Karma Sutra beet, pomegranate & rosewater salad

O pure Earth, may that we utilise your soil well without causing you injury or harm and disturbing any vital element in you – Atharva Veda, Prithivi Sukta

Cookery writer Jane Grigson once referred to beets as a “bossy” vegetable, due to their powerful colour, which may permeate all corners of the kitchen.  Yet it’s not just the colour that holds power, their healing properties are mighty and when combined with culinary flair, and may provide superbly warming menu ideas.

Beets have strong detoxifying properties, as they are high in chlorine, which assists in the cleansing of the liver, kidneys and bloodstream. They are also rich in potassium, which balances the metabolism. The mighty beets nourish the blood, tonify the heart, calm the spirit and nervousness, and they lubricate the intestines and cleanse the liver! Oh my giddy Aunt!

Any good food will float your lover’s boat, of course, but it’s all about red for romance on Valentines Day. Beets are native to the Mediterranean, however the tinned variety will always be remembered when in white bread sandwiches, salad rolls and on hamburgers across Australia.

These root vegetables are best dry roasted with skins on to preserve their wonderful soft texture, rich flavour and prevent the colour from bleeding. Simply scrub them prior to baking with a vegetable brush, being careful not to break or prick the skin, and cook in a moderate oven around 180 C until they are tender for about 1 hour. Trim the stalks and roots, carefully peel and slice as required.


The energetics of beets

Beets are cooling, alkalising and expansive and naturally sweet. Vitamins include B1,2,3,6, C, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc. Not to be used in patients with kidney stones due to the high oxalic acid content which can inhibit calcium metabolism.

Therapeutic applications include:

  • Treatment of anaemia (because they tonify the blood)
  • Heart weakness, irritability, and liver intoxication.
  • Use with carrots for hormone regulation during menopause.
  • Liver cleansing – Simmer beet tops drink tea and/or combine with dandelion (below)
  • Constipation – beet and cabbage soup
  • Blood deficiency – cook beets with black beans and peanuts
  • Herpes – three-day vegetable fast and beet top tea (below)

Karma Sutra beet, pomegranate & rosewater salad 

*This uplifting recipe is inspired by a Middle Eastern version from Dani Valent‘s Thermomix book In the Mix which is available from TM resellers. I have modified the recipe slightly over the years to suit the natural wholefoods philosophy of my kitchen.



Pomegranates are recommended in the Karma Sutra as an erotic aid because they improve blood circulation and they are full of vitamin C rich antioxidants and decrease inflammation. Cleopatra reportedly bathed in milk and pomegranates!

Recent research at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh investigated the effect pomegranate juice had on testosterone, blood pressure and mood and found that that testosterone on average increased by 24%, blood pressure (both systolic & diastolic) decreased and noticeable mood improvements in both sexes were noted. Source

Karma Sutra beet, pomegranate & rosewater salad  – Serves 8

3 large raw beetroot, peeled, finely chopped in a food processor or grated
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon rosewater
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon dill, chopped
1 tablespoon activated or roasted pepitas
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste

  • Place all the ingredients, except pepitas and pomegranate seeds, into a large bowl.
  • Mix well ensuring every corner of beets are coated.
  • Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer to a serving platter.
  • Scatter over the pepitas and pomegranate seeds.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
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Sammy’s Beet top tea

    • Blanch the washed leaves and stems for 5 minutes in boiling water.
    • Strain and consume as a restoring tea.
    • Flavour with freshly grated ginger.

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