Before Ben started farming full-time, there were a TON of foods I’d never tried or cooked. While I’d had beets in my life, I’d always had them straight out of the can. The only way I ever ate them was from the can, with chopped raw onion and vinaigrette dressing. It’s yummy – but I had no idea how much better FRESH beets were. I also had no idea how potent they are – in flavor as much as in color. One of the first good things to know about preparing beets is how to wash them. When you wash them, you want to be delicate with them. If you use a brush, you will puncture the skin and the gorgeous color will bleed. I wash them thoroughly with my hands under running water and that does just fine for me. They’re organic, so I’m not that concerned about cleaning them, I just want them to be dirt free.
I thought I’d include some of my favorite beet recipes and other recipes I’d like to try soon. Soooooo…here we go with the beets and more! NOTE: As you look over these recipes, by all means, feel free to modify them. One reason Ben is the baker and I’m the dinner cook is because I sort of improv what we have in the fridge with recipes that sound good while Ben actually follows the directions – I’ve never really been good with that – at least not when it comes to cooking :0). Experimenting with food is FUN – I hope these recipes give you some ideas and a happy party in your tummies.
Roasted Beet and Feta Salad
6 small beets, scrubbed but unpeeled
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black petter
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 oz arugula
4oz feta cheese, cubed (or crumbled)
2 tbsp chopped mint
For the dressing
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
3 tbsp olive oil
Prepare ahead the roasted beets and dressing can be refrigerated separately for up to 1 day before combining.
1. Preheat over to 400F (200C). Place the beets in a roasting pan. Add 1/2 cup water and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast about 1 3/4 hours, or until tender.
2. Uncover the beets and let cool. Peel and dice the beets (NOTE: peeling beets is more an aesthetic thing than a necessity – I keep the peels on [especially when they are baby beets]).
3. Whisk the vinegar, mustard and honey together in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil. Combine the beets, onions, and dressing in a bowl and toss. Sprinkle the arugula, feta, and mint over the top. Toss gently, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
– Good with grilled lamb or steak, or on its own as a light lunch.
Variation: Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad. Substitute a firm, crumbly goat cheese for the feta. Scatter the salad with 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds or toasted pine nuts.
Source: The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Recipes from Around the World
Roasted Root Vegetables
6-8 baby beets (or 2-3 large beets), cut into bite size pieces
8-12 slender carrots, trimmed and peeled
2-3 small sweet potatoes or 1 large sweet potatoe, chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion, cut into quarters (or eighths – depending on how much you like onion)
1 large parsnip
1 whole head garlic, peeled and separated into cloves (or use less if you don’t like garlic a lot)
– – – you can also add 1 kohlrabi bulb, 1 celery root
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put all the vegetables and the herb sprigs in a large baking dish. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly.
Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish or transfer them to a platter to accompany a roasted main course.
Tofu Pot Pie
2-crust pie (bought or homemade); you could also use a frozen bought pie crust unbaked
1 lb tofu, extra firm, diced into pieces
1 large potato (any kind you like – sweet potato would be good)
4-5 chopped carrots (unpeeled is fine)
1 small onion, diced
1 leek, sliced thin
1 cup broccoli florets
salt and pepper to taste
optional: any other vegetables desired! put in what you have (as long as the veggies together make sense). We’ve made pot pie with baby beets before – it was yummy :).
1/2 cup canola oil (or any you prefer)
1/2 cup water
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp tamari sauce (or Bragg’s)
Mix the vegetables together and place in bottom of pie crust. Combine oil, water, tamari, nutritional yeast and pour over vegetables then put top crust on.
Back at 375 for 45 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden.
Source: recipe submitted to Community Cuisine: Franklin Community Cooperative’s Cookbook by Faith Dickhaut Kindness
Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls
For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for the dish
1 leek, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms (your favorite), minced
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of ground coriander
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head cabbage (your choice; the bigger the leaves, the bigger the rolls)
2/3 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1. To make the filling, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the leek, mushrooms, and celery and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until softened.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the bread crumbs, egg, parsley, lemon juice, and ground coriander. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C). Oil a 13x9in (33x23cm) baking dish. Cook the cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes, until pliable. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pat dry.
4. Lay each leaf flat and divide the stuffing among the leaves. Roll up each leaf, folding in the sides to enclose the filling in a neat parcel. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the dish. Pour in the stock. Back for 45-55 minutes, until teander.
5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the crushed tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer about 10 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Using a slotted spoon, serve the cabbage rolls on diner plates, with the remaining tomato sauce passed on the side.
Good with crusty bread, sauteed potatoes, or brown rice.
Source: The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World
Wine and Honey-Glazed Brussel Sprouts
2 points brussel sprouts
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp natural soy sauce (or Bragg’s or tamari – depending on what you have)
2 tbsp margarine (or butter)
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1. Trim the stems from the brussel sprouts and cut and X into the base, about 1/4 inch deep.
2. In a small bowl, combine the wine, honey and soy sauce and stir together.
3. Over moderate heat, melt the margarine in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the wine and honey mixture, the water, and the brussel sprouts. Stir together, then cook, covered, at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionaly, for another 10 minutes.
4. Dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of water. Stir into the saucepan quickly, then cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a covered casserole dish to serve.
Source: Vegetarian Celebrations: Menus for Holidays and Other Festive Occasions
Beet Rosti with Rosemary
(kind of like a beet version of potato pancakes)
Keep the heat moderate — cooking too quickly will burn the sugary outside of the pancake while leaving the inside raw. And don’t forget to wear an apron when you’re grating the beets.
- 2 pounds beets (3 very large or 4 to 6 medium)
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Minced parsley or a few rosemary leaves for garnish
- 1. Trim beets, and peel them as you would potatoes; grate them in food processor or by hand. Begin preheating 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- 2. Toss grated beets in bowl with rosemary, salt and pepper. Add about half the flour; toss well, add rest of flour, and toss again.
- 3. Put butter in skillet; heat until it begins to turn nut-brown. Scrape beet mixture into skillet, and press with spatula to form a round. With medium to medium-high heat — the pancake should gently sizzle — cook, shaking pan occasionally, until bottom of cake is nicely crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Slide cake onto a plate, top with another plate, invert the two plates, and return cake to pan. Keep cooking, adjusting heat if necessary, until other side is browned, another 10 minutes or so. Garnish, cut into wedges, and serve hot or at room temperature.
Drunken Pasta with Beets and Swiss Chard
(you could also use kale or collards – collards take a little longer to cook than chard)
Vitamin Greens would work great as a substitute as well and be sure to use the beet greens! They taste SO good :0)
Yields: 4 servings
- 1 large bottle of red wine or 2 regular size (750 ml) bottles
- 1 box spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large red beet, peeled and grated on a box grater*
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch of red swiss chard, leaves torn from the tough stem and shredded
- 1/3 pound ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
Place a large pot over high heat and add the wine. Fill the rest of the pot with water about 1/2-3/4 of the way up the sides. Bring to a boil, add some salt and the pasta. Cook pasta until al dente according to the instructions on the box. Reserve 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid when you drain it.
While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the garlic and the grated beet, season with a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the swiss chard to the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until it starts to wilt down.
In addition to being tasty, kale is a good source of lutein, benefiting eye health, and vitamins A and C. Serve as a side dish with steak or roast chicken, or enjoy two turnovers as a meatless entrée. They are great made ahead and brown-bagged; reheat in a microwave or toaster oven.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups chopped kale (about 1 small bunch)
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1 (11.3-ounce) can refrigerated dinner roll dough (such as Pillsbury)
2 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add kale and spinach; sauté 8 minutes or until kale is tender. Stir in pepper, salt, and nutmeg. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in feta.
Separate dough into 8 pieces. Roll each dough piece into a 5-inch circle. Spoon about 1/3 cup kale mixture on half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold dough over kale mixture until edges almost meet. Bring bottom edge of dough over top edge; crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim.
Place turnovers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat turnovers with cooking spray; sprinkle each turnover with about 1 teaspoon Parmesan. Bake at 375° for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving; serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 turnover)
CALORIES 184 (27% from fat); FAT 5.5g (sat 2g,mono 1.6g,poly 1.2g); IRON 2.3mg; CHOLESTEROL 7mg; CALCIUM 110mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.4g; SODIUM 516mg; PROTEIN 8.1g; FIBER 2.7g
Cooking Light, JANUARY 2007
- 1/2 pound firm tofu
- 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
- 1/2 cup finely chopped bok choy (or tat soi)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped water chestnuts
- 1/4 cup finely chopped bamboo shoots
- 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic chives
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 package potsticker or gyoza wrappers
- 2 tablespoons oil for frying the dumplings
Drain the tofu, cut into cubes and mash. Wash and prepare the vegetables. Combine the tofu with the remainder of the ingredients and seasonings.
Lay out one of the gyoza wrappers in front of you. Dip your finger in the water and moisten the edges of the wrapper.
Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper.
Fold the gyoza wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges to seal it shut. (You may want to use a cornstarch/water mixture to make this easier).
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or wok.When oil is ready, carefully add the dumplings and cook on high heat until golden brown (about 1 minute). Without turning the dumplings over, add 1/2 cup of water and cover. Cook for about 1 minute to cook the raw filling and then uncover and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Serve the potstickers with the burnt side on top, with potsticker dipping sauce or soy sauce mixed with minced ginger for dipping.
Bok Choi Chicken Soup
This easy Chinese recipe allows you to get all the nutritional benefits of bok choy in a simple, flavorful soup. Feel free to increase the nutritional value by using homemade chicken broth
, or adding cooked chicken or raw, peeled shrimp.
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 10 leaves bok choy, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 garlic clove, peeled, chopped
Bring the chicken broth to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the seasonings (the red pepper flakes, soy sauce, Asian sesame oil), and the chopped garlic.
Add the bok choy. Simmer for up to 10 minutes, until the bok choy leaves turn dark green and are wilted and tender. Serves 4 to 5.
This recipe is submitted by a reader, Linnie Williams.