Subscribing to a weekly farm box can get pretty tiresome in the winter. Even in sunny southern California, winter generally means a continuous supply of greens – kale, bok choy, chard , etc. That’s why I always welcome spring, and its myriad of vegetables, with open arms. Three weeks ago I got my first glimpse of spring when a large bunch of beets arrived in my farm box; I was thrilled and could not wait to eat them. The following week I received another large bunch of beets, I cooked a few, a little less enthusiastically. By week three, I reached beet boredom…I had to start getting creative; here are a few of the recipes that reinvigorated me (and my husband):
Roasting is one of my favorite ways to prepare root vegetables. The high heat caramelizes the natural sugars and brings out more intense flavors. Roasted beets are amazing tossed in a salad, brown rice or on their own. Beware; the beets will turn everything a bright pink hue. Embrace it! The red pigment of the beets has incredible health benefits.
2 large beets cut into eighths
Preheat oven to 400 ⁰F
Toss the beets with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast until beets are tender and brown on edges, 20-25 minutes
Shown here mixed in with wild rice, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and feta on a bed of arugula. Topped with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Sautéed Beets – with beet tops
Grating and sautéing the beets creates a sauce of sorts that is perfect mixed into pasta, rice or grains. The beet tops add additional flavor and color and make this a side dish hearty enough to stand alone. The orange zest adds a little sweetness and cuts down the slightly bitter taste of the greens.
1 large beet, coarsely grated
Beet greens from one bunch of beets (4-5 tops), cleaned and chopped
Zest of one medium orange
Juice of one medium orange
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add grated beats along with any accumulated juice and chopped beet tops. Sauté until greens look wilted, about 3 minutes. Add orange zest and a pinch of salt. Sauté another 3-5 minutes. Squeeze orange juice and top with salt and pepper to taste. Serve mixed into quinoa, brown rice or pasta. Sautéed beets and tops are also excellent on top of grilled chicken or fish.
Slicing the beets thin and baking them until crisp creates an unbelievably satisfying and healthy snack. Serve with arugula and green onion yogurt dip.
2 large beets
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 ⁰F
Slice the beets very thin. I use a mandolin. Toss beets in a bowl with very little olive oil, start with about two teaspoons and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Space the beets flat and even on a baking sheet. Bake until edges begin to curl and brown, start checking after about 20 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the beet.
1 cup arugula
3 green onions, trimmed, use white and green parts
1/2 cup plain, low-fat or nonfat yogurt
In blender or food processor blend arugula and onions until well chopped but not puréed. Add in yogurt and blend until sauce looks green, but still chunky. Save any extra dipping sauce to use as a sandwich spread or vegetable dip.
Photo Credits for first slide: photo from http://www.topsante.com/ directly from here