I always need to have beets in stock. I don’t know if this mindset came about after the lockdown or what, but I feel reassured knowing that I have a few kilos of them in the fridge. This sentiment doesn’t apply to carrots and potatoes which, realistically speaking are more versatile ‘basic’ vegetables. It’s reserved only for my stash of beets.
Roasting is my preferred method of cooking them, and I always make sure to roast more than I would immediately need. Soups, salads, pastas, drinks and sides (so good tossed with balsamic, salt and pepper) become a real cinch when I already have some ready-roasted in the fridge. Aside from the obvious convenience of bulk prepping, the real reason I roast at least a few together is because it feels like a real waste of effort and energy—both on the electricity consumption front as well as with my own energy—to wrap one dinky beet in foil and roast it for 50 minutes. If you really wanted to, you could do them in massive batches and freeze them in individual portions. Okay, I realize I’m getting a bit carried away now.
As much as I’m open to trying vegan alternatives for traditionally non-vegan foods, I’ll be honest, I’m always quite skeptical. So when I came across this recipe for cashew sour cream I wasn’t sure I wanted to try it. And at the back of having made a good batch of regular (dairy) sour cream at home, I really didn’t have to go down the vegan path for this. But in my quest to add more nuts to my diet it seemed like a small enough risk and with minimal effort at that; if I didn’t like it, I’d just use my good ol’ sour cream.
Let me just cut to the chase and say this – it was well worth it. The cashews don’t overpower (which was my primary concern), and soaking them overnight makes them really soft and creamy. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice give the sour cream acidity and savouriness, and also help loosen it to the right consistency. Soaking anything in my head always sounds like a bit of fluff but don’t skip this step. I made a batch soaking them for 2 hours and 8 hours (overnight, basically). The 2-hour batch was just at the cusp of being grainy, so I would definitely not go lower than that.
ROASTED BEETS & PUMPKIN WITH CASHEW SOUR CREAM
- 2 medium beets
- 2 cups cubed pumpkin
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Cashew sour cream:
- ¼ cup cashews
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons water (use as needed)
- Salt, to taste
- Cashew cream: soak the cashews in a bowl of water for at least 2 hours (or up to 8 hours). Rinse and discard the water.
- Add the cashews to a blender jar with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt. Blend to a smooth paste thinning with water as required. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate until required.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- Quarter each beet and wrap them all together in one piece of foil. Add the pumpkin to a baking tray and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the beets and pumpkin together for 45-50 mins.
- Check the beets. If a knife inserted doesn't go through without resistance they might need a bit longer. You want them soft and yielding.
- Chop the beets into bite-sized pieces. Add to your serving plate along with the pumpkin. Dollop over the cashew sour cream just before serving. I like to sprinkle some pepper over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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