Category Archives: Beets

Beet Pesto

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Confession: my life is more or less plagued with inside jokes surrounding beets. Most normal people have a number of beet jokes less than or equal to 1 (p<0.05). The fact that I have multiple probably tells you something about me… anyways, I digress. Wait, as I am typing this I realized I chose beets as my blog header. Blerg.

I have stuck to pretty simple things with beets: soups and roasting. But then something magical happened: I put them in my food processor with sunflower seeds, garlic, and cilantro. I had come across a recipe for beet pesto a while ago and I just couldn’t shake the image of the gorgeous magenta sauce adorning some slender noodles. Well, one evening I had diced up some beets and threw them in the oven to put on a salad… but then all of a sudden they were in my food processor! And they were being swirled around in this beautiful food ballet with sunflower seeds, garlic, vinegar, and cilantro. And it was the best thing. Ever.

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Now while making this pesto, my roommate asked me what it has to have to qualify it as a pesto? This was a great question. The Wikipedia has told me that “pesto” means “pounded,” so really any sauce that is made in that way, I suppose, is a pesto. Additionally, it seems ground up nuts/garlic are traditionally at the base of it.

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Side story: US customs almost didn’t let me back in the country coming from Italy due to a jar of pesto in my [checked] luggage. They didn’t bat an eye at the 5 kilos of Parmigiano Reggiano or 4 bottles of wine… but the pesto? Packed next to my stuffed animal? That is some fishy business.

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Enjoying parmigiano in Parma at dinner con i miei genitori italiani. Again, of no concern to the TSA.

In conclusion, a pesto is a ground sauce with a base of nuts and garlic that will get you stopped at customs. I hope this answer satisfies.

But back to something that I know will satisfy: this beet pesto. First of all, it is absolutely stunning. It has the most intense/complex/deep magenta/red color that only nature could produce, which my man made words can’t quite give justice to.  Once you have stopped admiring it, you can use it like you would use any pesto: on pasta, as a dip, as a spread on a sandwich, or really anything else you can imagine! Be creative here! All of my trials have been wildly successful. So I plead that you run to your farmers market or grocer and grab a bunch of beets and get to it!

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Beet Pesto

Inspired by A Veggie Venture

Materials:

  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Wash and peel beets (save the beet tops! Sauté with a little but of garlic and olive oil) and cut into 1/2” cubes
  3. Spread out evening on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a few shakes of salt.
  4. Roast beets for about 20 minutes.
  5. Place roasted beets with all remaining ingredients but the olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth.
  6. Stream in the olive oil until it has reached the consistency you are happy with.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

 

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Beet Soup (not Borscht!)

It pains me to say it, but the truth is that fall is approaching. Oh, except that I live in the Bay Area and it is fall weather. All. The. Time. Nothing like wearing a light sweater everyday of your life. But i’m not bitter, I swear… I love being cold.

Fall weather calls for fall food. Something earthy and warm, like a soup. A soup made from beets. Borscht is a little old hat, so I was excited when my mom sent me a recipe for a beet and apple soup. I just couldn’t resist the smooth bright magenta hue of the simple soup. I had one apple leftover from an apple pie I made on Sunday morning and had picked up some beets at the farm stand, so Sunday evening seemed like the perfect night for this soup.

The soup is simple and made my whole body smile. A big magenta stained smile. The color of the soup does more than please the eye, it pleases the whole body. The phytonutrients that give the root its awesome color is also a power house of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification properties for your body. Oh, and don’t be too concerned with the… uh… after math. It looked like I killed someone in my kitchen. NBD. And don’t thrown away those beet greens! They are equally nutrient packed and taste great lightly sautéed with some olive oil and garlic. 

Beet and Apple Soup
Adapted from Beet and Apple Soup
Materials: (Makes dinner for 2)
  • 3 beets
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
Methods:
  1. Peel and roughly chop the beets, apple, and onion.
    • NOTE: before chopping the beets, thinly slice off about 10 thin slices to pan fry to garnish.
  2. Toss beets, apple, and onion in a stock pot with vegetable stock.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime:
    • Combine the cashew cream and horseradish.
    • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in heavy bottom skillet and pan fry beet slices for about 3 minutes on either side, until crispy.
  5. Remove soup from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minute.
  6. Transfer the soup, in 2-3 batches, to food processor, and process until smooth.
  7. Return to stove, add vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper, and heat on low for about 10 additional minutes.
  8. Ladle into bowls and top with horseradish cream and crispy beets.
  9. Enjoy!
    • Can be served hot or at room temperature, depending on how chilly of a fall day it is!