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Beetroot, preserved lemon, dill & verjus sabja seed ‘risotto’- A Guest Post By Elaine

I am very excited about this guest post, I have know Elaine@foodbod for a long time, she is a constant source of inspiration for me and I am so grateful that she made this lovely dish especially for this post. Thank you so much Elaine, I admire your talent, your delicious recipes constantly remind me that healthful, clean, whole food does not have to be boring, it’s beautiful, vibrant, exciting and most importantly delicious. What she does with vegetables and spices is downright sexy. I follow Elaine on instagram as well and she checks up on me, giving me pepp talks and words of encouragement. It means the world to me, thank you Elaine and I think this dish is spectacular. I am bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday #144, I have been delinquent for a few weeks and thought this very delicious and special dish would make a great addition to the party. The cohosts this week are, me, moi, I (LOL) and the talented and lovely Margy@La Petite Casserole. Hope you all join the fun!!

Beetroot, preserved lemon, dill & verjus sabja seed ‘risotto’



I’m so happy to be here again, doing a guest post for lovely Suzanne, such a lovely friend in our blog world. Suzanne has recently made some changes to her food choices, and has been doing brilliantly at increasing the health benefits of her meals and enhancing how she feels physically. Change isn’t always easy and I fully support everything she is doing; my recipe(s) will hopefully provide some more food for thought…

It all began when I read a post from Mollie for a spicy tomato jam; I like the idea of jams and chutneys, but I don’t like the sugar. I don’t eat sugar in any kind of form, except for the odd banana, but I realise that sugar assists in giving jam it’s texture and general gloopiness, so my brain started to tick… I’ve seen lots of recipes for using chia seeds to make jam, but I don’t actually like chia seeds (I know it’s sacrilege to say that, but I really don’t like the flavour or texture of the tiny seeds); I’ve also seen sabja or basil seeds used in the same way, which intrigued me. You can find these seeds in Asian stores or online.


Sabja seeds swell to many many times their size when added to liquid, without adding a strong flavour, but with bringing huge nutritional benefits, and being great for digestion. For more information about these little seeds, check out these links:

Sabja seeds are typically used in drinks or sweet offerings, but my mission was to use them in savoury creations, so for my first experiment, I utilised Mollie’s recipe, left out the apple juice and the sugar, but added sabja seeds. And created a great spicy tomato sauce…



Spicy Tomato Jam

They work really well, they bulk out the sauce, and don’t quite create the jam like consistency I’d hoped for, but do act as a thickener, whilst adding all their goodness. If you try the sauce cold, you can detect the seeds moreso than when you eat it warm, not unpleasantly, but when you eat them warm, they merely melt into the sauce. I’ve eaten this with various vegetables, I think it would be good with pasta too.


Next experiment: I wanted to try out the seeds as a rice replacement in a risotto style dish, just because I wanted to see how it would work, and again, it would create a great healthy dish. And I can tell you, this works really well!!!! If you are looking to cut done on calories or carbs, or just want to increase nutrients in your diet, I think this might be useful for you. Or, like me, if you just fancy experimenting, give it a go!




Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
5 baby beetroots, cooked
100-150ml verjus/verjuice (you could use white wine if you like)
Handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
35g sabja/basil seeds
1 preserved lemon, drained, washed, flesh removed & discarded, and skin finally chopped

Optional to serve: Crushed roasted hazelnuts, goats cheese




Firstly, purΓ©e three of the baby beetroot with a couple of tablespoons of the verjus (make sure you try a bit of this puree, it’s so good!) and roughly chop the other two.

Use a pan with a lid.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan over a medium heat, then add the shallots and cook until nicely softened.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.

Add the purΓ©ed beetroot, chopped beetroot, preserved lemons, dill and verjus, and any beetroot juice, and cook until the beetroot is nicely warm.

Add the sabja seeds, stir it all well, and continue to cook over the heat for a few minutes. Turn of the heat, put the lid over the pan and leave it for a few minutes before serving, this allows the seeds to really plump up.

Stir well before serving.



Serve with a sprinkle of finely grated cheese, or stir through some soft goats cheese and sprinkle with crushed roasted hazelnuts.

This is a light version of a risotto idea, I found it sufficiently filling and interesting to eat on its own. If you like a richer risotto, stir through some mascarpone, or cream, whatever is your choice; I also kept mine quite chunky, I like to be able to chew my food, but feel free to chop everything finer or purΓ©e all of the beetroots if you’d prefer a smoother version – but do try it as it is first and see what you think.


And there you go, something familiar, yet different, I hope you like it. Thank you for having me Suzanne xxx

65 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thank you for your lovely words, dear Suzanne xxx I’m so glad you like my creation πŸ˜€ Enjoy co hosting Fiesta Friday xx

    November 4, 2016
  2. Wow

    November 4, 2016
  3. Hi Elaine (and BOB) & Hi Suzanne xo

    November 4, 2016
  4. Huge fan of Elaine here! Her creativity with food is simply amazing! and look at what she did with this incredible ingredient! Gorgeous meal!

    November 4, 2016
    • Thank you lovely Sally xx the seeds are so interesting! And so gentle on your tummy, I really like them x

      November 4, 2016
  5. Liz Collet #

    Any recipe with beet roots could catch my eye due to my love to that refreshing and tasty food, which is a real multitalent for so many recipes. This recipe is extraordinary – and not only because I’d never had the idea to use basil seeds as spice! Great! kind regards, Liz
    NB: Found You via FiestaFriday and love to spend more time during the next days and upcoming posts πŸ™‚

    November 4, 2016
    • Hi Liz, thank you so much, I’m so glad you like my concoction πŸ™‚

      November 4, 2016
  6. hocuspocus13 #

    “Whole foods don’t have to be boring”

    Now that rings a bell for me

    In my neighborhood there a juice bar shop that also sells salads

    So a girlfriend of mine and I went in to try it out

    People were coming and going for their daily shot of wheat grass

    So we bought a salad each to go mine had a peanut butter dressing which I could not wait to try

    And 2 juice drinks also cucumber rolls

    Well we sat over my friends house eating this food for lunch

    Basically choking it down 😞

    Until I had enough and blurted out this stuff is terrible it tastes like cardboard

    So as I read these recipes here I came to learn that whole foods and healthy foods do not have to be boring and it has changed my mind on it all

    Learning of the good and healthy alternative of ingredients

    And by the way my friend and I tossed that food in the trash I wouldn’t even feed it to the birds and squirrels in fear of killing them

    And went down to our local diner for burgers fries and coffee πŸ˜‹

    November 4, 2016
    • I think the experience you’ve described is quite common and puts some people off ‘healthy’ food, so I’m so glad that we have been able to change your mind πŸ™‚ I’ve never had a wheat grass shot and I wouldn’t eat anything resembling cardboard!!!

      November 4, 2016
      • Ha, I went out for a salad the other day not feeling like making my own and after a few bites it went straight to the trash. There are ways to make healthful food delicious and I look to Elaine for great recipes to do just that!!

        November 5, 2016
      • Thank you xx
        You know, there’s a reason I make all my own meals…!

        November 5, 2016
  7. I have to see if our health food store has basil seeds. I love to try new recipes and cutting down on sugar is always good. You created a great healthy dish. Thanks Elaine !

    November 4, 2016
  8. Elaine is the queen of whole foods not being boring! Love this recipe πŸ™‚

    November 4, 2016
  9. How funny, when I say the title in Fiesta Friday I thought that sounds like something Elaine would make, and true enough! πŸ™‚ Looks great, how interesting those seeds are!

    November 4, 2016
    • Ha ha! Am I so easily recognisable by my cooking?! πŸ™‚
      I’m glad you like it x

      November 4, 2016
  10. Elaine is like a kitchen mad scientist. I just love the flavors and techniques that she puts together. I used to think being a vegetarian would be the hardest thing in the world when it came to food, but no longer.

    November 4, 2016
    • That’s so funny – mad scientist! I like it!
      Thank you πŸ˜€ Of course to me, being vegetarian is the easiest thing in the world, but then I’ve had years of practice πŸ˜‰

      November 5, 2016
  11. I had to chuckle, I saw beetroot and thought why is Suzanne saying beetroot, lol! Then I saw your name and was like “Ah, I see!” I love love love beets (as we say) and that looks like one amazing dish. I’m going to have to check out sabja seeds! And I say my name mentioned, too, :)!!


    November 4, 2016
    • Ha, yes for me they will always be beetsπŸ˜ƒ

      November 4, 2016
    • It didn’t even cross my mind! Did you think Suzanne had gone all Downton?? πŸ˜‰
      What do you think of the spicy tomato ‘jam’ idea, Mollie?

      November 5, 2016
      • As a matter of fact, I did! πŸ™‚ I think it’s a really cool idea – I guess the question is, did YOU like it?

        November 5, 2016
      • I did indeed!! In fact, I ate a bowl of just the sauce with the seeds topped with grated cheese as a meal πŸ™‚

        November 5, 2016
  12. Eha #

    This looks SO good! Having been born in N Europe methinks I had beetroot as my first solid food!! Everything contains beetroot there from soups to desserts πŸ™‚ ! Love it and like the sound of the recipe . . .now, off to find sabja seeds – have heard of them but never had them in the house

    November 4, 2016
    • Thank you Eha πŸ™‚ have fun playing with the seeds if you find them!

      November 6, 2016
  13. This is absolutely stunning Suzanne! It is such a honour co-hosting with with!

    November 4, 2016
  14. What a winner! I am intrigued with this recipe. I am often ambivalent about cooking with beets, not because of the taste, but because of the effort. I think this recipe has turned my head!

    November 4, 2016
  15. Dang Elaine, when you deliver, you deliver!! I’m with you on the chia seeds, lol! Great post and recipe.

    November 5, 2016
  16. This looks very delicious πŸ™‚

    November 5, 2016
  17. Gorgeous post, as always: Elaine and you are a most delicious pairing! Thank you for co-hosting FF Suzanne – have a great time!

    November 5, 2016
  18. Of course we all know Elaine by her wide variety of spices and vibrant colors in her cooking. Great post Elaine, and great going Suzanne, keep up the healthy choices, you’re an inspiration to us all. xoxo

    November 5, 2016
  19. I’ve never eaten verjus sabja seed — this looks tasty and a good way to venture into a new food item. Thanks.

    November 6, 2016
    • The verjus and the seeds are both great to play with, I use verjus a lot in salsas and dips too, it brings a lovely flavour to everything.
      Thank you for your kind comment πŸ™‚

      November 7, 2016
  20. petra08 #

    I bought a pack of basil seeds a while back but have no clue what to cook with them and here you are with a solution! And I love blogging collaborations, a truly inventive and delicious recipe! πŸ™‚

    November 6, 2016
    • Thank you Petra, I’m sure you’ll do something amazing with them! X

      November 7, 2016
      • petra08 #

        hi Elaine
        You got me thinking! Blog to follow πŸ™‚

        November 7, 2016
      • Exciting!

        November 8, 2016
  21. Hi Elaine (and Suzanne!0 — I agree Suzanne is ” a lovely friend in the blog world!” and thanks for this bright colorful dish. xo

    November 6, 2016
  22. Elaine is an amazing person and chef!

    November 7, 2016
  23. Elaine is a sweet heart and very inspiring 😍Love you Elaine!!
    This dish is so pretty and full of flavors! When I saw it on Instagram, I couldn’t take my eyes off it!! I bet it tasted amazing!!

    November 7, 2016
  24. I love Elaine’s creativity. This looks delicious!

    November 8, 2016
  25. deliciouslynell #

    Yum! What a great guest post!

    November 8, 2016
  26. Very vibrant with an amazing combination of flavours. This is am amazing guest post for Suzanne. Thanks for this share Elaine:)

    November 10, 2016
  27. I love the thoughtful way that you created this recipe, the texture and taste must be wonderful.

    November 10, 2016
  28. A wonderful guest post from our good friend, Elaine! This recipe & all of the other works! xxx

    November 17, 2016

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