I THINK I’ll name beetroot as the vegetable comeback of the year. As a child, I remember large jars of beetroot being pickled in the summer. Pinching the vinegary, sweet slices out of the jar was a great favourite, taking care to avoid tell-tale pink-stained fingertips. Somehow it fell out of fashion. But the humble root is having a renaissance and is appearing in all manner of dishes. It ticks all the boxes; local, cheap, tasty and very easy to cook.

If you are using a hot oven take the opportunity to bake some beetroots wrapped in foil. Simply remove the beetroot tops, leaving a few at the top to keep the beetroot sealed and stop the juices seeping out while baking. Scrub the skins and wrap each root individually in foil. Bake on a tray on a free shelf in the hot oven for 1.5 to 2 hours until the flesh is easily pierced with a skewer or sharp knife. Allow to cool and store in the fridge until needed. They will be good for 2-3 weeks.

You can also microwave beets. Scrub them and place in a plastic bowl with a cup full of slightly salted water. Cover and microwave on high for 6 minutes. Shake and cook in two-minute bursts until the flesh is cooked through.

The beet leaves can be used as an alternative to spinach or chard, so don’t chuck them in the bin.

You may want to try making your own horseradish sauce for this recipe.


200g horseradish root

4 tablespoons of water

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 tablespoon of caster sugar

Peel the horseradish and finely grate it. Your eyes will sting, all part of the fun. Tip all the ingredients into a food processor and whisk to form a smooth paste. Check flavour and adjust to taste.

This can be stored in a sterilised jar in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.


3 large beetroots

200g hot smoked salmon or mackerel

Mixed salad leaves

Horseradish sauce

Fresh dill and finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Extra virgin olive oil

Juice and grated rind of half an unwaxed lemon.

Grate the beetroot and season with sea salt

(You can use clean rubber gloves to avoid getting red stained hands)

Put the clean salad leaves in a bowl

Toss everything with some sea salt, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon juice

Lay on a large serving plate

Scatter the grated beetroot on top

Flake the hot smoked salmon or mackerel over the salad and drizzle with the horseradish sauce