, to garnish
1 ripe papaya, peeled, deseeded and diced
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, deseeded and diced
1. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole, or large lidded pan. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until lightly browned and soft. Stir in the garlic, beetroot, kidney beans, chilli flakes and spices, then add the tomatoes, stock, vinegar, sugar and plenty of salt and pepper.
2. Bring to the boil, then cover and transfer to a preheated oven, 180°C (356°F), Gas Mark 4, for 1½ hours or until the beetroot is tender. If you’ve used a pan, transfer ingredients to a lidded casserole dish before placing in the oven.
3. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Mix all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl, then spoon into a serving dish, cover and chill in the fridge.
4. Spoon the brown rice into bowls and top with the chilli and spoonfuls of the salsa. Finish with a dollop of soured cream garnished with the chopped mint leaves.
Beetroots have long been used for medicinal purposes, primarily for disorders of the liver as they help to stimulate the liver’s detoxification processes. The plant pigment that gives beetroot its rich, purple-crimson colour is betacyanin; a powerful agent, thought to suppress the development of some types of cancer. It’s rich in fibre, exerting favourable effects on bowel function, which may assist in preventing constipation and help to lower cholesterol levels too.
This recipe serves four but there’s only three in our household, so the following day I mixed the leftover beetroot with water and blitzed the whole lot in my Nutribullet (other makes are available)! This created a supremely creamy mixture which can be heated up and eaten as a soup (there’s enough for two or more). Alternatively, serve it cold with slices of cucumber, carrots and celery. It’s bursting with goodness!