For March, I’ve turned to the underrated beetroot – a veg often overlooked due to its unfortunate associations with soil, vinegar and red clothes stains. Although on the face of it, beetroot sounds a bit bleak, it can become so great when treated with even just the slightest bit of care and attention. Most importantly, their colour makes food look far more exciting than it otherwise would be – it’s definitely worth embracing the red hands for a bit! So, if you’re feeling like you want to impress but also not put too much effort in, you can make this fab no-waste beetroot risotto.
This recipe is ridiculously cheap, easy and sustainable, with most of the ingredients grown in the UK year-round.
- 600g raw beetroot (with the greens and all)
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme
- 3 garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 200g arborio risotto rice
- 150ml vegan white wine (optional)
- 1 litre veg stock
To serve (optional):
- 40g watercress or rocket
- Any vegan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 210°C / 190°C fan.
- Scrub your beetroots under the sink and remove any soil or dirt.
- Chop the stalks and leaves off and carefully peel your beetroot, then put this all to one side.
- Chop the peeled beetroot into 2cm chunks and coat with a tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic (still in its skin), the thyme, a drizzle of balsamic if using, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper on a baking tray. Roast for approximately 45 minutes or until soft.
- Now toss the beetroot skins in another tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper, then spread evenly on a tray. Cook for between 10-15 minutes until crisp, and make sure to check on them so they don’t burn.
- In the meantime, finely dice your onion and the stalks and leaves of the beetroot.
- Fry the onion at a medium heat in some olive oil for a few minutes until soft, then add the beetroot greens and fry for a further five minutes.
- Stir your risotto rice into the pan and allow it to fry for about a minute.
- If using, stir in your wine and allow to cook until it’s fully absorbed by the rice.
- Now begin adding around a cup of stock at a time, adding another when each has been absorbed. Make sure to regularly stir so the rice does not stick. This should take around 20 minutes.
- Once done, take the roasted garlic and squeeze it out of its skin into a paste and stir into the risotto with the roasted beetroot chunks. Season to taste.
- Serve up into bowls and top with the beetroot skin crisps, a handful of watercress or rocket and your vegan cheese of choice.
- Use your peels – the skin of pretty much any root vegetable can be used to make healthier, packaging-free crisps like this for minimal effort.
- Use your leaves – almost all leaves you might find left on your veg are edible and delicious, just give it a google and incorporate them into whatever you’re making.
- Use your scraps – any other scraps that you save up can be easily turned into great veg stock to use in dishes like this; just cover in water, boil for an hour, then strain!