Beetroot, either fresh or cooked, has a distinct taste, that not everyone likes. The most common and well known dishes that include beetroot as an ingredient are salads and soups. However, as a root vegetable with plenty of fibre in it, beetroot, both fresh and cooked, can have many more less known and non-traditional uses, from being an essential ingredient in bread dough to risotto. I started to use beetroot frequently after being given homegrown organic beetroot from our friends garden. It was such a large crop, that it gave me the chance to experiment with any dish that came to mind. Many of the recipes created in that period stayed with us and are a significant part of our regular menu. Beetroot is a principal ingredient in:
- Beetroot soup, gluten free and paleo options
- Beetroot salads with or without fermented cabbage
- Beetroot buckwheat bread – gluten, yeast and dairy free
- Beetroot seeds bread – grain, dairy and yeast free
- Beetroot risotto
- Homemade chicken sausages – gluten, dairy free, paleo
- Beetroot soba
- Lamb beetroot pate
I have to mention that I use only organic beetroot for all my cooking needs.
I would not call it borscht, traditional Russian or Ukrainian dish, as I had never cooked it back in Riga, and only had my first try only several years ago. So, it is my own version of a hearty beetroot soup paired with other vegetables and either lamb shanks or chicken meatballs as a source of protein.
For gluten free version of the recipe I use olive oil and butter mix to fry vegetables, and usually add canned beans. For paleo version olive oil is mixed with coconut oil and beans are absent from the ingredient list. No sour cream to serve, either.
The first beetroot salad recipe I made included fermented cabbage as an essential ingredient. However, when we run out of fermented cabbage, my husband suggested that even without it the salad would be good anyway. He was right. Since then he makes the salad from the reduced list of ingredients.
I use only one serving spoon of avocado or walnut oil, adding another serving spoon of dill cucumber liquid. This winter salad goes well as a side dish, and is perfect for takeaway lunch, as it does not need reheating.
I bake 2 different types of bread based on cooked buckwheat puree. The difference is in the mix of dry ingredients. For gluten free version it is buckwheat flour with ground flax seeds or flaxseed flour.
For grain and dairy free version of buckwheat bread the mix of the dry ingredients has ground pumpkin seeds or sunflower kernels with flax seeds and chia seeds. In both recipes pumpkin seeds or sunflower kernels can be replaced by almond meal.
I also used beetroot puree to bake, bread based on pumpkin seed flour, a special high protein product, where oil is pressed out of pumpkin seeds and leftovers are milled.
Beetroot risotto is made with grated fresh beetroot. It gives an amazing colour to the dish, that can incorporate other ingredients for nourishment or flavour.
Beetroot puree is an ideal filler for homemade chicken or turkey sausages. It eliminates dairy component (usually cream) and gives the colour to the product. It is an excellent dish for children from the very young age.
Beetroot puree can replace water in gluten free homemade buckwheat soba recipe. It looks very colourful, but the intensity of colour diminishes during cooking. If you want to make homemade wholesome noodles, but do not like buckwheat taste in particular, adding beetroot is the way to go. It neutralises buckwheat taste. As we both love buckwheat taste this bright looking noodles are less appealing compared to just buckwheat soba.
This recipe was developed for a special occasion to have a dish with increased iron content to help with anaemia by nutritional means. It was meant for pregnant women and babies already on solid foods. It has lean spring lamb, organic beetroot and apple puree as main components. Apple puree was used for two purposes: to neutralise strong meat taste, because I could not use spices to reduce distinct taste, and to increase iron absorption. It was actually very nice.
Recipes in this review come from this blog, as well as my second, e-cookingblog.