I’ve written this piece in partnership with Victorinox who have supplied me with the walnut handled knife and the chopping board (pictured) below. As a kid I always kept a Swiss Army Knife in my pocket, now as an adult and professional I use their chef-knives in my home and professional kitchens.
Beetroot grows with a bountiful plumage of nutritious iron-rich leaves that taste like an earthy and flavourful rainbow chard.
These leaves usually get thrown away, either at the farm, or at the market when they are purchased. However beetroot leaves are delicious and well worth indulging in.
The leaves are usually removed because they perish quickly. Removing them is good practice when storing the root for long periods of time and helps prolong the life of the beetroot. However if you can find roots with their greens attached, this is a clear indication of freshness and means they were likely picked in the last few days, making them more delicious and nutritious than when they are stored.
If you purchase beetroots with their greens attached, keep the leaves and roots at their freshest by removing the stalks and leaves when you get home. Keep them separately in a bag or container in the fridge and use the greens as you would any other leafy vegetable. Or try making my beetroot leaf borani below.
Beetroot Leaf Borani
I like to hand chop the herbs and leaves for my dips which means a sharp knife is essential. These Victorinox knives are the newest in my collection and razor-sharp, perfect for the job. If you are to invest in a chefs knife my advice is to buy a sharpener first. The only way to keep a knife in good nick is to sharpen it regularly. Beetroot leaves are one of my favourite ingredients, they taste similar to chard – and are from the same family – but have an earthy flavour. Use them to replace greens in any recipe. Beetroot leaves are a valuable ingredient in this dish, making it quite remarkable and delicious.
Serves 4 as a snack or 2 as a starter with bread
1 bunch (about 120g) beetroot stalks and leaves, washed
1 small clove garlic, pureed
A few glugs of extra virgin olive oil
100g thick full fat yoghurt or soya yoghurt
1/8 lemon, zest and juiced
1 tsp za’atar or dried mint
25g walnuts, crushed into large pieces (optional)
2 whole wheat pita bread to serve
Slice the beetroot leaves and stalks finely. Place in a thick based frying pan with a glug of extra virgin olive oil and pinch of salt. Place on a low-medium heat with a lid on top. After a few minutes, give them a quick stir, return the lid and cook for a further minute. Remove the lid, add half the garlic, and keep stirring until the juices have mostly evaporated. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.
When cold, mix the cooked beetroot leaves with the yoghurt, remaining garlic and lemon zest and juice. Season to taste.
Serve in a bowl, sprinkled with za’atar or dried mint if using, a sprinkle of crushed walnuts if using and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Eat with toasted whole wheat pita bread and or seasonal crudites. I like to make crudites out of the parts of vegetables that often get thrown away.