Beet this


Happy Father’s Day for yesterday daddy readers! We had a delightful weekend, starting with the Nicholas Building Open House on Friday night (one of Melbourne’s most lovely buildings, and a microcosm of small artist’s studios and tiny specialty shops); followed by a perfect coffee in the sun and a spot of art admiration at Commonfolk on Saturday; and culminating in a magnificent manly dinner – Amelia’s Bangers and mash with beer and onion gravy.
I plucked some big fat grass-fed beef bangers from my freezer, having bought them a couple of weeks ago at East Bentleigh Farmers Market, one of our favourites as it has a zero-waste policy, and always has everything I need, including custard tarts and home-made dim sims. I had a lovely morning there with my 6-year old, and we came home with the aforementioned snags, gorgeous baby coloured carrots, and a few bunches of beetroot including striped Chioggia. I set to work roasting the lot for a salad.
The weather has turned decidedly Spring-like over the past two weeks, and this salad, full of flavour and texture with a light scattering of roasted macadamias; made a perfect light dinner.
I reserved a cup of the roasted beetroot and whipped up a fab beetroot hummus the next day, basically my usual hummus with beetroot added and a handful of pinenuts. Delicious! The husband and I polished off a ridiculous amount, and took the rest to work for lunch on sourdough with roast beef and rocket. I made a second batch to test its freezability and it freezes really well. Who knew one could freeze hummus? Not I, and I’m pretty rapt as it’s a great way to avoid gorging.
Oh, right down the bottom of this post I’ve shared my favourite tea towel. A girlfriend gave it to me for my birthday last year (thanks Eileesh)! I used it as the tablecloth for this post but felt it needed to be seen in its entirety. Isn’t it a ripper!
Footnote: The coloured carrots came from the Greens Organic Farm stall. They also deliver to Melbourne’s south/bayside suburbs. The beetroot was purchased at the Peninsula Fresh stall; and my sausages came from Sage Beef. The beautiful bread pictured in my dip photo was from Rustica. These sellers are all regulars at East Bentleigh Farmer’s Market.

Coloured baby carrotsRoast beetroot, baby carrot and macadamia salad[Recipe 1] Roasted beetroot, baby carrot and macadamia salad

Ingredients (serves 4, plus extra beetroot for recipe 2):
3 bunches beetroot, about 1½ kilo (3 lb) total
3 bunches baby carrots, about 500g (1 lb) total
2 tablespoons macadamia oil (or olive oil), plus extra for brushing carrots
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
150g (5 oz) wild rocket (arugula) or radicchio (Italian chicory) leaves
60g (2 oz) macadamia nuts, roasted and chopped
Orange dressing:
⅓ cup freshly-squeezed orange juice (from 1 large orange)
2 tablespoons macadamia oil (or extra-virgin olive oil), extra
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey, warmed slightly

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Prepare dressing by placing all ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake until combined. Refrigerate until required.
Wash the beetroot and carrots well. Trim the stems leaving about 1cm (½”) intact. If using large and medium beetroots, they can be halved.
Place the prepared beetroot onto a large sheet of foil. Drizzle with oil and wrap them up like a parcel. Place into a heavy baking pan and roast for 40 minutes.
Brush the prepared carrots with a little oil. Remove baking pan from the oven, and place the carrots next to the parcel of beetroot. You can use a small separate baking pan if there isn’t enough room, or lay another tray on top of your roasting pan.
Place everything into the oven and roast for a further 20 minutes until vegetables are just tender.
Macadamias can be placed in the oven for the last 5 minutes to roast.
Remove baking pan from the oven. Wearing gloves, slip the skins off the beetroot with a vegetable peeler or your fingers.
Reserve approximately 200g (7 oz) roasted beetroot for the Roast beetroot and pine nut humus.
Place the remaining roasted vegetables in a large bowl. Add rocket leaves and drizzle with the prepared dressing. Toss lightly until combined. Divide salad amongst four serving plates, and scatter with macadamias.

  • Small, young beetroot leaves can be used in your salad in place of the rocket leaves.
  • Fussy kid tip: Kids will love the roast baby carrots, but may turn their noses up at the beetroot. Roast a couple of sliced potatoes and pumpkin chunks for them at the same time.
  • This salad can be served with sliced oven-baked pork fillets (tenderloins); which require 20 minutes roasting time and can be placed in the oven at the same time as the carrots. Brush them lightly with oil and scatter with cumin. To serve, brush a little of the orange dressing on top!

Beetroot and pine nut hummus

[Recipe 2] Beetroot and pine nut hummus

Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
400g (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed; or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
200g (7 oz) reserved roasted beetroot, peeled, tops trimmed
1 tablespoon hulled tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
¼ cup (40g) pine nuts
1½ teaspoons dried cumin powder

Process all ingredients until smooth. Add a splash of water if it seems too thick. Season to taste. If using canned chickpeas, you may not need additional salt.
Serve with crusty bread and/or vegetable crudités.

  • Beetroot and pine nut hummus can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

Uncle Albert's vintage tea towel

52 thoughts on “Beet this

  1. Yum! I am such a beet fiend, I love them! I regularly make beetroot dip but I’ve never actually made a beet hummus so I’m excited to try this for summer picnics in the months to come! Mm, delicious! Ah, I love your blog. Everything about it – the photos, ideas, the concept. Thanks Sas! xx

    • Ha! Glad to meet a fellow beet fiend. Hope you love the hummus. I can’t wait for Summer picnics either. Actually, Spring picnics are looking good too. Melb’s weather has pretty glorious. Thanks SO much for your lovely compliment Laura. It means a lot, coming from you!

  2. Saskia I have been trying to leave a comment for days and my crazy ipad won’t allow it so I finally got on my desktop! Anyways, I love the photo of all the carrots, so beautiful! I have never had beets before can you believe it? The recipe looks delish. What do beets taste like?

    • Brandi you must try beets! I know you’ll love them. They’re a beautiful combination of sweetness and earthiness; like a carrot with extra depth. They’re super-versatile as you can grate them raw in a salad, add them to chocolate cake and muffins for a burst of nutrients, and roast them to bring out the sweetness. Beets rock!

  3. Oh Saskia I think I could eat an entire plate of that beet and carrot salad. Looks like your outing with your son was a success. I always find it so strange to be reading about spring when I am coming to terms with the end of summer. I think I need to live in Australia from Sept to March and life would be perfect! As usual, I adore your photos. You really do a great job with your recipes and pics!

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comments Barb. Love the idea of a perpetual Spring/Summer too! For many years a family member of mine lived in Aus for 6 months of the year, and Holland for the other 6 months. She never saw Winter!

  4. If anyone could roll out a salad combo that I would never dream of Sas, it’s you! What a great looking salad, I can’t wait to try it. I’ve got so many carrots to harvest still, and if I haven’t any beets left, I’ll plan to get some at next week’s farmer’ market. That tea towel sets the bar very high for other collectors – love it. 🙂

    • Aw thanks df. You’re one lucky lady having the garden space to harvest carrots and beets. Actually, just being able to utter the word ‘harvest’ in relation to my garden would be pretty damn exciting! Little pots of herbs and one crazy over-grown rosemary bush are the sum total of my crop.
      I do love that tea towel. It makes me grin just looking at it. 🙂

  5. whoaaaa!!! just pinned! that crazy color beet hummus and adore the wacky bright tea towel. we must be on the same wavelength as i was just talking with my sister about the farm co-op she belongs to and what to do with all the beets. i’ll share these beet recipes w her! funny, i never liked beets when i was a kid..they taste like dirt (now i love them). some neighbors of ours in virginia had a fantastic hungarian pickled beets recipe that had them tasting sweet like cinnamon and clove and i couldn’t stop eating them.. goodbye dirt! ok, too much coffee this morning
    ta ta

    • Ha ha! Thanks Kim. The loud dip and tea towel are a colourful slap in the face aren’t they! Hungarian pickled beets sound gorgeous… googling for the recipe now… Those Hungarians sure have a way with spices. We have a Hungarian Takeaway near here and I’ve been trying to copy their spiced lentils for years.

  6. I’m glad you had a great fathers day 🙂 Your second beet recipe seems fantastic, and I never would have thought of it myself ever! Its funny, this week I made a beet salad for the first time ever (weird because I love beetroot).

    • Thanks Sofia. Beet dip is really popular over here. Love roasted root veggie salads too, especially as the husband and I take the leftovers to work for lunch (too many tempting, expensive lunch options near our work otherwise)!

  7. You can freeze hummus? I am ON IT. Especially because my new favourite dip provider, Shuki and Louisa, are at Woodend Farmers Market on Saturday. I can stock up.

    The colours in this post are so beautiful Saskia. They’re bringing me out of winter and getting me excited about spring, salads and outdoor eating!

    • Oo, haven’t heard of Shuki and Louisa. Will keep an eye out. Now, I haven’t actually tried freezing non-beetroot hummus; but I’ll be very keen to hear how it went. I’m sure it’ll freeze perfectly (as long as it doesn’t contain yogurt). I think a thicker consistency dip would freeze better than a creamy one. Honestly, I freeze just about anything! I’m so excited too about Spring’s arrival… We whipped the cover off our outdoor table and it is crying out for a salad spread.

  8. I just made the roast beetroot dip. The gorgeous colours of the ingredients made me feel very springtimey and happy.
    I cheated a bit. I had a tub of homemade hummus in the fridge. I just added 2 roasted baby beetroots and the juice of half a lemon to some of the hummus.
    Yum, yum – your recipes really entice me to experiment more with my cooking, Sas.

  9. Sass I have a fear of dealing with beetroots which I am going to get over shortly by roasting them as per your instructions. I LOVE the look of that salad. Your photos are looking fantastic and that tea towel is magnificent. Way too good to use — I have wasted my share of vintage tea towels through fading (and, um, burning) — you are an admirably disciplined woman.
    Your kids will thank you one day when they become museum worthy.

    • Thanks so much Sandra. Wrapping beets up and wearing gloves to peel them is the ideal technique to prevent the henna hands look! I’m sure you must have an enviable collection of tea towels too. I hope the kids will thank me, although most likely they’ll be horrified with their inheritance of my hoarded collections!

  10. L love beetroot, but my other half detests it. Thanks so much Sas, for the great beet/hummus recipe. Now I can freeze small portions all for myself.

  11. Oh my Saskia, if you only knew how we (my whole family) feel about root vegetables. Those carrots are gorgeous! I usually roast 3 or 4 beets every week for lunches and whatnot. I will try your beetroot and pine nut hummus, sounds delicious and I absolutely love the color. Now…that tea towel… it is brilliant! A treasure for sure. Frame worthy.

    • Oh, you’re good roasting all those beetroots. I love them too, so good in salads. I often trot out a pan of roasted root veggies in different ways over a few days. Thanks – I do love that tea towel! I have a collection of too-good-to-use tea towels – nice to be able to justify their existence by using them as backdrops occasionally.

  12. The Nicholas building open day would have been fabulous- I will tune into that next year. I want to see the “button lady” as I really like buttons. As we are emptying our fridge prior to a big trip I will postpone any wonderfully inspired cooking but I’m quite drawn to the colours in these dishes- I can understand that your children found it rather alarming! Alarming but alluring!
    Au revoir

  13. What a great looking salad, Saskia! I can only imagine how great it tastes with all of those roasted vegetables. The macadamia nuts are a great addition, too. not only for their flavor but for the crunch, too. I never would have thought to use beetroot to make humus. Such a great idea and just look at that color! You did beets proud today!

  14. I have to psych myself up to cook beetroot. Even though I quite enjoy it these days my head still says uhuh, after disliking it for 35 years. Seeing as though I have three bunches of the purple orbs sitting in the bottom of the fridge, I really need to get cracking with being psyched up.
    (my delivered veggie box is determined that I continue to cook with them!)

    • Ha! I built up quite a collection of pomegranates and artichokes when I was receiving those delivered veggie boxes a while ago. There was always one of each, per delivery. I love both, but had to really push myself to use them all up. Nothing like enforced cooking through fear of wastage. If you’re still looking at those beets in a few days time, you could always ‘hide’ them in Stephanie Alexander’s fab Beetroot and chocolate muffins!

  15. Oh yum. I probably shouldn’t admit to this (and I do plan to get to the greengrocer sometime today), but the only thing is my vege crisper at the moment is a rather sad bag of beetroots. Will pop them in the oven and whip up some hummus for after school. Thanks Sas.

    • I can relate Michelle. No time for shopping on the weekend so my crisper is looking tragic too. Good idea to whip up the dip as an after-school snack. You may need to suggest your children close their eyes first though – my boys liked the dip but found the colour alarming.

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