Beetroot Salad with Pistachio Sauce

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


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