There are so many ‘superfoods’ out there. Most of them are either unpronounceable or crazy expensive…or both. But there are actually loads of ‘normal’ foods that are basically superfoods in their own right. I say ‘normal’ foods, meaning that they’re things you could easily buy from your local supermarket without having to take out a mortgage, and one of those foods is beetroot. Yep, you red that correctly – beetroot is an awesome food!

This delicious vegetable is full of nutrients – it’s high in calcium, iron and vitamins! It also tastes a lot better than kale, let’s be honest.

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A few weeks ago I was invited to London to attend an event at the award-winning cookery school, Cactus Kitchens, hosted by Love Beetroot. The event was held to make us aware of just how versatile beetroot is as an ingredient and how easy it is to make delicious healthy recipes using it, and it certainly did the job because everything I tasted on that day was delicious!

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The event involved a cooking workshop making recipes created by the fabulous Chef Director at Duck and Waffle, Dan Doherty. Needless to say, as much as I was excited, I was also a little nervous because I’d never done anything like this before.

When we arrived at the venue we all made our way into the kitchen to get started, and I was astounded at how amazing the kitchen was! We each had our own perfect little kitchen work stations, just like in Bake Off!! 

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The first recipe Dan showed us was his ‘Valentine’s (be my) baby beetroot tarte tatin, honey & thyme, cheddar pastry’. It was a huge relief that the fab people at Love Beetroot had gone out of their way to get me some gluten-free puff pastry to work with for this so I was able to join in and attempt my own version of Dan’s delicious dish just like everyone else! 

Although my gluten-free pastry didn’t quite hold as well as I would’ve liked while rolling it out (because that’s just what gluten-free pastry is like), it turned out brilliantly! And it tasted sooooo good!

Dan then showed us how to make his ‘Beet-a-ganouch, sweet chilli beetroot, yogurt, toasted pine nuts’. We got into pairs to make this and I was with the lovely Jessy from Popcorn and Pyjamas. It went really well and was thankfully just as easy as Dan had made it seem – our dish looked fab!

 The recipes for both dishes made at this event are available at the end of this blog post by the way.

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Don’t Skip A Beet is a fantastic campaign by Love Beetroot to challenge people to be more creative with their food, and the fact that Love Beetroot provide pre-prepared beetroots makes them super easy to use in any dish (whether sweet or savoury). They’ve got some delicious flavoured packaged beetroots too, which makes it even more exciting!

The crazy thing is that I’m definitely the kind of person who tends to have the same meals most weeks, but the Don’t Skip A Beet campaign has opened my eyes to using beetroot in new ways and I’ve even been trying it out in cakes! It’s definitely encouraged me to be more experimental with new foods.

Hopefully these recipes will inspire you too!

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Dan Doherty’s Valentine’s (be my) baby beetroot tarte tatin, honey & thyme, cheddar pastry

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Ingredients:

300g puff pastry (gluten-free for anyone who is unable to digest gluten, obviously)

60g grated strong cheddar cheese

3 x 180g baby beetroot, each one halved

Sprig thyme

80ml honey

80ml balsamic vinegar

Sea salt

Black pepper

Drizzle olive oil 

100g soft goats cheese

Handful watercress leaves

Method:

First, unroll the puff pastry. On one half, sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese, keeping 2cm from the edge. Fold over and press down the edges.

Take a rolling pin and gently roll the pastry so it begins to flatten. Fold in half, then in half again, and pop in the fridge to firm up, approx. 30 minutes.

Once the pastry has firmed, roll out again, so it’s back to its original size.

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees.

Take the pan you will use (8-10 inch recommended) for your tatin, and put on a medium heat.

Add the olive oil, and the beetroots and sauté together with the thyme for 4-5 minutes, allowing them to get a little colour.

Give a good stir, and add the honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Once bubbling, reduce on a high heat until it’s a glaze.

Lay your sheet of cheesy pastry over the top and tuck in the edges to make it snug.

Put the pan in the oven for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

When ready, take out and let cool as it is for 20 minutes.

Place a plate on top of the pan and carefully turn over allowing the tart to come out.

Slice the goats cheese and lay on the tart, then cut into 6 slices and garnish with watercress leaves to finish.

Dan Doherty’s Beet-a-ganouch, sweet chilli beetroot, yogurt, toasted pine nuts

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 aubergine

1 Packet Love Beetroot sweet chilli beetroots 

Sprig thyme, leaves only

1 teaspoon ground cumin, toasted

1 tablespoon Tahini

1 tablespoon yogurt

1 garlic clove, peeled

Pinch parsley

10g pine nuts

Sea salt

Black pepper

Pinch coriander leaves

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

On a gas hob, blacken the skins of the aubergine until burnt. It’s best to skewer it so you can hold at a safe distance.

When all blackened, place into a roasting tray and put in the oven for 10 minutes to soften. (If you don’t have a glass-top gas hob it’s fine to skip the blackening stage and just roast the aubergine).

When ready, split open and scoop out the flesh, and roughly chop so it’s broken down.

In a food processor, add the beetroot, tahini, toasted cumin, thyme leaves and garlic and blitz until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Take out and into a bowl, add the aubergine and stir through.

In a dry frying pan, toast raw pine nuts until golden.

Serve the beetroot and aubergine mix in a bowl, and add a good spoon of yogurt on top.

Sprinkle over the pine nuts and coriander leaves to finish.

Thank you so much to Dan Doherty and the lovely people at Love Beetroot and their PR company for inviting me to be part of this event, I had a great time and learnt loads about how to make deliciously tasty beetroot dishes!

What are your favourite beetroot dishes?

Check out my other recipes:

Gluten-free healthy cheesecake: Coconut, raspberry & lemon

The Cutie Pie: Sweet crumpet recipe for Newburn Bakehouse

Gluten-free, indulgent but healthy “Ferrero Rocher” 

Gluten-free, sugar-free chocolate orange sharing pot

Raw chocolate fudge energy balls – gluten-free and sugar-free

Gluten-free, sugar-free ‘Natella’ chocolate truffles

Chocolate orange avocado mousse (gluten-free)

High-protein, sugar-free banoffee pie

Choc orange cheesecake (gluten-free)