Beetroot Bake

Beetroot often gets a bad press, but I love it!  That is, I love it in moderation.  The first time I “went on a diet”, I was 16. I ate salads every day, and to make them a bit more interesting I would always add beetroot. Believe me, after several weeks of this, I never wanted to see another beetroot again.  It took me a while to overcome my prejudice, but now I’m a raving fan again.

Now that beetroot is in season, I wanted to make more use of it.  I found some beautiful little beetroots in the farmer’s market at the weekend, and, while they were still fresh, created this recipe.  It’s warm and filling and, if you’re like me and associate cauliflower cheese with comfort, it goes some of the way to meeting that need without great heavy sauces.

This recipe calls for a spiralizer, but if you don’t have one, simply grate the courgettes. It might even be better that way.

For 2 People

Beetroot Bake4 small-medium Beetroot

½ head Cauliflower

100g Mushrooms

100g fresh Spinach

2 Courgettes

100g Sour Cream or Crème Fraiche

100g full-fat Yoghurt

1tsp Olive Oil

1tsp Cumin, or Lebanese spice powder

1tbls Houmous

25g ground Almonds

25g Parmesan Cheese

  1. If you are using raw beetroot, cut off the leaves and stalks, wash well, and cut off the hairy root. Place your beetroots in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil, and continue to boil for at least an hour, or until you can pierce through the beetroot with a knife easily.  During this time you can do other things, but check back regularly as the beetroot may need more water.  The beetroot should always be fully submerged.

  2. When the beetroot are cooked, place your pan in the sink, and run with cold water until you can easily put your hand in. You can now peel the beetroot simply by rubbing at the surface with your fingers; the outer skin should come away easily.  Chop the beetroot into wedges.

  3. Cut the cauliflower into florets, and either steam or roast it for 20 minutes, until it is cooked through, but still crunchy and nutty. If you opt for roasting, you need to preheat your oven to 180C.

  4. Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and spiralize or grate the courgettes. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and fry the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes until they begin to brown.  Add the spice, stir and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the beetroot wedges and cauliflower florets, and stir to coat.  Stir in the sour cream, houmous and yoghurt and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat, or the sauce will curdle. Add the spinach, and stir through, allowing it to wilt.

  5. Grate the parmesan cheese and mix into the almonds. Place the beetroot mixture in an oven dish.  Top with the grated or spiralized courgette, and then with the almond mixture.  Heat your grill on a medium-high setting.  Place the dish under the grill and grill for around 5 minutes, until the top goes brown and crispy.

Note that you can take some shortcuts with this dish.  Raw beetroot do take a while to cook, so you could use pre-cooked beetroot, but don’t, I beg you, use the ones dipped in vinegar.  You can also buy pre-spiralized courgettes and pre-grated parmesan, so take advantage of these if you’re in a hurry.