It’s complicated

If you asked me about my relationship with carbs, like most people, I’d have to say: it’s complicated.  Potatoes and pasta are the pariahs of the modern age – and let’s not even go there with bread. I sometimes feel guilty if I eat carbs, which is clearly RIDICULOUS, but I’ve been brainwashed by Atkins, Paleo or whatever diet Grazia tells me to try.

When you’ve waved goodbye to meat, eggs and dairy, cutting the carbs is a step too far and I won’t be ditching them any time soon. Sure, I might have the occasional dalliance with courgetti but I’ll always go back to gloriously glutinous spaghetti.

For me, a bowl of bolognaise is somehow both soothing and sophisticated. Back when I was at school, I loved The Spaghetti Tangle by Alexander McCall Smith. It tells the story of two children who have never tried spaghetti and embark on an adventure to find out how it tastes, and create lots of weird and wonderful flavours along the way.

Twenty years later, I remembered this book when I ended up making purple spaghetti. As usual, I had lots of leftover veg in the fridge so decided to combine beetroot and cauliflower and call it pesto – and it worked surprisingly well. This is healthy fast food and looks very pretty. It’s also a good way to sneak vegetables into a meal without children/committed carnivores/plant haters noticing. It will taste equally as nice whether using fresh or packaged beetroot and is a good way of using up wilting herbs. You can use any type of nuts but walnuts work particularly well.

Purple spaghetti.jpg
Purple pesto

Purple pasta (spaghetti with beetroot and cauliflower pesto)

Serves two very greedy people but otherwise, it should make enough for three to four


2 beetroot (or a pack of cooked beetroot)

Half a head of cauliflower

Handful of fresh mint leaves

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Large handful of walnuts

4 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to season



If using fresh beetroot, scrub or peel, then cut into quarters and boil for 15 minutes. Break the cauliflower into florets and add to the pan during the last five minutes. Drain and leave aside to cool. Meanwhile, boil a pan of water and cook your spaghetti. Now, pop the beetroot (if using fresh, chuck in the leaves for extra vitamins) and cauliflower in the blender and add the mint, basil, walnuts, lemon juice and olive oil. Blend well. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain, place in bowls and stir through the pesto.

Voila, puce pesto pasta!