Fiery and fragrant Zhoug is a strong sparring partner for the beetroot’s sweet earthy flavour, especially when it tag-teams with feta, in this simple to create dish. Leaving the skins on means less hassle (and a reduced chance of staining your clothes) and along with crushing them, gives a varied crunchy texture.
Heat an oven to 170C. Wash the beetroots thoroughly, perhaps giving the base of the stalks a gentle scrub to remove any hidden grit. Toss the beetroots with 1tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then wrap up in a tightly sealed foil parcel. Place on a baking tray, put in the oven and roast for a minimum of 1 hour.
Place the pine nuts, pumpkin seeds and cumin seeds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5 -7 minutes, taking care not to burn the pine nuts, which can colour very quickly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Remove the beetroots from the oven and carefully open the foil, as steam will escape. Use a small sharp knife to pierce the flesh of the beetroot, if it reaches the centre with ease, they are ready. If not, re-wrap and keep roasting for another 20 minutes.
If ready, take a small bowl or pan and squash each beetroot so it flattens and fragments. Return to the oven and roast for a further 15 minutes, so that the skin and edges start to crisp up.
Combine the Zhoug with the remaining olive oil in a small bowl to make the dressing.
When ready to serve, place the beetroots on a dish (or divide if serving separately) and dress all over with the Zhoug. Crumble the feta over the top and then scatter the nuts and seeds.