With the arrival of (slightly) warmer weather, I start to crave dill. To me, the herb has such a spring flavour. Maybe it has something to do with how well it pairs with asparagus, my ultimate spring food. But spring is a time to slowly introduce lighter foods, so here I’ve paired them with a root vegetable and a grain of choice. A very moreish dish.
Crispy sweet and sour beetroot with dill-walnut pesto
This dish welcomes spring with the freshness of dill, while staying grounded thanks to the beetroot.
Crispy sweet and sour beetroot
- 3 x beetroot
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 1 TBSP x apple cider vinegar
- 1 TBSP x maple syrup
- Salt and pepper
- 75g feta
Dill and walnut pesto
- 1 bunch x dill
- 1 x garlic clove (optional)
- 30g x walnuts, deshelled
- 1 TBSP x honey or maple syrup
- 2 TBSP x olive oil
- Juice of ½ a lemon
Couscous (around 1/3 x cup per person) or your grain of choice. Quinoa and polenta are good options.
Start with the beetroot. Heat the oven to 200ºC fan. Slice the beetroot as thinly as possible or use a mandolin (or the mandolin-like function on a food processor if you have one). Place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients except the feta, and allow to sit while you get on with the couscous.
Prepare the couscous (or grain of choice) with salted water, according to the packet instructions.
After the beetroot slices have had around 10-15 minutes, pick them out of the liquid (keep the liquid; you’ll need it later), scrunching them with your hands a bit to encourage more liquid out of them. Transfer the beetroot slices to a tray lined with baking paper. Layer the slices thinly, making sure as many edges as possible are visible as they’ll get nice and crispy. Drizzle with olive oil and cook for 20 minutes, about 2/3 of the way up the oven. Check on them from time to time so they don’t burn.
Make the pesto by combining all the pesto ingredients in a food processor and blending until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir a glug of olive oil and the reserved beetroot liquid through the couscous.
After the beetroot has had 20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and crumble over the feta. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes, checking often to make sure that the beetroot edges don’t burn, until the feta is slightly browned.
Layer on plates, first the couscous or grain, then the beets, finishing with a dollop of pesto.