This beet, basil, and olive oil bread rolls recipe is one of the best ways to use beets! Plus, they make healthy and tasty sandwiches!
The first time I made these beet and olive oil bread rolls (or mini bread loaves if you like) was for New Years Eve dinner. In fact, I thought that having some color on the table would enhance the festive spirit, so I went all the way and made three different types of dinner rolls, each with a different color. Using the recipe for this carob and whole wheat flour bread with walnuts I made a few black ones and at the same time I also made these moist and fluffy pumpkin dinner rolls with a nice yellow color. Lastly, I made some rolls with beet puree, thyme, olive oil and feta cheese. Feta adds a nice contrast to the sweetness of the beets, but I omitted it here because I wanted to make these mini loaves vegan and suitable for Lent (since now is a period when many people in Greece refrain from eating meat and dairy due to “Sarakosti”, a 40-day Lent before the Greek Easter). With the feta missing from the recipe I decided to add some basil, something that proved to be a very tasty addition! 🙂
And for all of you who don't like beets: The dough for these loaves may have one cup of pureed beets but they don't taste like it. They're delicious, promise!
While my mixer worked the dough, you could definitely smell the intense aroma of the basil. But at that moment, the smell seemed so strong that I instantly started having second thoughts and regretting the use of basil in these loaves. “I should’ve used parsley! I should’ve used tarragon!” I was continually saying to myself while my trusty mixer did its work. Since there was nothing I could do at that moment, I continued as usual and to my surprise, after the loaves were baked, they tasted amazing! They almost smelled like a traditional Italian pizza!
I always keep some roasted beets in my freezer. Every time I want to make these rolls or some feta and beet mini tarts with feta and easy olive oil crust, I defrost the quantity I want and use it in my recipe.
How to roast whole beets: Drizzle some olive oil over the beets and wrap each beet individually with foil. Bake in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 1 hour. To save time and money, you can bake them while you’re baking a cake or something else. Let the beets cool inside the foil, peel the skin (wearing gloves, as they can stain your hands), and store in the freezer inside sealed food bags.
- If you don’t have a mini loaf pan, make 12 buns or one large loaf (you’ll have to increase the baking time by 20-25 minutes for the large loaf)
- If you don’t have any pine nuts leave the loaves plain, or use any other nuts you like
- Whenever you want something to stick on your dough, brush its surface with some syrup. My mom uses this trick every time she makes these traditional Cretan sesame and olive oil cookies that happen to be naturally vegan 🙂
- If you don’t want this recipe to be vegan, roll the dough into a thick sheet and crumble some feta over it. Roll it and knead gently to mix the feta with the dough, then cut pieces and form small balls or loaves.
- Substitute parsley, oregano or tarragon for the basil if you don’t like its taste or can’t find any.
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Beet, basil, and olive oil mini bread loaves
- 1 cup (250 grams) roasted beets, chopped
- ½ cup (125 grams) water
- 3 tablespoons (35 grams) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) vinegar (wine or apple cider)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon basil leaves
- 250 grams whole wheat flour
- 250 grams bread flour, plus 1-2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon (about 10 grams) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons pine nuts
- Transfer the beets, the water, the olive oil, the vinegar, the salt, the black pepper, the thyme, the onion flakes, and the basil leaves to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Transfer the flours and the active dry yeast to the bowl of your stand mixer and mix with a fork to combine (if you don’t have a stand mixer you can knead the dough by hand).Add the liquid from the blender to the bowl and knead with the hook attachment until you have an elastic and pliable dough. You may have to add some extra flour if the dough is too sticky.
- Cover the dough with a clean towel and let it rest (in a warm place) until doubled in volume.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly oil your baking pan and line it with baking paper.
- Transfer the dough to your working surface, oil your hands and knead for 1 minute to deflate. Then divide into 12 equal pieces, shape the loaves and transfer them to the pan (I baked the nine in the mini loaf pan and made the other three into balls).
- Mix the hot water with the sugar and brush the surface of the loaves. Sprinkle over some pine nuts and press them tightly to stick.Let them in a warm place to rest and almost double in volume.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let them on a rack to cool. Eat!
If you don’t have a mini loaf pan you can make them round like regular dinner rolls.
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