Just today I did a review of Mildreds Vegan. This new cookbook, by Daniel Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman, presents vegan recipes from the Mildreds chain of restaurant in London. A vegetarian hallmark, Mildreds has a battery of vegan recipes that all of us will enjoy. Consider this resonating recipe: Tamarind-Glazed Beets with Baby Spinach, Salted Pistachios and Soy Labneh. You can just make the tamarind-glazed beets, or go whole hog and fashion this dish with all the additions to give it maximum impact.

The colors here are bold, like the flavors, and the satisfaction level is surely high. This dish can be a substantial side or the main course. Cooking the beets — or beetroot as written in this British recipe — takes some time, so this is not a quick worknight meal. It is a most appealing candidate for a Sunday brunch. Not too heavy, rich in contrasting flavor, and actually, really healthy. Quite the combination.


Tamarind-Glazed Beetroot with Baby Spinach, Salted Pistachios and Soya Labneh

Yield: serves 6

Ingredients:

For the baked beetroot:

  • 6 medium beetroot, trimmed
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Drizzle of olive oil

For the salted pistachios:

  • 50 grams (1 ¾ ounces) salt
  • 100ml (3 ½ fluid ounces) warm water
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) raw shelled pistachio nuts

For the tamarind glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 3 tablespoons Middle Eastern black tamarind concentrate
  • ½ tablespoon toasted and coarsely crushed cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sumac

To finish:

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) baby spinach, washed
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) Soya Labneh, or Greek yogurt

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 35O°F.

2Cut a piece of foil large enough to wrap the beetroot and an equally large piece of baking parchment. Place the foil on a baking tray and top with the baking parchment. Put the beetroot and the other ingredients for the baked beetroot on top and then wrap the parchment and foil around to seal tightly. Bake for 1 ½ hours.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, leaving the oven on. Peel and cut the beetroot in half and then into wedges, yielding about 6 wedges per beetroot (discard the orange and aromatics).

While the beetroot are cooling, make the salted pistachios. Add the salt to the measured warm water in a bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the nuts and leave to soak for a few minutes. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the nuts on to the lined baking sheet and spread out, then bake for 15-20 minutes at the same oven temperature as for the beetroot. Remove, leave to cool and then crush slightly. (Store what you don’t use, or if making in advance, in an airtight container.)

To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.

To finish, heat the olive oil in a wok, add the garlic and chilli and fry over a medium-high heat for 1 minute, stirring. Add the baked beetroot and about 1 tablespoon of the glaze and toss over a high heat for about 1 minute until coated.

Transfer the beetroot to a large bowl, add the baby spinach and toss together. Drizzle tamarind glaze on each plate and then add a smear of the soya labneh. Add a pile of the beetroot and spinach mixture, topping off with the salted pistachios.


Source: Mildreds Vegan by Daniel Acevedo and Sarah Wasserman [Mitchell Beazley, 2018]