Spiced beetroot & feta tarts with tahini-dressed leaves

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

  • Prep:35 mins
    Cook:2 hrs 30 mins
  • Serves 4
  • More effort

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 789
  • fat 50g
  • saturates 16g
  • carbs 63g
  • sugars 28g
  • fibre 10g
  • protein 19g
  • salt 2g


  • 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
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5 onions, peeled, halved and finely sliced
  • 320g pack rolled all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ x 200g block vegetarian feta, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • juice 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 3 red chicory, sliced
  • 100g bag watercress


  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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