Imagine a single vegetable that people love to hate, chances are you’re thinking of beetroot. A vegetable, childhood memories (nightmares?) are made of. I can clearly see myself sitting at the table with my grand parents in a random inn in front of a daunting and bland tasting salad accompanied by too many and overly sour pickled crinkle cut beetroot. Yuck. When I think of beetroot, really all that comes to mind is vinegar. And I know for a fact, I’m not the only one. No wonder beetroot had and still has the potential to polarize people. Naturally, I critically observed their increasing appearance on German restaurant menus and couldn’t help but regard their apparently newly gained popularity with contempt and defiance. Luckily, with most menus being substantial enough to offer plenty of alternatives, I managed to safely navigate around them.
On a closer look – and with a bit of self-scrutiny – the revival of the beetroot was no longer just a fad or the obligatory trend item on a menu, people actually seemed to really like them. Just about when I was ready to give in, block out my aversion and give it another chance (beetroot light?), it all happened sooner than I anticipated it: The company I work for threw a fancy Christmas party with a set dinner and among the appetizers, who would have thought, beetroot panna cotta in its full glory. This is the beauty of set dinners, you can’t really chicken out and order your favorite dish, so you’ll accept the situation and check it off as an experiment, of course still keeping the option to complain about it afterwards – because you didn’t order it to begin with, right?! Perhaps a perverted backup plan. An unnecessary one, I might add – the beetroot dish turned into my personal highlight that evening.
I’ve been sampling different beetroot tastes since, a salad here, an appetizer there. Perhaps still with the occasional being-on -full-alert-and-ready-to-drop-everything-and-run – but with increasing enthusiasm and joy. A recent informal dinner was a true eye opener, beetroot carpaccio, thinly sliced raw beetroot with a herb vinaigrette. Raw beetroot, my new friend?! We’re still in an early phase of a relationship, I simply love to consume his presence, pun intended. And since its health benefits come with the package, there is no reason to slow down. I just need to stay clear from those old school canned… Anyway, my favorite raw vegetable salad (turnip cabbage, apples, carrots) received an upgrade: The beetroot’s earthy flavor makes a fantastic combination with the apples, probably the best way to convince other beetroot haters of its delicious qualities. Craving fresh and healthy food? Don’t look further.
Out of convenience or for neat looks use a slicer of your choice or simply manually cut the veggies and the apple in more or less equally thin sticks (about 2-3mm thick). This is a great opportunity to dust of advanced kitchen tools that usually don’t get so much attention, like the Kitchen Aid slicer add-on or the mighty Mandoline. Alternatively to slicing, you could also try grating the vegetables/apple, which of course will result in a different and less crunchy consistency – but will taste great nevertheless.
Note: Be careful when dealing with fresh cut beetroot – its stains are a true nightmare and virtually impossible to remove!
Pile the fruit and vegetable sticks in a large bowl, add the yogurt, olive oil, coarse sea salt, lime juice and blend carefully. For enhanced flavors, allow the mix to rest in the fridge for half an hour (cover up with cling foil). Add some more seasoning if necessary & serve in small bowls. Just before serving, sprinkle with crumbled sheeps’ cheese and top with lime zest.
Recipe source: inspired by Jamie Oliver, Besser kochen, p.36
Prep time: 20min.
Ingredients (amounts merely by guess and gosh, serves 4 as an appetizer):
1 red mid-sized beetroot, peeled
1 small turnip cabbage, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled
1 lime, zest and juice
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
coarse sea salt
sheep's cheese, crumbled