05 January 2012

Beetroot Salad with Pistachio Sauce

The holidays have been a whirlwind of BBQs, dinners and and of course Hogmanay.  With my parents arriving from Scotland and very good friends flying in from the UK and Perth and long over catch ups with dear friends here in New Zealand the holidays have been just as they should, spending time with friends and family over good food and the odd vino, well actually a fair amount of vino.

Salad inspiration was required for all the BBQs and this one comes from Moro East, it has been on the "must have" list ever since I became hooked on Moro The Cookbook; think Spain, North Africa and Middle Eastern Mediterranean.  Wonderful tapas and mezze with tortillas, chorizo, tahini, babaghanoush, tabbouleh* all enlivened with the addition of exotic herbs and spices.  What I really love is that side dishes and vegetables do not take a back seat, they are right up there centre stage.

Moro East had been beckoning for quite some time from the shelves at Cook the Books and pre Christmas I treated myself. In Moro East inspiration comes from the Manor Garden allotment in East London that grows an amazing array of ingredients; the middle Eastern Mediterranean alive and kicking in an East London suburb. Moro East follows a year in the life of the allotment. (Sadly, this century old allotment was bulldozed in 2007 to make way for a hockey stadium for the 2012 Olympics in London !!?*!)**

Being centred around the allotment it is again the vegetables that get a chance to shine and the first one to catch my eye was the beetroot salad with pistachio sauce. So pretty, the green of the pistachios against the crimson hued beetroot and fleck with fresh green parsley.

*My favourite tabbouleh, nothing like the "parsley" you are likely to get down at your local kebab shop!

**Manor Garden Allotments were established in 1900 by Arthur Villiers who left them in perpetuity to East End families.  81 plots were tended by born and bred East Enders along with people from Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Italy and the West Indies from children to those in their '80s.  Regular staples along with wild plums, figs, a multitude of herbs and other exotic veg flourished.  The allotments fed 150 families over summer and were home to butterflies, bees, all manner of birds including pheasants and kestrels, plus weasels and voles.  Sadly all this was lost and concreted over for a hockey stadium for the the four weeks of the Olympic games...unbelievable!

Beetroot Salad with Pistachio Sauce, from Moro East by Sam and Sam Clarke

Serves 4


500g (1lb) raw young beetroot, peeled and very thinly sliced or grated.  I not so young and juicy beetroot just boil for 10 minutes or so until they are tender before thinly slicing.
Small handful flat leaf parsley, leaves only

2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Pistachio Sauce
100g unsalted pistachios, shelled
4 tbsp flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp caster sugar
7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp orange blossom water, optional*
Salt and pepper

*However, would highly recommend the addition of the orange blossom water as it really is what adds that exotic floral note.  No more though, this stuff is potent and and you don't want to feel like you are glugging back a bottle of perfume! Less is most definitely more in this case.


Arrange the beetroot on a platter and set aside while you make the pistachio sauce. For the pistachio sauce place the pistachios and all the other ingredients in a food processor and pulse to a coarse paste.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Drizzle the beetroot with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Spoon over the pistachio sauce  and scatter over a the flat leaf parsley leaves.  It can be served immediately but I like to leave it for half an hour or so as the flavours really develop in the pistachio sauce.

Pretty as a picture, sweet,earthy beetroot and a little nutty crunch from the pistachios and coming through the fragrant orange blossom and a freshness has made this a regular participant in all the summer BBQs.

If you like this you might like this Beetroot, Orange and Black Olive Salad
One Year Ago Happy New Year Crusty Flatbread



  1. Yes, I do think the Moro books will be on my ordering list this year... I've been drooling over them for so long! This looks great. Glad to hear you've been having lovely holidays with friends and family :)

  2. Looks great Mairi, love the vibrant colour and sauce, definitely my kind of flavours.

  3. Ciao Mairi, I'll give you a +1 here for the colourful pictures, and for the salad because when I go to BBQs the only things I can eat are salads (unless they allow the vegetarians to put their stuff on the barbie first) and to find good salad is such a life saver :-).

    I hope that your family and friends will enjoy their time in NZ


  4. A very pretty looking salad. I've never tried the pistachio and beetroot combination.
    Wish you a blissful year Mairi !

  5. Sounds like a fantastic holiday! I like what you wrote regarding the vegetables and side dishes taking centre stage - so true. Though I enjoy meat, it really is over-glorified sometimes.

    Love the pretty colours and shades of this salad... and the recipe sounds amazing!

  6. Beautiful! I've picked that book up a few times in shops and have been thinking about it too.... this salad looks amazing! I love pistachios and beetroot but never put them together before :)

  7. @milliemirepoixGreat holidays in spite of the rain! And yes the Moro books are fantastic :)

  8. @peasepuddingThanks Alli the sauce was especially good, that little splash of orange blossom water really makes all the difference.

  9. @Alessandra Ciao Alessandra....with lots of vegetarian friends always lots & lots of salads :) Hoping you are enjoying all your travels :)

  10. @Vanille Thanks Vanille, hoping you are enjoying the holidays.

  11. @Mel Thanks Mel, then you would love the Moro Cookbooks...amazing salads and veg not to mention so many soups I want to try.

  12. @timeforalittlesomething.com Thanks Jemma, they are a couple of my favourite cookbooks & I go back to them again & again so I really do recommend them :)

  13. What a wonderful pairing of flavors! Love the vibrant colors in your photos, too.

  14. Yum this sounds good - can't wait for my beetroot to grow a bit more. I love the natural way that Moro recipes flow from the ingredients with flavours perfectly matched. Made me made to think about the allotments in London. I was born in Hackney so know what a difference such an amenity would make. Glad you've have a wonderful time en famille.

  15. I have beetroot in my garden almost ready - as soon as I harvest, I will be trying this - looks absolutely beautiful xo


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