October Recipe: Beetroot and Walnut Pesto

Seasonal Recipe: Roasted Beetroot and Toasted Walnut Pesto
This season’s top produce pick – beetroot! As far as super-veg go, beetroot gets a little bit of a hard time. Many people’s first impressions of beetroot are of it being pickled in vinegar and thrown into a wet, limp iceberg salad. However, all is not lost! I promise you, if you give it another shot you will be pleasantly surprised! When freshly roasted, beetroot is one of nature’s finest treasures. It has the most beautiful deep cerise purple colour with a beautifully subtle sweet but earthy flavour.

Beetroot is simply loaded with nutrients, including a dense concentration of antioxidants, folic acid, magnesium and potassium (great post-workout food actually!). A cool new way to eat pesto that is sure to hold no correlation to prior bad experiences is my pink pesto. Pink pesto you ask? Well actually it’s a roasted beet and walnut pesto, but pink pesto has a better ring to it, don’t you think? Smother pasta with it, slather it over fresh sourdough – whatever you fancy! This pesto is loaded with anti-oxidants, healthy fats, and protein.
You can roast the beetroots yourself, or you can use the pre-cooked, vacuum packed beets from the supermarket (just not the picked beets in the jar). For best results I recommend roasting yourself, though I appreciate life is quite hectic and you may not have time! For instructions on how to roast them yourself, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Ingredients
  • 3 Large fresh beetroots cooked (Scroll to the end of the page to find out how to cook fresh beetroot)
  • Fresh Garlic. The amount depends on your taste, but I used 3 cloves.
  • ½ Cup of walnuts
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • A handful of basil or parsley
Method
  1. Start by toasting the walnuts. Preheat the oven to 150C. Scatter the walnuts over a baking tray and pop into the oven for 6-7 minutes. It’s essential that you keep an eye on them or you could be throwing out burnt nuts for the rest of the day!
  2. When the beetroots are ready, chop into smaller pieces and add to your food processor. Simply add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you reach your desired consistency.
  3. Give the pesto a taste and add some more lemon juice, salt, or pepper as you feel it needs. If you prefer a more liquid consistency you can add more olive oil to the mix.
  4. Stir through pasta or spread over some good quality toasted bread for a delicious snack.
Roasting Fresh Beetroots
You Will Need:
  • Beetroot (Around 3-4 medium ones)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp of Water
  • Tin Foil
  • Roasting Tin
Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 200C or 400F.
  2. Rinse any mud or grit from the beetroots and chop off their stalks.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil into a roasting tray along with the tablespoon of water. This will of course depend on how much you are roasting. Use your eye. The water is to help with the steaming process while the oil stops them sticking and adds to the flavour.
  4. Pop the beetroots into the tray and cover the tray with tin foil. Cook for 40-60 minutes depending on their size and age.
  5. When cooked and soft, leave to cool. When cooled, peel the skin from the beetroots.
  6. WARNING this will stain your fingers. Make sure to wear an apron as beetroot stains are very difficult to get out of clothes.