Apicius 3.11.2 – “Another Recipe for Boiled Beets” (Beets with Mustard Dressing)

aliter betas elixas: ex sinapi oleo modico et aceto meme inferuntur. Apicius 3.11.2

Another recipe for boiled beets: they are served nicely in a sauce of mustard, a little oil and vinegar.

This text and translation are taken from Sally Grainger and Christopher Grocock’s Apicius (2006) (p166, 167).

In general, when “beets” are mentioned in ancient texts, the leaves are being referred to rather than the roots, which were rarely eaten (Dalby, 2003, 51). However, I have chosen the beetroot bulbs here, as they resemble archery targets and thus are a good representation for Sagittarius, especially when paired with asparagus!


2 beetroots 15mL mustard
70mL extra virgin olive oil 15mL vinegar
1 bunch asparagus


  1. Cut most of the leaves off the beetroot, but leave the base of the leaves and the tail intact. This stops much of the flavour being leeched out of the beets as they cook.
  2. Put the beets in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil. Cook, with the pot covered, until a knife inserted into the beet meets no resistance.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce – put the oil, vinegar and mustard in a jar and shake vigorously to combine the ingredients.
  4. Peel the beets as they are cooling, and slice finely.
  5. To prepare the asparagus, snap the woody base off the end of the asparagus and put in a pan of boiling water. Cook for around a minute.
  6. Arrange the asparagus in the middle of a platter, and then put the beets around the outside. Pour the mustard sauce over the beets.


Further Reading

Click on the links below to order directly from The Book Depository.
Dalby, Andrew (2003). Food in the Ancient World.
Grocock, Christopher and Grainger, Sally (2006). Apicius.

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