Roasted Roots with Pistachio Butter

By Mieke
30/11/2023

One of the things I invested in after moving to France was a big fancy barbecue. Then, I scoured the cookbook section for great barbecue books and more so for great veggie barbecue recipes. One of the recipes that came up, and that is definitely a keeper, are these roasted roots with pistachio butter from Live Fire: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories by Helen Graves of Pit magazine fame.

Live Fire: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories

Why am I posting a barbecue recipe on the last day of November you might ask? One: you can barbecue all year round. What I loved about Live Fire, beyond it not being so highfalutin ‘barbecueing is hard and technical’, as a lot of barbecue books tend to be, is that its is divided into seasons. This way you’ll be able to enjoy your barbecue, and this book, all year round. Two: this recipe also work for the oven, and Helen indicates how and which recipes can be translated to indoors for ease of use.

Books - Helen Graves

Live Fire isn’t a veg-based barbecue book, I found most of those kind of lacking. It does however offer plenty of veg dishes and inspiration for the barbecue. Like these roasted roots with pistachio butter, but also (according to most) the best barbecue flat bread recipe, smoked tomato soup with smoked garlic toast, mushroom shawarma and charred purple sprouting broccoli with a spicy fish sauce and clementine caramel (hello?!!) to name but a few. Furthermore it features a bunch of interviews with various London-based chefs working with live fire, which gives you a nice broad scope of fire cooking across various cultures (as well as some tips on who to follow and where to eat should you ever make it out to London).

Of all the barbecue cookbooks I read in the past year, this and Chasing Smoke: Cooking over Fire Around The Levant, were by far my favorites both in terms of recipes and stories. I wish I’d have found a veg-based barbecue book to love, but sadly in my opinion, currently there isn’t a really good one out there. If you love to read more about fire cooking I also highly recommend getting yourself a few copies of aforementioned Pit magazine (my personal fave is the MiMi Aye-edited MSG special).

Roasted roots with pistachio butter

I decided to share this recipe for roasted roots with pistachio butter here because I just love pistachio and because I feel we can always use more recipes for sides. The butter is both super easy to make and easily applied to so many other situations (though I ate it all and wasn’t able to test that yet). The roots take pretty much no prep. It’s just a perfect easy yet impressive side.

As you may notice from the photograph, I did not end up using as many beets as mentioned in the recipe because they are out of season (learn something new), so all I found was one pre-smoked beet at the market. I did roast some fennel despite it not being part of the recipe because, though strictly not a root, I love fennel and I wanted to taste how it would go with the pistachio butter. Of course it was fire (sorry).

Roasted roots with pistachio butter

Dorothy Porker
A super simple barbecue or oven baked recipe for smokey roasted roots with pistachio butter, that will make an impressive side for winter.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Side dish, Sides
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 4

Equipment

  • barbecue you can also make this in the oven
  • coals if using the barbecue, I like coconut coals
  • oak or beech wood if using the barbecue, for smoking
  • Food processor one of those ones with a funnel that allows you to add things while it's still running

Ingredients
  

  • 3 medium carrots quartered lengthways
  • 2 medium parsnips peeled and quartered lengthways
  • 5 small beetroots peeled and cut into 3cm/ 1 1/4" wedges
  • neutral oil I use sunflower
  • 1/3 c - 150 g shelled unsalted pistachios about double if buying unshelled
  • 1/3 c cold water
  • 2 T lime juice about 2 limes worth
  • 2 T olive oil plus extra to serve
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Place the vegetables on a roasting tray and combine with a splash of neutral oil and some salt and mix together.

To cook on the barbecue

  • Prepare a barbecue for indirect cooking over medium heat, i.e. after the fire has died down and the coals have started to smoulder, move the coals over to one side of the barbecue.
  • Add a chunk of wood directly on top of the lit coals and wait for it to smoulder.
  • Place the tray of vegetables on the grill on the opposite side of the coals and wood. Open the vents by a quarter and cook for 1 hour, turning the tray around and mixing the vegetables once or twice during this time.

To cook indoors

  • Preheat the oven to 180° C - 350° F
  • Place the tray in the hot oven and cook for 1 hour, turning the tray halfway through, until the vegetables are tender.

To make the pistachio butter

  • Place 1/3 c - 150 g of shelled unsalted pistachios in a food processor and blend them as fine as possible. With the motor running, gradually add in the 1/3 c of cold water, 2 T of lime juice and a generous pinch of salt. Now, with the motor still running, gradually add 2 T of olive oil. Taste and add more lime juice or salt if you like.
  • Spread the pistachio butter on a large plate and top with the roasted vegetables, adding a final drizzle of olive oil and some nice crunchy salt.

Notes

  • Obviously, if making this in the oven rather than on the barbecue, you won't get the smokey flavor. 
  • I also added a quartered fennel, which was pretty delicious with the pistachio butter as well.
  • The pistachio butter keeps well for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Keyword barbecue, beetroot, root vegetables

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