As the days get colder and shorter I love cooking recipes that are bright and beautifully coloured as a way to fend off the winter blues. Beetroot and Feta Pasta is so brilliantly colourful and bursting with flavour, it’s the perfect meal for this time of year. Sweet, earthy beetroot is boosted with zingy lemon, salty feta cheese and fresh herbs in this simple, but delicious vegetarian pasta.
Beetroot as a pasta sauce? Really?
Yes, really! This pasta flavour combo has been floating around for a few years and let me tell you, beetroot pasta sauce is so good! It’s also incredibly quick to make – the whole recipe comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook. Did I mention it is stunning to look at too?
So how does it work?
Simple. You cook some pasta (spaghetti or linguine is best, though it will work with all types) until it is just al dente. Toss it with onion, garlic and beetroot along with the magic ingredient, the starchy pasta cooking water which makes it all come together, and you’re basically done. Loaded up with lemon, lots of fresh herbs and topped with toasted nuts, Beetroot and Feta Pasta is incredibly satisfying.
What sort of beetroot do I need to make this pasta?
This is where this recipe is super quick and an excellent cupboard standby. I like to use vacuum-sealed beetroot, readily available in many supermarkets. They keep for ages in the fridge and mean this dish comes together in minutes. If you happen to have some lovely fresh beetroot you can go ahead and boil that up instead.
What should I serve with Beetroot and Feta Pasta?
Beetroot and Feta Pasta is really an all-in-one meal. If you fancy, you could serve it with a simple salad of rocket/arugula, thinly sliced pear, Parmesan cheese and a balsamic dressing. Yum!
Bonus points: Beetroot is so good for you!
Not only are they beautiful, but beetroots are also full of natural goodness and an excellent source of potassium, iron and manganese. They’ve also got loads of folate which is great for the heart. As they provide the natural colour in this recipe the colour of the finished dish will vary depending on your exact beetroot. Don’t worry, it’s always delicious!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use canned or tinned beetroot to make Beetroot and Feta Pasta?
Canned or tinned beetroot is usually preserved in a lot of vinegar and sugar, which will change the flavour of the finished dish. It is technically possible, but you are better to use vacuum packed or freshly cooked beetroot instead.
I don’t drink alcohol, can I leave it out of this recipe?
Absolutely! Use two tablespoons of vinegar instead.
Can I make Beetroot and Feta pasta in advance?
This pasta is best fresh and is very quick to make. Of course, you can reheat it if you have leftovers or are taking it to work. If you are looking for a vegetarian meal to make in advance, give my friend Sabine’s Pumpkin Seed Lasagne a try.
My pasta came out lighter / darker than the one in the pictures – is that right?
Every time I make this pasta it comes out a different colour! That’s the beauty of using a natural food dye such as the one in beetroot. It can run the range from pale pink to dark magenta and everything in between. Don’t worry, it’s all delicious!
- 2 Tbsp pinenuts
- 50g walnuts, chopped
- 250g spaghetti or linguine pasta
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2 fat cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 250g cooked beetroot - approx 2 medium, diced (see note)
- 50ml white wine
- 100g feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
- small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- sea salt and black pepper
- TOAST THE NUTS: Toast the nuts in a small frying pan (without any oil) until lightly browned. Pour onto a plate and set aside.
- COOK THE PASTA: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, season generously with salt, then cook the pasta until just al dente. Reserve 125ml / ½ a cup of the cooking water, draining the rest.
- SAUTÉ THE ONION: While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Gently cook the onion for 3 minutes, until starting to soften, then add the garlic and oregano to the pan.
- MAKE THE SAUCE: Add the beetroot and white wine to the frying pan and stir to combine. Add the pasta and the reserved pasta water to the pan and toss until the pasta is well coated and any water has evaporated.
- SERVE: Divide the pasta between two warmed plates, top with feta, dill and parsley and squeeze over plenty of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
For best results, use pre-cooked, vacuum-sealed beetroot. If you have fresh beetroot it will need to be boiled and peeled before using. Tinned or canned beetroot is preserved with a lot of vinegar and sugar and is not entirely suitable for this recipe.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 820Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 567mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 8gSugar: 18gProtein: 25g
Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!