Hope you’re doing well! If you like your sauces, this is just for you.
You may be pleasantly surprised by the reaction to the purple sauce; roasting the beetroot intensifies its sweetness and makes it far more acceptable to avowed beetroot haters. There was a surprise conversion at my table anyway!
Cherry tomatoes, baby beets and small spinach leaves, which are all easily available in June – both in the supermarkets or in farmers’ or street markets – have a more concentrated flavour than their full-grown counterparts, so they make the best summer sauces for spaghetti. If you serve the sauces on the side (either in little pots or one one side of the plate) diners can choose whether they want to mix the sauces or eat them separately.
The beetroot sauce here was inspired by the soup Borscht, which originated in the Ukraine as you know but is popular in many other Eastern European countries. This sweet vegetable is combined with a sour liquid, which is tastebud-tingling stuff; the same principle works by combining the tomato with lime-infused coconut milk. A contrasting flavour and colour was then needed to balance the meal; the earthy/creamy spinach sauce did it to perfection.
For the Roasted Beetroot Sauce
8 baby beetroots
2 tbs olive oil
pinch of salt
a few grindings of black pepper
half of 500ml pot of vegan yoghurt
For the Cherry Tomato and Coconut Lime Sauce
500g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 tbs olive oil
1 tin of coconut milk
For the Creamy Spinach Sauce
one carton of soya or oat cream
1 200g pack washed organic young spinach
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Put the baby beetroots in a shallow baking dish, pour on the oil, then shake the pan with gusto to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In another pan, lightly fry the garlic until translucent, very gently. Set aside. Bake the beetroots for about 30-40 minutes, checking after 30 to see if they are tender. About 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, transfer the tomatoes to an overproof dish with the garlic and oil, shake, then pop in the oven.
- While the beetroots and tomatoes are in the oven, after about twenty minutes put a large pan of water on to boil for the spaghetti.
- Tip a tin of coconut milk into the food processor, add the juice of a lime and a little salt, then process with the roasted tomatoes until you have a pretty coral colour. Set aside and wash the bowl of the food processor in readiness for the beetroots.
- With a tiny amount of water, cook the spinach with the garlic until wilted. Turn off the heat and beat in the soya or oat cream.
- When the water comes to the boil, put in the spaghetti and cook for about 11 minutes.
- In the meantime, process the roasted beetroot with the vegan yoghurt. (A little juggling is needed if the spaghetti water is ready too much in advance of the beetroot or vice versa. If the beetroot is ready first, keep the veg in the oven but turn it off and cover the baby beetroot with foil. If the water is ready too soon, turn off the heat, cover the pan, then reheat the water when needed).
- Reheat the sauces (very gently to prevent curdling) about 3 minutes before the end of the spaghetti’s cooking time.
- Drain the spaghetti thoroughly and serve the sauces alongside, either collectively or individually, depending on how much you or whoever is doing the washing up is prepared to deal with!
This will cost about £6.83, based on an ASDA/Aldi shop, but you will have yoghurt and garlic left.