After seeing a fabulous recipe in Olive Magazine for Tofu Steak with Beetroot Noodles and Dukkah, I wanted to find out more about this purple root vegetable. Apart from making your cooking utensils and fingers go a beautiful shade of purple, Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular health” friendly. Certain unique pigment antioxidants in the root as well as in its top-greens have been found to offer protection against coronary artery disease and stroke, lower cholesterol levels within the body, and have anti-aging effects.
- Beetroot is very low in calories (provide only 45 kcal/100 g), and contain zero cholesterol and a small amount of fat.
- They have long been used for medicinal purposes, primarily for disorders of the liver, given their stimulating effects on the liver's detoxification processes.
- The root is a rich source of phytochemical compound, glycine betaine. Betaine has the property of lowering homocysteine levels within the blood. High levels of homocysteine in the blood result in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke and peripheral vascular diseases.
- They are an excellent source of folates. However, extensive cooking may significantly deplete its level in food so eating it raw will provide the maximum quantity of this nutrient. Folates are necessary for DNA synthesis within the cells.
- The greens are excellent sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, which helps the human body scavenge free radicals one of the reasons for cancer development.
- The pigment that gives them their rich, purple-crimson colour, betacyanin, is a powerful cancer-fighting agent.
- Its top greens are an excellent source of carotenoids, flavonoid anti-oxidants, and vitamin A. Vitamin A is required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- The root is also rich source of B-complex vitamins, especially B6 and minerals such as iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
Beetroot is currently in season, so make the most of this wonderful colourful vegetable and it's valuable nutrients.
Recipe - Tofu Steak with Beetroot Noodles and Dukkah
Firm tofu – 150g piece
Beetroot – 1 large or 2 small peeled
Flat-leaf parsley, chives and mint finely chopped to make 1 tbsp each
Clementine – 1, zested and juiced
Green Salad to serve
Blanched hazelnuts chopped to make 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Black peppercorns ½ tsp
Fennel seeds ¼ tsp
Dried mint ¼ tsp
1. Season the tofu with salt, press between pieces of kitchen paper, and put a heavy chopping board on top to draw some of the water out. To make the dukkah, toast the nuts and spices (except the mint) in a dry frying pan for a few minutes until fragrant. Roughly blitz until coarsely ground in a spice grinder or with a pestle and mortar. Mix in the dried mint and a pinch of sea salt.
2. Spiralise the beetroot or use a julienne peeler to make ‘noodles’. Heat the grill to high. Brush 1 tsp oil over the tofu and grill for a few minutes on both sides, until it has a golden crust. Scatter over 2 tsp of the dukkah and grill again for a few minutes.
3. Mix the herbs, clementine zest and juice, a pinch more dukkah and toss with the beetroot noodles. Serve with a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and top with the tofu steak.
(Recipe and Picture: Olive Magazine, December 2016)