Seasonal eating in Turkey means we can have a glut of the same vegetables for weeks on end. Aubergines, courgettes, carrots are available all year round so I see them as staples and my eye passes them by at the bazaar. It’s the seasonal veg I head for and for good reason – fruits and vegetables which grow in abundance in winter months are those full with the vitamins and minerals we need to fight off the winter cold. Citrus fruits, artichokes, winter greens, squash – all staples brimming full of vitamin C, K, B, calcium and zinc.
One of my favourite vegetables this month is beetroot. Until I started experimenting with cooking I’d only ever eaten beetroot from a jar, pickled in vinegar and served alongside salads, rich stews or on sandwiches to turn the bread pink! It’s rare that I eat it pickled nowadays – unless it’s had a quick refrigerator pickling with a few hard-boiled eggs – I prefer beetroot roasted and eaten as are, sprinkled with herbs and eaten as a vegetable alongside a roast chicken, grated raw into salads or made into flavoursome moist bread. A go-to salad, delicious with roasted meats, hot stews, fresh fish & even with cheese and bread is a show stopper. Bright pink, glossy looking, speckled with fresh herbs, it’s the perfect dish both to convince children to give beets a try and to cause mother-in-laws eyes to pop!
Beetroot salad with yoghurt
Roast beetroot, in the skin, until the skin wrinkles in on itself and the beets are soft.
Leave to cool, then peel & dice into cubes. (You may want to wear gloves to peel the beetroot lest your hands end up stained a vibrant shade of purple).
Chop a handful or two of fresh mint and dill, sprinkle over the beetroot. Add a good spoonful of greek yoghurt (I use süzme, or strained yoghurt in Turkey), a slug of olive oil. Mix everything together until there’s no white of yoghurt remaining. Serve at room temperature.