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    Roast beetroot with horseradish yogurt

    By Alice Hart 

    "The best vegetarian cookery is, for me, simply a celebration of vegetables, treated with care and balance, but not fuss. A cool, but rich yogurt dressing, spiked with horseradish, is the perfect foil for early autumn's sweet beetroot, roasted until tender with thyme and vinegar, then finished with toasted walnuts. The combination makes a beautiful main for early autumn, with warm lentils or sourdough and salad. You could also serve it as an accompaniment to grilled fish or as part of a Sunday roast."

    • Vegetarian
    • Gluten Free
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    2 bunches beetroot
    1 large clove garlic, peeled and bruised
    3½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    3 tbsp red wine vinegar
    10 sprigs thyme
    50g walnuts
    3 tbsp crème fraîche
    350g Greek natural strained yogurt
    2 tsp hot horseradish sauce
    Few chard leaves, optional 

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Trim any beetroot leaves and stalks down to 3-4cm, removing any wilted ones. Scrub the beets under cool water and use a peeler to remove any tough skin around the tops; larger ones may need peeling completely, smaller ones can often be left unpeeled. Quarter or halve any large or medium beetroot, leave those smaller than a golf ball whole.

    2. Take a large sheet of foil, about 40cm square – joining two pieces together if necessary – and place it over a large roasting dish or tin. Put the prepared beetroot in the centre of the foil, along with the bruised garlic. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, the red wine vinegar, 5 thyme sprigs and 2 tbsp water, tumbling through gently to coat and spreading out in a single layer. Bring the foil around the beets and fold together to create a loose parcel with a tight seal.

    3. Roast for 1 hour 20 minutes, until the beets are tender. Carefully open the foil up to expose the beetroot. Remove the garlic clove and set aside. Stir the beets and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes. At the same time, spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and roast for 6-7 minutes, until lightly browned.

    4. Once cool, roughly crush or chop the walnuts and combine with the remaining thyme leaves, stripped from their stalks. In a bowl, add the crème fraîche to the yogurt with the horseradish and a little salt and pepper. Crush the garlic and stir into the yogurt mixture, combining everything well.

    5. Serve the warm or cool beetroot on top of the horseradish yogurt, plated individually or on a large platter, scatter with the torn chard leaves, if using. Stir the remaining 1½ tbsp olive oil into the cooking juices left in the beetroot parcel and spoon this over the beets. Scatter with the walnuts and thyme leaves to finish.

    Alice’s tipGarlic need not be a harsh addition if roasted or baked first to soften its bite. Here, a whole clove, gently bashed to bruise, adds subtle flavour to the beetroot and their dressing in the oven, then brings the dish together far more gently than raw garlic would, when crushed into the horseradish yogurt.  

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