Cookbook Profile

Roasted Beets
with Caramelized Beet Greens
and Orange-Walnut Pesto

Serves 4, $5.00 to $10.00

Roasted Beets with Caramelized Beet Greens and Orange-Walnut Pesto


In my youth, the only time I ate beets was when I decided I needed to lose weight by eating solely beets, hot dogs, and vanilla ice cream. That was an actual diet. I believe it also involved grapes. But those diet beets always came out of a can. I imagine my mother didn't want to bother with roasting up actual, fresh beets if I was going to subscribe to such a gimmicky weight loss tactic. Served me right. Luckily, now that I'm older and oh-so-much wiser, I know that gimmick diets don't work and I also know that beets are delicious roasted, with orange and walnuts, in salads and with chicken. And this dish has all but the chicken—and okay, I am taking liberties by calling parsley "salad." Parsley is not salad, but it is green, and it adds an herbal flavor to this dish that I love. And while we're speaking of dreams, beet greens are a lovely addition to salad, and a wonderful addition to this dish.

Roasted Beets

Orange-Walnut Pesto

Caramelized Beet Greens

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Now that I am so much wiser than I was in my fad-diet days, I'd like to share a helpful hint with you. It is easiest to cut the beets by putting the now-trimmed top end facedown on the cutting board so that you are working off of a flat—and therefore balanced—surface. Then cut the beet in half, place the new, larger flat side down, and proceed with your quarter-inch slices. As you are cutting, you may find that the beet's round edges may not comply 100 percent with the 1/4-inch measurement. and that's okay. If some pieces are a bit larger than you'd like, simply cut them so that they are approximately 1/4-inch pieces. See, I told you I was wise. Ish.

3. In a large bowl, toss those sliced beets with the orange juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the whole lot to a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Roast, covered, for 30 minutes, until the beets are softened. Remove the foil and roast for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the beets begin to brown slightly. Stir the beets midway through this last cooking stage to keep them dressed in orange juice.

4. While the beets roast, mix the zest, walnuts, parsley, and olive oil together in a small bowl.

5. Now, prepare the beet greens. They come together quickly, and by using them rather than tossing them out or adding them to compost, it's as though you get two vegetables for the price of one. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the beet greens and sauté them until they have wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the honey, stir to distribute among the greens, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and add salt and pepper to taste.

6. When it is time to serve—ideally on a plate containing Honey-Balsamic Chicken Thighs (page 65 of the book) or Perfect Roasted Chicken with Spicy Orange Sauce (page 69)—place one-quarter of the greens on each plate. Then place one-quarter of the beets over the greens, and, finally, top each pile of beets and greens with a tablespoon or two of the walnut-orange mixture. Then start thinking how all of these items would work really well in a salad for lunch tomorrow. Yes, yes, they would.

Estimated cost for four: $6.05. A bunch of beets can be yours for $2.49. Beets have two seasons, the early summer and the fall, as they enjoy cooler temperatures for growing. The orange should cost you around 50¢, and, yes, that includes both the juice and the zest. It's another two-for-one bonus produce item, that citrus is. The walnuts were 1/2 cup from a bag containing 4 cups and that cost $8.69, so $1.08. The parsley is half of a store-bought bunch of fresh parsley, and that will cost us $1.00 for the half-bunch. The olive oil was 48¢, and the honey was 50¢. If you'd like to splurge, you could toss 2 tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese into the mix for an added cost of 38¢, at $4.49 for 6 ounces, and approximately 1/2 ounce contained in 2 tablespoons.


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This page created October 2010