I love beetroot. So much so that I frequently eat it as other people eat their apples and pears – raw, biting off chunk for chunk. I can’t get enough of the earthy, fresh and slightly sweet flavour. But I do understand: that might just be me. So don’t panic, all the beets in this recipe are cooked!
My personal opinion: beetroot is one of the most underestimated vegetables out there. Not only is the beet super versatile – you can munch on it raw like me if you dare, grate it into your salad, juice it, roast it, cook it, ferment it or even bake chocolate cake with it – but it is also packed with an endless number of nutrients.
The red fella is full of Vitamin A and C, calcium and iron. It’s also a rich source of folate and manganese, contains riboflavin, vitamin B-6, choline, betaine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium…the list goes on. Eating beetroot has even been linked to the lowering of blood pressure, decreasing the risk of diabetes, boosting stamina and reducing chronic inflammation. You get the gist: beetroot is super good for us, so let’s eat more of it, shall we?
- 3-4 medium-sized beets
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons for roasting
- 2 teaspoons cumin, ground
- Peel beetroot and cut into wedges, cover in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast in the oven at 220° C fan-forced for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place into a blender (including the excess olive oil) along with lemon juice, sunflower seeds, olive oil and cumin and blend until it has a chunky texture (you may have to use a tamper).
- Serve as a dip, spread or with red meat.
This pesto works perfectly as a dip with some veggie sticks or as a spread on wraps and sandwiches. But it also pairs beautifully with red meat (think slow-cooked lamb or a steak) as the slightly sweet taste perfectly compliments the richness of the meat. Plus the red colour makes every dish look a tiny bit prettier – we do eat with our eyes first, after all.
Happy thrifty cooking! – Johanna