Beet Recipes

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Easy Beets

Roasting is, hands-down, the easiest way to cook beets. Just wash, cut the tops and bottoms so they are even and roast at 350°F until tender. I like to put them in a deep casserole dish with a lid so they don’t dry out.

Beet and Beet Green Gratin

  • 2 bunches (6 to 8) beets, with the greens (about 2 pounds beets and 3/4 pound greens)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped chives (1 bunch)
  • 2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

This gratin is beautiful if you pair chioggas or golden beets with red beets. It is good hot or cold. Roast the beets. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then cut the ends off, slip off the skins and slice across the equator. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the greens in two changes of water. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the pot of water comes to a boil, salt generously and blanch the greens for about one minute. (You can also steam the greens until they wilt, one to two minutes). Transfer the greens to the ice water, then drain and squeeze out the water. Chop coarsely. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet, and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in the greens. Stir together for a minute, season the greens with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish with olive oil. Beat together eggs, salt (about 1/2 teaspoon), pepper, milk, chives and the Gruyère. Gently stir in the greens and beets. Scrape into the gratin dish. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until set and lightly browned on the top. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Beet and Citrus Slaw

  • 1/2 pound beets
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon minced chives, mint or parsley (or a combination)
  • Salt to taste
  • Leaves of 1 romaine heart

Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and herbs. Season to taste with salt. Line a salad bowl or platter with romaine lettuce leaves, top with the grated beets and serve. Advance preparation: The grated beets can be dressed and kept in the refrigerator, covered well, for a couple of days. They become more tender but don’t lose their texture, and the mixture becomes even sweeter as the beet juices mingle with the citrus. Toss again before serving.

Harvard Beets

  • 3 medium whole beets, about 1 pound, or 4 cups cooked, sliced beets
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

No one seems to know exactly where the name came from. Harvard Beets seem to have showed up in cookbooks about the time (1910) that deep crimson became Harvard University’s official color. Another story is that they were created by some unknown individual in an English tavern called “Harwood” and name morphed. They are good both hot and cold. To make with fresh beets, wash the beets and leave an inch of stem and root end on them. Put the beets in a saucepan, cover with water, and add about 1 teaspoon of salt per quart of water and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and boil for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the beets are tender. Drain the beets and let them cool, then slip off the skins. Slice the beets to your desired size. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Whisk in the vinegar and water and cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the sliced cooked beets and the salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the butter into the beets and serve them hot.

Fermented Beets

  • 6 small beets or 3 medium beets
  • Spice choices (Pick any one of the five below):
  • 1. Add 1 cinnamon stick and 3 whole cloves.
  • 2. Add 1 tbsp pickling spice, 2 cloves of garlic and a flowering head of fresh dill.
  • 3. Add 2 tsp caraway and 5 black peppercorns to each jar.
  • 4. Add 1-2 cloves of garlic per jar.
  • 5. Slice one or two hot peppers in half and add to the jar without removing the seeds.
  • 1 1/2 tsp non-iodized salt
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of filtered water to cover

Scrub the beets, then chop them into bite-sized pieces or julienne. Wear gloves if you don’t want pink fingers! Pack the beet slices into a sterilized jar. At this point, you can add spices and other flavors. Add the cider vinegar (if you are using it). Dissolve the salt in a 1/2 cup of water. Pour over the beets and top with a second 1/2 cup of water, to cover. There is no need to weigh down the beets as they usually don’t float. Leave the jar to ferment at room temperature for about 3-7 days. Store in the refrigerator and consume within 1 month.

Rote Bete Salat (Red Beet Salad)

  • 2 Lb. of fresh beets
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 8 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of horseradish from a jar OR 1 heaping teaspoon of fresh diced horseradish

Wash the beets under running cold water with a soft brush. Cut the roots and leaves about 1–2 inches above the beet. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to a large saucepan filled with water. Add in the beets and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down a little and let the beets simmer for about 35–45 minutes, depending on the size of the beets and the consistency that you prefer. When the beets are done, place the beets in a colander and drain under cold water. Cut off the remaining stems close to the beet. Peel the beets while they are still warm. Cut the beets into slices from the whole beet or cut them first into halves and then slice the halves. Use another bowl for the dressing. Mix the vinegar, oil, caraway seeds, salt, pepper, sugar and horseradish. Beat with a whisk. Dice the onions by hand or use a food chopper. Add the chopped onions to the dressing and stir with a fork. Pour the dressing over the beets and carefully mix using two spoons or salad hands. This tastes best if you give it time to soak in the dressing for a few hours. Keep refrigerated.

Beet Carrot Apple Juice

  • 2 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled

Juice, in this order, the beets, apples and carrots, following your juicer’s specific settings for each. Serve the juice immediately. Pour over ice, if desired.

Classic Borscht

  • 12 cups beef stock or 3-4 Lb beef chuck steak/roast cut in 1-inch cubes plus 12 cups water
  • 5 cups green or red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large beets, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 large garlic cloves, grated
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dill or parsley, finely chopped
  • Yogurt sour cream and rye bread, for serving

If using the beef chuck, brown the cubes in coconut oil, tallow or lard in a cast iron dutch oven. Add water and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour. OR, if using stock, add bay leaf and bring stock to a boil. Wash, peel and chop vegetables.. Add cabbage or sauerkraut. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Saute onion and carrots in large skillet with half of oil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beets and remaining oil, cook another 3-4 minutes. Add sauteed veggies, potatoes, tomato paste and salt to dutch oven. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Turn off heat, add vinegar (if you used sauerkraut, add only ½ Tbs and taste – add the remainder only if necessary). Add vinegar, garlic and pepper. Let the soup sit for about 10 minutes so the flavors can marry, then add dill, adjust seasonings and serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. If you’ve used the broth version, you can chill the soup and blend it, then serve cold.

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Growing Beets

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Beets and other root crops are kind of like Rodney Dangerfield – they don’t get no respect. Which is too bad, because they’re easy to grow, resistant to most insect pests and diseases, and taste good. Beets appeared on Roman tables and came to the Americas with colonists who valued them for their ability to provide food for man, woman, bird and beast during the winter months. Beets are colorful (as anyone who’s ever dropped one on a pristine white tablecloth can attest. Who, me?) Lots of people like the yellow varieties, but I prefer the reds, because I think the flavor is better.

Classic beet seed is not one seed, but a little ball of seeds that will grow into multiple beets, so heirloom beets usually need to be thinned quite young, preferably with scissors to prevent root damage. They’ll do best in a fairly fine soil, and are either an early spring or late fall crop if your summers are at all hot. Many beets will overwinter nicely, although in really cold climates you may need to mulch them with leaves or straw.

  • Chioggia or Bassano – the candy cane beet, with concentric rings of deep red and white. Baby Chioggia can be eaten raw; they’re quite tender. It’s been around since the 1840s.
  • Crosby’s Improved Egyptian – if you want a bold red beet, this one is your baby. It STAINS! Although the original sellers claimed it traced back to an ancient Egyptian variety, there’s no proof of the story. Flavor is excellent, which is why Peter Henderson introduced it in the 1870s. The “improved” part of the name refers to its shape, which was originally quite lumpy, but Josiah Crosby smoothed it out by 1880. It’s an early beet and not good for winter storage.
  • Detroit Dark Red – this little jewel is good for cooking and pickling, and stores well. It’s been bearing dependably in gardens all over the place since at least 1892. Its leaves also make a good spinach substitute in salads. Very cold hardy and will germinate even with soil temperatures as low as 40 °F. A good choice for the root cellar and it will overwinter in the garden in most climates.
  • Cylindra or Formanova – shaped more like a thick carrot than a beet, which means you can get more beets in the same space; they’ll grow about 6 to 9 inches long. Easier to slice and peel than regular beets and has a good flavor. Leaves are also good to eat and sweeter than most beet greens. Good for cooking, canning and pickling. Introduced in 1880.
  • Albino – this is a form of sugar beet. Like all sugar beets, it is white-fleshed and very sweet. It does not have the earthy flavor common to other beet varieties. You can actually grow your own sugar if you want to – it’s not any harder than growing regular beets. I include a recipe for making table sugar at home just in case you’re interested. Mind you, you should not expect to have huge amounts of table sugar if you want to grow your own. One sugar beet can be processed into about 6 cups of sugar. But if you want a little to make hummingbird food or to have a teaspoon in your morning coffee (and a teaspoon is about the most you should eat on a daily basis), it is quite doable.
  • Detroit Golden – this was developed from an ancient variety known simply as the Golden Beet. The roots turn a deep golden yellow when cooked; they don’t bleed or stain like red beets. It was grown in the US in the early 1800s, but may be much older than that. They are supposed to make good pickles, although I have never tried them.

If I could only have one, my beet choice would be Cylindra. The flavor is good and production is higher because they grow a longer tap root in the same space as a round beet. It also has better-tasting leaves – most beet greens are OK but not what I would call real flavorful.

In terms of nutrition, beets provide folate, manganese and potassium. Folate as you may know, helps prevent birth defects that occur when the spinal cord doesn’t develop properly in the fetus. Manganese is an antioxidant that helps your body break down glucose and protein during the digestive process. Potassium is one of the big four electrolytes – the other three being sodium, chloride and calcium. These minerals are integral to multiple critical processes in the body, such as maintaining your fluid balance, helping create enzymes, promoting brain and heart function (drop your sodium too low and you can literally be unable to think).

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Garden Pea Recipes

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The Easiest Pea Recipe

Shell regular peas; string edible podded or snow peas and trim ends. Cook in boiling salted water until tender – about five minutes. Dollop with lots of butter and salt.

Endive and Snap Pea Salad

  • 3 cups (10 ounces) sugar snap peas, stemmed, strings removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided
  • 2 Tbs Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 red Belgian endive or small Treviso radicchio spears
  • 8 yellow Belgian endive spears
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chervil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

Blanch peas in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain peas; transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain and slice thinly on a sharp diagonal. Purée 1/4 cup Parmesan, vinegar, lime juice, Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. With machine running, gradually add both oils: blend until emulsified and well incorporated. Place 1 red endive spear and 1 yellow spear on each plate. Fill leaves with some of the snap peas. Top with 2 more endive spears (arrange perpendicularly to the bottom leaves) and fill with remaining snap peas. Drizzle some of dressing over. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and herbs over, then drizzle with more dressing. Season with pepper.

Pasta Primavera with Peas

  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed
  • ¾ pound asparagus, ends snapped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup fresh English peas
  • 1/3 cup (5 large) thinly sliced spring onion, white part only (or use shallots)
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces pappardelle, fettuccine or tagliatelle, preferably fresh
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, at room temperature
  • 6 oz (3/4 cup) crème fraîche or whole milk Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, slice snap peas in half and asparagus stems into 1/4-inch-thick pieces; leave asparagus tips whole. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snap peas, asparagus, English peas and onion. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente (1 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta, more for dried pasta). Drain well, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Transfer pasta to the skillet of prepared vegetables or to a large bowl. Immediately toss pasta with vegetables, Parmigiano-Reggiano, crème fraîche and herbs. Thin sauce to desired consistency with reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Serve.

Quadruple Pea Stir Fry

  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • ½ tsp Sriracha
  • 1 ½ tbsp sesame oil, divided
  • 12 oz diced chicken or extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
  • 17 oz prepared gnocchi
  • ½ tbsp canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 7 oz (about 2 cups), chopped green beans
  • 8 oz (about 2 ½ cups) sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 6 oz (about 2 ¼ cups) snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1 oz (about 2 cups) pea shoots
  • ½ cup raw cashew pieces

Whisk hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and Sriracha in a medium bowl. Heat a large, dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the tofu. Cook, turning to brown all sides and pressing as much extra liquid out of the tofu as possible. Transfer to the bowl with the sauce and turn to coat. Set aside. Add the sesame oil to the skillet and add the gnocchi. Sauté about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until warmed through, light brown and crispy. Move to a plate and set aside. Add the canola oil to the pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until translucent. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring often, until bright green and crisp-tender. Add back the tofu in the sauce, the gnocchi, the pea shoots and cashews. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute.

Beans, Peas and Radishes

  • 1/2 pound fresh wax or green beans
  • 1/2 pound fresh sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Snip ends off beans and sugar snap peas; remove strings from snap peas. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add beans and reduce heat; simmer, covered, 4-5 minutes. Add sugar snap peas; simmer, covered, until both beans and peas are crisp-tender, another 2-3 minutes. Drain. Toss beans and peas with radishes. Stir together honey, tarragon, salt and pepper. Drizzle over vegetables.

Sesame-Ginger Steak Salad

  • Top sirloin steak (1 pound)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or puréed
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar or agave nectar
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) hearts of romaine salad mix or four cups romaine lettuce from the garden
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced English cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh snow or sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

Brush steak with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook steak in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°F; medium, 140°F; medium-well, 145°F). Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Divide salad mix among four plates. Top with radishes, onions, cucumber, peas, tomatoes and cilantro. Arrange sliced steak over salads; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Peas and Carrots

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 big carrots, cut into small dice
  • 16 ounces frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped

Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and saute until they are tender. Add the peas and salt and pepper to taste and saute until they are thawed and cooked through. Stir in the chopped basil before serving.

Rice and Pea Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • Salt
  • 1 cup peas, blanched
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water for 10 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For the rice: Place the rice, 3 cups water, and a pinch of salt in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook on low until tender, about 20 minutes. Turn the rice out onto a sheet tray and let it cool completely. Next, combine the rice, peas, red bell pepper and red onion. Toss gently. For the dressing: In a small bowl, add the rice wine vinegar, a small pinch salt and a few turns of freshly ground pepper. Mix together and slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil and then the sesame oil. Pour the dressing over the rice and mix until the rice is thinly coated. Taste, and re-season if necessary.

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