I am a HUGE lover of beets. Many people are inclined to throw away the beet leaves. Waste not! The leaves are actually the most nutrient-rich part of the plant (think iron, magnesium, vitamin c, folate and so on) and provide some amazing health benefits.
Most importantly, beets are in season. Beetroot with stems and leaves still attached are best. The foliage should be green and fresh – looking.
I like to serve this dish with crispy trout. The flavours mingle beautifully.
4 beets & their leaves
2 garlic cloves (unpeeled)
organic balsamic vinegar
organic olive oil
1/2 orange juice
200g white beans
cracked black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Top and tail the beets. Place the beet leaves aside. Arrange the beets in an oven tray with the garlic cloves and a drizzle of olive oil. Cover and bake until cooked (usually around 1 – 1.5 hours). You still want the beets firm, but cooked through.
Blitz the walnuts with a small amount of olive oil in a blender and pulse until smooth. Keep adding a little olive oil at a time, until a sauce like consistency. Set aside.
Remove the beets from the oven and keep covered for around 30 minutes. This enables the skins to come off easily.
Remove the skins. Cut into wedges. Place the beets in a bowl, add the cooking juices and a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Wash and chop the beet leaves into thin strips (0.5cm). Heat a frypan over a medium heat with a small amount of olive oil. Add the shredded beet leaves and gently cook for 5 minutes. Squeeze in the orange juice and mix through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Wash and remove the ends of the broccolini. Cut in half. Heat a frypan over a medium heat with a small amount of olive oil. Add the broccolini and a pinch of sea salt and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Don’t over cook. You want the broccolini with a little crunch, for texture. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Assemble the dish – first with the cooked beet leaves, arrange the beet wedges, the broccolini, scatter the white beans all over, and lastly, drizzle with the walnut butter.