Cooking with beetroot


… is a plant-based chef who founded Little Bird Organics

Here’s her recipe for…


        And here’s the webisode.

This is a really delicious and hearty salad. It is very much a full meal rather than a side salad. You could swap the buckwheat for something like sorghum or even quinoa, but I really recommend you try it with the buckwheat as it’s really cheap and adds a lovely earthy flavour that complements the beetroot.

Roasted beetroot

2 large beetroot,
peeled and cut into 2-3cm chunks
pinch salt
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
3-4 sprigs thyme, left whole

Line a baking tray and lay beetroot chunks out on it. Sprinkle on salt and drizzle on vinegar and oil. Add garlic and thyme. Wrap the beetroot up into a parcel so they steam a little. Place in an oven heated to 180 °C for 40 minutes.

Macadamia and cashew ricotta*

2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked for 2 hours and rinsed
1 cup cashew nuts, soaked for 2 hours and rinsed
1/3 cup filtered water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
Into a blender or food processor place macadamia and cashew nuts and add water, salt, lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Blend until it has a thick, creamy texture. Adjust seasoning to taste.


4-6 baby beets, washed and peeled
6-8 beet leaves
mixed salad greens eg kale, lettuce, radicchio
½ cup buckwheat
1 cup water
handful of flat-leaf parsley
balsamic reduction**
¼ cup hazelnuts

Lightly toast the buckwheat in a pan and pour over the water, bring to the boil then lower to a simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
Finely slice baby beets on a mandolin (if you have one).

To serve

Place salad greens (including beetroot leaves) on plates. Spoon a good quarter cup (per plate) of cooked buckwheat over the leaves. Layer up roasted beetroot on top of the buckwheat, including roasted garlic. Then add raw sliced beetroot and parsley. Drizzle balsamic reduction over the salad. Add hazelnuts.
Finally, dollop on 3-4 spoonfuls of the macadamia and cashew ricotta on each plate and finish with freshly grated pepper.
Serves 2.

*This is a fresh, quick cheese. But you can add a probiotic or Rejuvelac and leave it overnight to culture or ferment, then the next day you add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt.
**To make a balsamic reduction, cook balsamic vinegar down slowly on a stovetop or add some coconut sugar to the vinegar to speed the process up. Aged balsamic can be bought and has a sticky texture already.


… is a naturopath and nutritionist

Beetroot is a stand-out vege in the area of antioxidant support and one of the major antioxidants it has is a phytonutrient called Betalain. There’s a significant loss of Betalain if beetroot is cooked, so it’s better to eat it raw or very lightly cooked. Betalain is also important for the detoxification of the body. It triggers a very important enzymatic reaction in the liver detox pathways which neutralises and excrete toxins from the body.

Make sure you use the leaves of beetroot too as they’re a massive source of Vitamin A, C, calcium and iron.

Beetroot is a great source of inorganic nitrates which the body transforms into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide has been shown to lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and increasing blood flow.

Lastly, before exercise, have a beetroot juice. It can reduce the amount of oxygen used and improves energy to the muscles.