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…
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!
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, purée 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 puréed 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 purée 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