spicy beetroot purée

mezze plate

beetroot purée, adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks, "a year in my kitchen" by skye gyngell. i've been trying to eat a lot more veggies, and one of my favourites is roasted beets, which are sweet, somewhat corn-y tasting, and just a gorgeous violent deep shade of purply red. all you need to do to roast them is to scrub 'em down, chuck them into a pan, drizzle some olive oil on top, cover with foil and bake them in a preheated 400˚F for about 45 minutes to an hour, until they can be pierced with a knife. i usually just eat them peeled, with a little salt and pepper, but sometimes when i've got a few left over, i play around with gyngell's recipe for a puréed spread/dip, flavoured with garlic, olive oil, fragrant spices, and tons of green herbs. the effect is not unlike a über-hummus, all sweet, silky yet spicy and just a little rough--a nice addition to any mezze plate, a vivid side dish, or even just an eye-opening spread on toast. i don't know what it is that makes people dislike beets, but maybe this recipe will change some people's mind.

beetroot purée adapted from "a year in my kitchen" by skye gyngell

3 large beets, roasted, cooled and peeled (see above) note--you can do this with canned beets (drained thoroughly), but the colour will not be quite as nice
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large bunch of coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped
1 large handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 glug of olive oil
1 tablespoonful roasted spice mix* (see below; you can always use ground spices for this if you don't want to deal)
1/2-1 teaspoonful of cayenne pepper
balsamic vinegar to taste
1 small container of greek yogurt (optional)

add the beets, garlic, herbs, spices, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. pulse/blend until a smoothly puréed. add greek yogurt if you want a super smoothy, then add balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.

*roasted spice mix

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
25g coriander seeds
25g cumin seeds
25g fennel seeds
25g fenugreek seeds
2 cardamon pods
1-2 star anise

place a frying pan over low heat. once a clear smoke rises from the pan, add spices. stir frequently, being careful not to let them burn. when the seeds begin to pop, take them off the heat, and grind to a fine powder in a spice mill or mortar and pestle.


hello. i live in Tokyo.

your food blog is very interesting!

thank you.

i am one of those people who are not crazy about beets. it's not offensive but i definitely don't seek it out. i'm going to try this recipe out though. i think this may be a beet recipe i like.

not a fan of beets either, but roasted? that i must try.

Hey Santos - I love beets, and will try this recipe out, though whenever I make beets, I make a mess out of myself. I love the colors!

hello miho! thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. i will visit your blog often :)

susan, i think canned beets give a great disservice to fresh ones. roasted ones are great. i can't really describe the taste, but it reminds me of corn. it's like eating a bit bleeding ball of corn. i'm sure that helped :) but the beet purée is great on a mezze plate or with falafel.

bramble, i don't know why people don't like beets (the colour is enough to sell me), but roasted ones definitely have more flavour than canned ones. and i find the flavour to be completely non-offensive--it's just sweet and vegetable-y....

hi kirkk, i make a huuuuuuge mess out of it, too. the colour seems to go everywhere! i just make sure to not wear white :)

must admit to never having had "fresh" beets, always the pickled variety that made my nose scrunch up from the acidity.

shredded beet in a "bistro" salad is as far as i've ever gotten.

ooh, i haven't had a pickled beet in awhile....i actually like those too. what about borscht?

I made some beet and bulgur patties a while back (nice texture and very sweet from the beets) and have one lonely beet leftover that I've been meaning to roast. I like this idea and think I'll try to scale it down, but thatsa alot of spice in that mixture! It made me laugh because I'm knitting a gift in cashmere yarn right now and the stuff comes in 25g hanks.

ha! if you need something to add to your 101 list, maybe you can knit me a cashmere beet hat :)

The reason roasting (oven or BBQ) changes the flavor and sweetens the vegetable--totally unlike the taste of boiled or nuked in the microwave-- is that it caramelizes the considerable sugar in the beets (same thing you'll notice in roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, onions and other vegetables with high sugar content).