There’s been much triathlete activity in the house recently. Lots of exercise, and lots of healthy eating going on. No – not really from me, but my partner. Some mornings after his training I’d find him drinking beetroot juice, made from powdered beetroot (see pic). When questioned as to the link between his training and the juice, he referred me to this article, from Science Daily (Aug. 6, 2009). Here’s an excerpt:
Drinking beetroot juice boosts your stamina and could help you exercise for up to 16% longer. A University of Exeter led-study shows for the first time how the nitrate contained in beetroot juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring.
I think the beetroot powder is working for him, but for me – I like it in it’s fresh form. Nothing better than taking the time to roast up some rich, earthy beetroot.
This recipe has been adapted from a Bill’s one – from his cookbook Bill’s Basics. I made it to go with some lamb cutlets for the triathlete, but this would also make a great main meal on it’s own. Serves about 4. Prep time – allow 1 – 2 hours to roast the beetroot, and then about 15-20 mins of prep.
1 cup (200g) lentils (I used red lentils)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, very finely sliced into rings (use a mandolin if you have one)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
A handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
A handful of flat-leaf parsley (or micro herbs), roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, cut into batons
8 baby beetroots (or I used 4 largish ones)
1 cup (200g) soft white cheese (I used a marinated goats cheese)
Extra virgin olive oil
What to do
Big red roast: First get your beetroot roasting underway, as they will take a while. I normally roast more than I need – so I have a stash for quick lunches (and in my case – breakfasts). I know there are a few ways of roasting beetroot – so roast as you see fit. I use Stephanie Alexander’s method which is to wrap each beetroot (skin on) individually in foil, place them on a baking tray and roast for 1 – 2 hours at 180C, or until tender. Mine took about an hour. Once they’ve cooled off a bit, peel the beetroots with your hands (I rubber gloved myself to avoid the red finger curse). Slice them into medium sized wedges and set aside.
The salady bit: Start with the lentil cooking. Put them in a saucepan with about 1.5 cups of water. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat down and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Taste to ensure they’re cooked to your liking. Strain them and put them into a large bowl. Add the olive oil, onion and vinegar, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Then add the mint, parsley and celery, and stir through until it’s all combined nicely.
Servation: Top the salad with the beetroot, then sort of gently combine it all. Or you could just place the beetroot on top if you prefer. Crumble some goats cheese over the top, then sprinkle with a little sumac and drizzle with olive oil.
Eat up and feel the energy.