Spiced beetroot & feta tarts with tahini-dressed leaves

Spiced beetroot & feta tarts with tahini-dressed leaves

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Prep: 35 mins Cook: 2 hrs, 30 mins

More effort

Serves 4
Turn root vegetables and puff pastry into a stunning vegetarian starter or main with coriander, cumin and harissa

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal789
  • fat50g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs63g
  • sugars28g
  • fibre10g
  • protein19g
  • salt2g
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  • 6 beetroots (about 750g), roughly the same size, scrubbed and trimmed but not peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
    Coriander seed

    Coriander seed

    kor-ee-and-er seed

    The small, creamy brown seeds of the coriander plant give dishes a warm, aromatic and slightly…

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 320g pack rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp harissa



    This hot, aromatic paste made from chilli and assorted spices and herbs is spicy and…

  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ x 200g block vegetarian feta, crumbled



    A creamy soft white cheese with an ancient history - nomadic tribes who needed to preserve the…

For the dressed leaves

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini



    Also known as tahina, this finely ground paste of husked and roasted sesame seeds is an…

  • juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 3 red chicory, sliced



    Also known as endive, chicory is a forced crop, grown in complete darkness, which accounts for…

  • 100g bag watercress



    With deep green leaves, and crisp, paler stems, watercress is related to mustard and is one of…


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Rub the beetroots and garlic cloves with 2 tsp olive oil. Wrap in a double layer of foil, adding 5 tbsp water into the package. Place in an ovenproof dish and bake for 2 hrs or until tender. Test them by inserting a small sharp knife. When the beetroot is cool enough to handle, gently rub off the skins. Set aside, saving the garlic cloves.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan. Toast the coriander seeds for a few mins until aromatic, then grind using a pestle and mortar. Toast the cumin seeds, leave them whole and mix in with the coriander.

  3. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add the onions, toasted spices and some seasoning. Cook very gently for 30 mins or until the onions are soft and golden.

  4. Unroll the pastry and cut out 4 large circles using a 12cm cookie cutter (or use a small sharp knife to score round a bowl or plate). Place the pastry circles on a baking- parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently score a 1cm border around each and prick the centre area with a fork. Bake in the oven for 10-15 mins. Meanwhile, mix the harissa, vinegar and remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a small bowl. Thinly slice the beetroot. Remove the pastry bases from the oven and carefully press down the middle areas with the back of a spoon to flatten.

  5. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and stir into the onions. Spread this mixture evenly into the tarts, then layer on the beetroot slices in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping them. Brush the harissa mix onto the beetroot, then brush the egg on the border and sprinkle with the nigella seeds. Bake in the oven for a further 12-15 mins until the pastry is cooked and golden.

  6. To make the salad, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, honey, seasoning and 1 tbsp water. Toss the chicory and watercress in the dressing. Remove the tart from the oven, scatter over the feta and serve alongside the leaves.

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Comments, questions and tips

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1st Jan, 2016
Made this as starter for NYE and it was well liked by seasoned vegetarian guests. The flavour combinations are really superb. My variations: I tried two types of pastry. The shortcrust pastry version suited my palate better than flakey one. I used vacuum packed beets and slashed the prep time! The recipe suggests far too much onion mix. This quantity did for both types of pastry, 8 tarts in all, with quite a thick layer of spicy onion paste in each. I used a tartlet tin for ease of assembly. Lovely recipe. Will do again. Thanks.
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