Last year’s U.K Masterchef finalist, Giovanna, brings us a beautiful recipe to celebrate all things beet. Now a favourite amongst ‘masterchefs’, the beet finds its roots in far more humble origins. Once a favourite amongst the peasant classes of Great Britain, it was later used to color wine in the 19th century. Now enjoying a resurgence in gourmet cooking, the beet can be blended, mashed, pickled, roasted or boiled lending its deep purple color and distinctive earthy flavour to many an elegant dish.

The beet is one of the most environmentally friendly vegetables with pesticides rarely needed in the growing process. Beets are also rich in iron, calcium and antioxidants and can help to reduce blood pressure. It’s not only delicious but good for you and good for the planet. What more reason could you need?

If you’re still not convinced, we’re confident that Giovanna’s recipe will give you the perfect excuse to embrace the beet…

Use your prep set when needed and and have your serverware at the ready.

Beet and new potato salad with soft-boiled eggs
Giovanna Ryan

I throw a whole load of stuff into this salad but not all of it is necessary if you don’t have it on hand. You’re looking for a pickle-y, sharp dressing to balance the earthy beet and some texture from nuts or seeds but feel free to experiment with different ingredients. You could also buy pre-cooked beet if you need this to be extra quick.

Ingredients (for 4 hearty lunches)

For the salad:
Around 1kg beets of different varieties and colors, peeled
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
A few sprigs of dill
4 free range eggs
4 large handfuls of a mixture of salad leaves
2 tablespoons capers, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh horseradish
Around 400g new potatoes cut into regular sized pieces
Two scallions, thinly sliced
Around 50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
A little water to loosen

For the pickling liquor:
100ml white wine vinegar
Teaspoon salt
Teaspoon sugar

• Chop two thirds of your beet into wedges and boil until soft through. If you want to keep the color of the different varieties you’ll have to boil them in separate pans. Drain and set aside.
• Slice the remaining beet into matchsticks and place in the pickling liquor. Leave for at least 20 minutes to pickle.
• Boil your new potatoes until soft, drain and set aside.
• Mix all of your dressing ingredients together in a small bowl or mug. If it seems too think, add a little water.
• Boil the eggs for 6 minutes then run under cold water briefly. As soon as you can handle them, peel and slice into two.
• Put all the remaining salad ingredients into a bowl and dress with the dressing. Add the cooked beet, pickled beet and new potatoes and toss briefly.
• Divide between four plates and top with the eggs.