I finally got something other than courgettes out of my garden since I pulled my carrots and beetroot. It’s weird growing root vegetables as you basically have no idea what’s lurking under the ground.
For some reason only one of my beetroot grew to a decent size. I’m not too upset because I’m not that crazy about beetroot anyway. Turns out that I grew a lot of vegetables that I’m not too fond of. The fact is, I used to eat vegetables because they were good for me and not for pleasure. I have to say, though, growing my own has given me a new appreciation for veg.
Anyway, the small yield scuppered my plan of making chutney so I just roasted the beetroot in the oven. This was my first experience with raw beetroot. I followed Jamie Oliver’s recommendation of eating it warm on toast with horseradish. It was okay, but not sure I would make it again.
I was very pleased with my purple carrots because my dad’s girlfriend, who is a gardener, said that carrots are notoriously difficult to grow. I wanted to enjoy them in their raw form so I made some red pepper hummus with which to eat them. I followed this recipe, which produced by far the best hummus I’ve ever made, rivalling store bought. Hummus is one of the few things that I’ve found very difficult to improve by making from scratch.
I increased all of the amounts by 50% due to the ingredients I had on hand, so I now have an enormous quantity of hummus to consume. Fortunately it’s really good with the carrots.
Sun’s out, buns out… of my lunch box, that is. The magnificent weather had reinvigorated my quest against lunch ennui, resulting in this tasty salad.
I found the recipe that inspired me, via Pinterest, here. Feel free to substitute any of the vegetables for other root vegetables you like. I also chucked a couple of shallots in the roasting tin as I had them on hand.
Ingredients (serves four)
- 800g (about two medium) sweet potatoes
- 400g (one root) celeriac
- 300g (two medium) parsnips
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1tsp fennel seeds
- 200g washed baby spinach
- 160g washed other leaves (I used sprouted peas)
- 200g pomegranate seeds, or one pomegranate if you’re not lazy
- 200g feta, cubed
- 2 avocados
- 50g pumpkin seeds
For the dressing
- 1tbsp French mustard
- 1tbsp honey
- 2tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed or finely chopped
- 1tsp balsamic vinegar
- 6tbsp flavourless oil
- Preheat oven to 200C (400F)
- Chop all of the root vegetables into bite-sized dice. Peel if desired. I peeled the celeriac but not the sweet potato and parsnips. Place into a baking tray.
- Coat evenly with the olive oil and sprinkle over the fennel seeds. Place in the garlic cloves (no need to peel or chop)
- Bake for 20-25mins, until golden brown and tender.
- Combine the dressing ingredients, aside from the oil, in a food processor or hand blender and blitz until smooth. Add the oil slowly, through a funnel if you have one.
- Cut open avocado, remove store, scoop out the meat and cut into smaller cubes. Add the avocado to the salad leaves along with crumbled feta and pomegranate seeds
- Heat a small saucepan, add the pumpkin seeds and a little sprinkle of salt and toast until golden.
- Mix the roasted roots with the salad and top the salad with toasted pumpkin seeds. Add dressing to taste.
I make this salad ahead of time for work. I put my roasted roots in a large airtight container in the fridge, with the feta, pomegranate and toasted pumpkin seeds in separate containers.
Each morning, I put the leaves in my lunchbox, topped with the roots and other ingredients. I take my dressing in a separate container and dress the salad just before eating. It’s a little more effort doing it this way, but gives a really enjoyable result.
The salad is also very nice undressed. You could add a tablespoon of honey to the vegetables before you roast them for extra flavour.