Meals and Courses

  • 1 kg (2 lb) raw beetroot, peeled
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin rapeseed oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 250 g (8 oz) green beans, trimmed
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 250 g (8 oz) ricotta cheese
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 small bunch of basil, chopped, a few leaves reserved for garnish
  • 1 multi-grain or cereal baguette, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
  • salt and pepper

Cut the beetroot into wedges or in half, if small. Toss with the oil and cumin seeds and season with salt and pepper. Tip into a roasting tin and place in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 45 minutes. Pour over the balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or until the beetroot is tender and slightly sticky.

Cook the beans in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water for 2–3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and toss with the beetroot and onion in a bowl.

Mix together in a bowl the ricotta, lemon rind and basil and season with salt and pepper. Spread over the baguette slices, place on a grill pan and cook under a preheated medium-hot grill for 3 minutes or until hot and lightly golden.

Heap the beetroot and bean salad into bowls and top with the ricotta croutons. Drizzle with a little balsamic glaze and extra virgin rapeseed oil and scatter with the extra basil leaves. Serve immediately.

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