Precious prescription for a healthy heart

Beetroots help the body to produce nitric oxide, which plays a part in keeping blood vessels open and improving circulation. Together with cavolo nero, it’s a great combination. This Italian cousin of kale is loaded with nutrients, including an antioxidant called alpha lipoic acid, which can help control blood glucose levels.

Pomegranate and its distinctive ruby-red jewel-like seeds (arils) have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. They are a valuable source of polyphenols and anthocyanins, which help the body protect itself against cancer. One study indicated that half a glass of pomegranate juice daily over three months could improve blood flow to the heart and lower the risk of heart attack.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 small beetroots (golden and red)

A good handful of cavolo nero

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

2 green chillies, chopped

A small handful curry leaves

2 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp cinnamon

1 can coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

1 tsp coconut oil

1/2 cup of uncooked black rice, soaked for 30 minutes

Garnish

Seeds of half a pomegranate

50g flaked almonds – toasted

Preparation:

  • Begin by steaming or boiling the scrubbed beetroots until tender. This should take around 30 minutes but may vary. Once cooled, remove the skin – it will peel off very easily – and set the beetroots to one side.
  • Meanwhile, rinse the black rice, the water will have turned a dark purple colour, due to the strong antioxidant rich pigments. Throw these into a pan on medium heat with double the amount of water. The rice will take around 30 minutes to cook. Keep checking, until the grains are soft and fairly sticky.
  • Once the rice is underway, place a large pot on medium heat on the stove and finely chop the onion.
  • Drop the coconut oil into the pan, and once melted, add your chopped onion and let it soften for a few minutes, before adding the garlic, chopped or squeezed through a garlic press, and the chillies.
  • Immediately add the spices and stir for a minute to allow all the flavours to blend together on the heat.
  • Pour in the coconut milk and add the curry leaves.
  • While it heats up, slice the beetroot into quarters (or eighths if these are still a bit thick for a mouthful) and add to the coconut milk mix.
  • Leave to cook for another 5 minutes, as the coconut milk turns a beautiful pink and serve with the black rice.
  • Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and toasted almonds.
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