Beetroot & halloumi keftedes with beetroot tahini sauce

Beetroot & halloumi keftedes with beetroot tahini sauce

These delicious Greek inspired patties are aromatic with oregano, mint, lemon and cinnamon and come served with a pink sauce that will brighten anyone’s day.  Enjoy them hot, straight from the pan or at room temperature, al fresco, on a picnic.  I love the texture of the small pieces of halloumi that caramelise in the pan, but if you prefer, you can grate the halloumi which makes forming patties a little easier.

If you can’t buy fresh oregano, then feel free to use about half the quantity of dried.

Serves 2 (makes 8-9 patties)

  • 250g grated raw beetroot (use the medium side of a box grater)
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (about 2 tbsp)
  • 100g halloumi, cut into a small dice (or grated if you prefer)
  • 50g breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon (use the juice in the tahini sauce)
  • Sunflower oil

Tahini sauce

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 75g plain yoghurt
  • 25g tahini
  • Beetroot juice
  • Salt

Add grated beetroot into a sieve over a large bowl.  Using the back of a ladle, squeeze the excess juice from the beetroot so it collects in the bowl below.  You should get about 50g of beetroot juice, leaving you with 200g of grated beetroot.  Extracting moisture from the beetroot will prevent the mixture from becoming too sloppy.   Reserve the extracted juice for the tahini sauce.

Next simply mix the rest of the keftedes ingredients together.  You will end up with quite a wet mixture but it should come together if you squeeze it gently in your hands.  If the mix feels far too wet, then add some more breadcrumbs to the mixture (you can always trial fry a single patty for texture and seasoning and a little snack, of course).  Using your hands, form 8-9 patties of about 50g each.

Heat 5mm depth of sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the patties, on each side, for about 2.5-3 minutes until golden.  Take care when you turn them over for the first time as they will be slightly fragile.  Push them down ever so slightly on the second side to flatten a little.

To make the sauce, simply mix the beetroot juice with the tahini and a good pinch of salt.  Use lemon juice to loosen the mixture and also for acidity – you may not need all of it.  Serve the patties sprinkled with fresh herbs alongside toasted pitta breads and a salad.

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