Rosemary roasted beetroot and butternut


Butternut1Title It’s been a while since I participated in Weekend Herb Blogging, the perenially popular event created by the lovely Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.  Not because I don’t cook vegetables, you understand, but because I always think ‘oh, I’ll post on Sunday because that’s the deadline’ and before you know it, it’s midnight on Sunday nightand you just want to go to bed :(

But it’s a good thing I had a look at her site this week because it seems there are some rule updates for WHB in the pipeline.  As of next week, requirements are being tightened up a bit and entries will have to feature either: a) principally a herb; or b) an unusual vegetable.  I agree with Kalyn that this will help to make the event more focused (rather than having entries that have only a nodding acquaintance to herbs!) in an ever-increasing pool of food blog events.  Go and read for yourself and remembrr that the new requirements take effect next Sunday!

Not sure that today’s post would make the cut for next week, so I’m sneaking it in now.  However, this is an unusual dish for me because it’s the only way that I like eating beetroot 😉  Yes folks, mostly I find beetroot to be Satan’s Own Vegetable.  I blame a childhood littered with sliced beetroot salads.  They were always too vinegary and the texture of beetroot has never appealed to me one little bit.  And then there was that bloody juice.  You only had to look at it and it would stain some item of your clothing.  Aaaarrrgh!

But I always felt vaguely guilty about not eating beetroot because it’s so good for you.  Beta vulgaris has been eaten and cultivated by man for centuries and is high in fibre, carotenoids and flavonoids and low in calories, as well as being low GL.  It’s also a good source of Vitamin C.  For the trivia buffs out there:

  • the Romans used beetroot to treat constipation;
  • the colour of red beetroot is due to betacyanin pigments, unlike most other red plants, such as red cabbage, which contain anthocyanin pigments; and
  • red beetroot can affect the colour of urine and faeces of people who have an inability to break the pigments down.

Butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata),is rich in Vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fibre.  And as for rosemary, many supersititions surround it power.  Some believed it would only grow in the gardens of the righteous; that a sprig placed under the pillow would repel evil spirits or bad dreams; or that rosemary laid on the bedlinens would ensure faithfulness. 

I discovered the concept of roasted beetroot paired with butternut squash from my sister-in-law and was astonished to find that I actually like beetroot when it’s roasted like this.  It brings out a sweeteness that just about conteracts the overt earthiness that I’m not so partial to.  You can use scrubbed raw beetroot or (as I usually do) buy cooked beetroot  – just make sure it isn’t preserved in vinegar as this overpowers the sweet flavours.

And if the trivia mentioned above is to be believed, making this easy dish will apparently ensure that you and your beloved remain flu-free, unconstipated and faithful 😉



1 small butternut (or half a large one)
4 small beetroot
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
Maldon salt flakes or fleur de sel to serve


Peel and dice the butternut.  If using raw beetroot, scrub and dice.  If using cooked beetroot, slice each beet into 6 wedges.

Place diced vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Pour olive oil over and toss to make sure all cubes are coated.  Sprinkle with the dried rosemary and place in a preheated oven at 200C for about 30 minutes, turning once.

When the edges of the cubes are beginning to brown and they yield when tested with a skewer or sharp knife, remove from the oven, sprinkle with Maldon salt flakes or fleur de sel and serve.

Whb_2_yrs_2The charming hostess for WHB this weekend is Simona from Briciole – do check her site for the roundup this week!

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  1. says

    “Satan’s Own Vegetable”: I love that! Haha. =D
    I’ve only started eating beets about 5 years ago or so, when I had to start wotking with it. We don’t really buy it for home use, though, as nobody here likes it… or so they think?

  2. says

    I think it sounds delicious. I love anything with butternut squash, so even the devil’s own vegetable could sneak by me if it was with a bunch of butternut. And actually this would probably be fine even for the new rules, because I’m sure the rosemary is pretty essential here, right?

  3. says

    If I have a bowl of cooked beetroot in the fridge, my little girl walks around with a permanent red ring around her mouth, she just love plain cooked beetroot. I however love roasted beetroot. Next time when you and Nick have a barbecue, take some beetroot, rub with olive oil and sea salt and cover in foil and toss in in the barbie – you’ll be amazed!!!!
    Great combo you have her, Jeanne!!

  4. Simona says

    I am madly in love with butternut squash and fortunately don’t have childhood memories of sliced beetroot salad, so I like that too. The combination sounds quite appealing. I will certainly make it, once the new crop of winter squash becomes available.

  5. says

    I have a similar aversion to beet root. The texture just doesn’t settle well with me. I may have to give this a shot though when butternut squash are back in season!

  6. says

    I, on the other hand, always had a horror of squash as a child, but amazingly, always loved beets! Now I adore both of them and this combination sounds terrific. A little autumnal for now (it’s disgracefully muggy right now so the idea of squash and beetroot is not so thrilling) but I’ll definitely keep this in mind for September and October when the squashes are appearing at the market.
    Have you tried putting sprigs of fresh rosemary in the oil when roasting things? It’s fantastic! You just have to watch that it doesn’t burn to a crisp. When we make your salad, that’s what we’re going to do….
    (We have a friend who drank gallons of beetjuice one day and after taking a “natural break”, as they say on Tour de France, he starting screaming that someone had to drive him to the hospital immediately because his pee was blood-red, errrmmm, beet-red… which is the colour of his face when it was explained to him that that’s what happened with beets)

  7. says

    I am smitten! By chance I just bought all these ingredients this weekend but hadn’t quite got as far as melding them together – this looks absolutely perfect! I never had beetroot as a child, so it is untainted for me!

  8. says

    TS – you’re laughing… but not disagreeing 😉 I suspect that this recipe may bring the non beet-eaters at home around too.
    Kalyn – beware of demons hiding behind butternuts 😉 I do think that the combo here that shifts the focus slightly away from the beet is part of the secret of success. And yes, it wouldn’t be the same without the rosemary…
    Courtney – it is rather pretty, isn’t it! As for butternut ideas – try soup or filling it with spinach and feta and roasting it?
    Pille – OK, truth be told, I have also had borscht and liked it… but don’t tell a soul!
    Jan – thanks! Looks like gemstones to me :)
    Nina – isn’t it funny how our tastes are already formed as kinds? I think the dislike for me is a textural thing (I tend to like crunch) and the fact that te earthy taste does not appeal. But I do believe I’ll give your braai-roasting a try. Everything is better roasted :)
    Simona – Hurrah – if you like both, then you’ll probably like this even more than me!
    Bee – Thanks :)
    Cookinpanda – I’m with you 100% on the texture. In fact most foods I don’t like comes down to textures… But I guarantee this is worth a try even for non-beet eaters!
    Elizabeth – LOL – we are polar opposites on the beet/squash thing! But I think this combo can win both sides over. And yes, mea culpa on the seasonal thing, but butternut is one thing I struggle to keep out of my kitchen all year round. I still like the flavour of ther South African ones best, despite the food miles.
    Lysy – What a fortunate coincidence! And you’ll be even more smitten once you taste it :)
    Olga – thanks :)