Tag Archives: beets

Golden Beet and Shiitake Farrotto

farrotto tf

Posted by Lynda Balslev

When you switch out the rice with farro in this risotto-style dish, you end up with farrotto. Like rice, the farro grains steep and simmer in stock, but without the nonstop requirement of stirring with rice. The difference is that farro has a hearty chewy texture, never succumbing to mushiness. Each nutty whole wheat grain maintains its shape, exuding earthy wholesomeness. You can’t help but feel healthy when you eat it.

Farro has an ancient pedigree, originating in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Also known as emmer, and compared to spelt, farro is a species of wheat, high in fiber and rich in protein and B vitamins. It’s delicious in salads, pilafs, breads, soups and stews. If you haven’t tried it, you should.

Farro with Golden Beets and Shiitake Mushrooms 

Carrot and rutabagas are good substitutes for the beets. Serves 4 to 6.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium shallot, finely chopped, about 1/4 cup
6 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 medium yellow beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the farro and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until the farro is tender but chewy, 20 to 25 minutes.
While the farro is cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the beets and sprinkle with salt. Sauté until crisp tender and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a plate.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same skillet. Add the mushrooms in one layer and cook over medium-high heat until softened and slightly golden, 5 to 6 minutes.
To serve, toss farro with the beets and parlsey. If using feta, sprinkle over the farro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Baby Beet Gratin with Orange and Thyme

baby beet gratin tastefood

Beet Gratin with Orange and Thyme

It took a good long while for me to reconcile with the flavor of beets. I gazed at them from the sidelines, attracted to their vibrant hues, aware of their nutrient-rich flesh, yet wary of their earthy notes. As a cook, I wished to like beets, and as a parent, I wanted to serve them – so I willed myself to eat beets until I learned to love them.

At first, I took baby steps. I nibbled small bites. I  doused them with citrus to offset their earthiness. I grew bolder and roasted beets in olive oil, discovering that fire and char nicely counteract their dirt-like flavor. My go-to beet became the golden variety, which is pleasantly mild and nutty. And, eventually, I succeeded. Now, I am a beet convert. Yet while I no longer shudder at eating a completely naked beet, I continue to craft recipes that embrace the sweet beet while tempering their earthy nature.

This gratin recipe allows beets to shine amidst a minimal cast of characters. The co-stars of the dish happen to have their own strength and assertiveness, helping to tone down any earthy qualities that might be lurking in each bite. Layers of beets are cloaked in sour cream infused with orange zest and thyme. Gruyère cheese ripples throughout, adding a complementary nuttiness. The beets release their juices while cooking, saturating the gratin with spectacular color and all the flavors meld together. When I made this, it was so good, everyone at the table was reaching for seconds. As a cook, parent and beet convert, I find that a very good thing.

Baby Beet Gratin with Orange and Thyme

I prepared this recipe in individual ramekins with a variety of red, golden and chioggia beets. A gratin dish will also work for family style serving. Feel free to mix and match the beets to your taste. Eight large beets may be substituted for the baby beets, but be sure to peel the skin.

Makes 1 (8 by 8-inch) gratin or 8 (6-ounce) ramekins

2 cups sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Unsalted butter
3 bunches baby beets, unpeeled, ends trimmed, scrubbed clean
4 ounces finely grated Gruyere cheese
Fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter 8 (6 ounce) ramekins or an 8 by 8-inch square gratin dish. Whisk the sour cream, garlic, orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl.
Thinly slice the beets with a mandolin or knife.
Arrange 1/3 of the beets, slightly overlapping in the baking dish or individual ramekins. Spoon 1/3 of the sour cream over the beets, carefully spreading to cover. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Lightly season with salt, pepper and pinch of fresh thyme. Repeat with 2 more layers.
Bake in the oven until beets are tender and the gratin is bubbly and golden, about 45 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Steak and Farro with Golden Beets, Garbanzos and Tarragon

~ Beef Ribeye, Farro, Golden Beets, Spring Onion, Garbanzos, Tarragon ~

There are a few reasons why this recipe is just right for tonight. The first reason is that it’s early summer in San Francisco and it’s freezing. Not literally, but enough to feel obliged to apologize profusely to visitors from out of town. Enough to don fleece outerwear to venture out to the grill, where hands are briskly warmed between flipping the burgers. Or enough to appear like it’s raining when technically it is not, but the mist from the fog is so heavy it soaks the garden furniture and leave puddles on the steps.

Another reason why this meal is just right is this is the first day following a whirlwind celebratory week of graduations, house guests and parties. When lists were made to remember lists. When we had great fun, but didn’t have a moment to reflect on that fun. When we indulged and consumed and quite likely forgot to eat our vegetables. Today we now have the time and space to remember and to reflect – and to also eat a balanced meal.

This recipe corrals the seasons’ best farmers market produce, hearty farro, and a few lone pieces of steak left over in the fridge, in one big warming yet fresh meal brimming with health and good flavor. You can grill the steak or pan fry it, depending on the weather.

steak farro tastefood

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Garbanzos and Tarragon

Shelled English peas or edamame may be substituted for the garbanzos.
Serves 4.

3 medium golden beets, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch batons or wedges
1 large sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise, each half thickly sliced in wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups farro
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 or 3 rib eye or New York steaks, about 1-inch thick
1/2 cup shelled fresh garbanzos (chick peas)
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
Sriracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Toss the beets and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until beets are tender and onions are beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the farro: Combine the stock, farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the farro is tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Partially cover to keep warm.
Prepare the steaks: Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks, without overcrowding, and cook until brown on both sides, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. (or grill over direct high heat, turning once or twice, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut steaks crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices.
While the steaks are resting, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the garbanzos and blanch until bright green but still crisp, about 1 minute.
To serve, spoon the farro into the center of a serving platter or divide among serving plates. Arrange steak in the center of the farro and drizzle with any accumulated juices. Place the vegetables around the steak and drizzle with any accumulated baking juices. Scatter the garbanzos over. Garnish with fresh tarragon. Drizzle with more olive oil. Serve warm with Sriracha sauce on the side.

Marinated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios

Beets Bunch TasteFood

I am a converted beet lover. It took a good long time for me to reconcile with their earthy taste. I gazed at beets from the sidelines, attracted to their vibrant magenta and ochre hues, aware of their nutrient-rich flesh, yet I shuddered at their earthy flavor. As a cook, I wanted to love them. As a parent, I wanted to serve them. So, I willed myself to eat beets until I learned to appreciate them.

At first, I took baby steps. I nibbled small bites. I  dressed them with citrus which tamed their earthiness. I grew bolder and roasted beets in olive oil, discovering that fire and char nicely balanced their robust flavor. My go-to beet became the golden variety, which is pleasantly mild and nuttier than its assertive red cousin. And, eventually, I succeeded. Now, I am a card carrying beet lover, frequently offering them at our dinner table. I serve them roasted with meats, sauteed and tumbled with farro, gratineed or in salads.

Beet Goat Cheese Salad TasteFood

This recipe is one of my family’s favorites. The beets marinate in their roasting oil with lemon juice, which is also used to dress the salad.

Marinated Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pistachios
Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 pounds red or yellow beets
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
6 cups arugula or mixed baby greens, washed and dried
1/2 cup fresh crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut in chiffonade
1/4 cup chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.) Place beets in a baking dish. Pour oil over the beets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover dish tightly with foil. Roast the beets until tender, about 1 hour. Remove beets from baking dish and transfer to a plate to cool. Pour cooking oil into a small bowl and reserve.

When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Cut the beets in 1-inch chunks and place in a large bowl. Add lemon juice and vinegar to the reserved oil. Whisk to combine and taste for seasoning. Pour dressing over the beets and gently toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate beets for at least 2 hours or overnight.

To serve, place the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over the arugula and toss to combine. Divide among serving plates. Spoon beets into center of the greens. Sprinkle with goat cheese, pistachios, mint and chives. Drizzle with more dressing to taste.

You might like these recipes too:

Golden Beet and Ricotta Tian from TasteFood
Moroccan Grated Carrot and Beet Salad from Simply Recipes
Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs from the Kitchn
Baked Beet Chips from A Cozy Kitchen

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Onions and Chickpeas

~ Beef Ribeye, Farro, Golden Beets, Spring Onion, Chickpeas, Tarragon ~

It’s safe to say that everything I bought today at the market ended up in this dish. Sweet onions, golden beets and fresh chickpeas vied for my attention this morning at the farmers’ market, so I did what any sensible person would do. I bought all of them. Moving on to the local ranch’s stall displaying their glistening meat, I  continued my spree and snagged 2 seriously soft and richly marbled rib eye steaks, each weighing in at nearly 1 pound each. I wasn’t sure exactly how I would put our dinner together, but I knew it would be magnificent with these fresh and earthy ingredients.

Warm Steak and Farro Salad with Roasted Beets, Onions and Chickpeas
Serves 4

3 medium golden beets, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch batons or wedges
1 large sweet yellow onion, halved lengthwise, each half thickly sliced in wedges
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups farro
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
2 or 3 rib eye steaks, about 1 inch thick
1/2 cup shelled fresh chick peas
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
Sriracha (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C. Toss the beets and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven until beets are tender and onions are beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the farro: Combine the stock, farro and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the farro is tender but still chewy, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil,  garlic, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Partially cover to keep warm.
Prepare the steaks: Season the steaks all over with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add steaks, without overcrowding, and cook until brown on both sides, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Cut steaks crosswise in 1/2 inch thick slices.
While the steaks are resting, add the fresh chickpeas to the skillet and briefly saute over medium heat until their color brightens, 1 to 2 minutes.
To serve, spoon the farro into the center of a serving platter or divide among serving plates. Arrange steak in the center of the farro and drizzle with any accumulated juices. Place the vegetables around the steak and drizzle with any accumulated baking juices. Scatter the chickpeas over. Garnish with fresh tarragon. If desired drizzle with more olive oil. Serve warm with Sriracha sauce on the side.

Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets, Wheat Berries and Goat Cheese


~ Yellow Beets, Wheat Berries, Goat Cheese, Chervil, Winter Greens ~

I used to hate beets. Now I can’t get enough of them. Perhaps I am scrambling to make up for all of those lost beet-eating years when I shuddered at the thought of tasting the earthy beet. Now that I am a covert, I always have a bunch of beets in my refrigerator, ready to accompany a roasting chicken or stir into a couscous or rice pilaf. Beets’ murky sweetness also adds a fresh foil to grains and salads, working especially well when matched with other strong flavors like bitter greens or tangy citrus. In this recipe they team up with healthy wheat berries and a mix of peppery, sharp greens. A shower of chervil adds a complementary anise note to this wintry salad.

Mixed Greens and Beet Salad with Wheat Berries and Goat Cheese

Don’t discard the pan juices from the roasted beets in olive oil. Once cool it makes a lovely dressing for the beets. Serves 4.

4 medium golden (or red) beets, about 1 pound
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt
6 cups mixed greens, such as arugula, chicory, mizuna, red oak lettuce
1/3 cup cooked wheat berries (or farro)
1/2 cup fresh chervil sprigs
3 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese
1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper

Roast the beets:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Trim ends of beets and scrub clean; throughly dry. Place beets in an oven-proof rimmed pan or pot with a lid. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Cover pot with lid or aluminum foil. Bake until beets are tender but not too soft, 50 minutes – 1 hour. Remove from oven. Transfer beets to a cutting board and cool. Reserve cooking liquid in pot. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel away skins. Slice 1/4 inch thick and place in a bowl. Whisk 2 tablespoons lemon juice and salt into reserved beet juice. Drizzle the beet juice over the beets and gently toss to coat.

Assemble salad:
Arrange greens on a serving plate. Sprinkle wheat berries over the greens and arrange beets over the salad. Scatter with chervil and sprinkle goat cheese over the salad. Drizzle any remaining beet juice over the greens. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over the salad, to taste. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If you like this you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Beet Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme
Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian
Farrotto with Shitake Mushrooms and Beets

Roasted Beets with Feta, Mint and Pistachios


~ Red Beets, Pistachios, Feta, Mint, Arugula ~

You would never know that I was once a beet-hater. Now, it seems that I can’t eat enough of them. While I still prefer the milder yellow beets, I am happy to declare that I enjoy the earthy red ones as well. I like to serve red beets dressed in vinaigrettes, with citrus and other bold ingredients to temper their earthiness. In this salad, feta, mint and pistachios are formidable accompaniments to the beets, lending salt, fragrance and nuttiness, perfectly complementing my new beet friends. It’s a  beautiful dish to look at, easy to prepare and an elegant first course or simple meal. The beets may be roasted and dressed up to one day in advance and left to marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Roasted Beets with Feta, Mint and Pistachios
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds beets
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
4 cups arugula, washed and dried
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or goat cheese)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, cut in chiffonade
1/4 cup raw pistachios

Preheat oven to 400 F. (200 C.) Wrap beets in foil and roast in oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove and cool.
While the beets are roasting, whisk oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Add shallots and stir to combine; set aside.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Cut the beets in 1 inch chunks and place in a large bowl. Add all of the shallots (use a fork to fish them out) and half of the dressing to the beets. Gently toss to combine. (Beets may be prepared in advance to this point. Refrigerate up to one day. Reserve remaining vinaigrette).  Before serving, toss the arugula with some of the remaining vinaigrette to taste. Arrange on individual serving plates or platter. Spoon beets in the center of the arugula. Scatter feta, mint and pistachios over the salad.

If you like this you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian
Mixed Greens with Cranberries and Pistachios
Kale Slaw

or these recipes from the food blogs:
Rosemary Roasted Beets from Guilty Kitchen
Warm Golden Beet Salad with Greens and Almonds from the Kitchn
Golden Beet Tartare from Herbivoracious

Farrotto with Shiitake Mushrooms and Beets

You know, I could just call this Farro with Shiitake Mushrooms and Beets, but Farrotto sounds much more fun.  Farrotto?  Yes, if you switch out the rice from risotto with farro, then you end up with farrotto,  a grain steeped in stock – minus the requirement for non-stop stirring. Another difference from rice based risotto, is that farro has a pleasingly chewy texture, never succumbing to mushiness. Each nutty whole wheat grain maintains its shape,  exuding earthy wholesomeness. You can’t help feeling healthy when you eat it.

Farro has an ancient pedigree, originating in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Also known as emmer, and compared to spelt, farro is a species of wheat, high in fiber and rich in protein and B vitamins. It’s delicious in salads, pilafs, breads, soups and stews. If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s healthy, economical and delicious.

Farrotto with Shitake Mushrooms and Beets

Golden beets add a sweet and nutty complement to the earthy mushrooms and farro in this healthy, satisfying dish. Serves 4-6.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 shallot, minced
1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups farro, rinsed and drained
2 cups chicken stock (or water for vegetarian option)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2-3 medium yellow beets, peeled, cut in 1/4 inch dice
Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

Optional: Crumbled feta cheese for garnish

Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet or large saucepan. Add shallot and sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté until they soften, 2 minutes. Add garlic and stir briefly until fragrant. Add farro and cook, stirring to coat the grains and prevent sticking, 1-2 minutes. Add chicken stock, soy sauce and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until farro is tender but chewy, about 20 minutes. (Add additional chicken stock 1/4 cup at a time, if necessary to achieve desired consistency.)
While the farro is cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add beets and sprinkle with salt. Sauté until tender and golden brown, 6-8 minutes.
To serve, toss farro with the beets and parlsey. If using feta, sprinkle over the farro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Kale, Bulgur and Carrot Salad
Pearl Couscous Salad
Kale Slaw

or these farro recipes from the food blogs:
Springtime Farro with Baby Artichokes from Foodblogga
Butternut Squash Farro with Pancetta from Bitchin’ Camero
Kale with Farro from Chez Us

Beet Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme

Beet Gratin
Beet Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme

I am a beet convert. It took a good long time for me to reconcile with their earthy taste. I gazed at beets from the sidelines, attracted to their vibrant magenta and ochre hues, cognizant of their nutrient-rich flesh, yet I shuddered at their redolence of dirt. As a cook, I wanted to love them. As a parent, I wanted to serve them. So, I willed myself to eat beets until I learned to appreciate them.

At first, I took baby steps. I nibbled small bites. I  paired them with limes and oranges, letting the acidity of the citrus tame their earthiness. I grew bolder and roasted beets in olive oil, discovering that fire and char nicely counteracted their dirt-like flavor. My go-to beet became the golden variety, which is pleasantly mild and nuttier in taste. And, eventually, I succeeded. Now, I am a fully fledged beet eater. I order beets in restaurants, and I cook with them. Yet while I no longer shudder at eating a completely naked beet, I continually craft recipes that embrace the beet while tempering their earthy nature.

This recipe for Beet Gratin does just that. It’s unambigous in its ingredients, allowing the beets to shine through in a cast of minimal characters. Yet the co-stars of the dish happen to have their own strength and assertiveness, helping to tone down any earthy qualities that might be lurking in each bite. The layers of beets are thinly cloaked in olive oil. Gruyère cheese is sprinkled between the beets along with fresh thyme and a trace of nutmeg. The presentation is simple and absent of any gratin goopyness. The beets release their juices while cooking, saturating the gratin with their brilliant color, while the flavors meld together. When I made this, it was so good, everyone at the table was reaching for seconds. As a cook and a parent, I find that a very good thing.

Beet Gratin with Gruyère and Thyme

I prepared this recipe in individual ramekins. A gratin dish will also work for family style serving. Red beets, golden beets or a combination may be used.

Unsalted butter
4 medium-sized red beets, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
Ground nutmeg
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Butter 4 ramekins. Thinly slice beets with a mandoline. Arrange one layer of sliced beets in each ramekin (one slice may fit perfectly.) Lightly brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with cheese, a little thyme and a pinch of nutmeg. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat layering process until ramekins are full, pressing down lightly. Bake in oven until gratins are bubbling, cheese is golden and beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Serve warm with fresh thyme sprigs as garnish.

If you like this you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:

Spiced Sweet Potato Fries tf Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Acorn Squash Roasted Spiced Acorn Squash with Cilantro and Lime

or these beet recipes from the foodblogs:
Beet Hummus from Simply Recipes
Beet Salad from Wright Food
Pickled Beet Dip from A Veggie Venture
Chilled Corn and Golden Beet Soup from No Recipes

Roasted Red Beet, Blood Orange and Ginger Soup with Orange Crème Fraîche

Red Beet Blood Orange Soup

Beets: I cannot help but be seduced by their brilliant color and their nutritional riches, yet their flavor has proven a more trying relationship. Perhaps I have been marred by unfortunate events in my past involving pickled versions in bottles that were redolent of, well, dirt.  This aversion has kept me at arm’s length from the enjoyment of these visually evocative root vegetables, and, ultimately, has been my loss. So, recently I decided to take matters into my own hands and learn how to love beets.

I began by roasting them. The roasting process seems to tame the beet’s unique earthiness, especially when combined with salt, olive oil and a little garlic. I then moved on to salads and found that beets work well when they are one component of many and combined with other distinctive flavors and textures: walnuts, ricotta salata, arugula and mint, for example. After some experimenting with composing salads with beets, I was emboldened. My next step was to make a soup. Looking to the salad for inspiration, I blended beets with several strong-flavored ingredients, paying attention to the balance of sweet, sour, and spice. I chose bold tastes I love, and that is how I arrived at Roasted Red Beet, Blood Orange and Ginger Soup. The beets were present in flavor, but not overpowering. Their earthiness was tamped down by the brightness of citrus and the spiciness of ginger. Chile pepper added a kick and honey sweetened and smoothed out the soup. Topped with a cooling dollop of orange infused crème fraîche, the soup was exciting and fresh, giving the sense of multi-textures, even though it was puréed. The only overpowering presentation of the beets was in the soup’s intense magenta color – which is one thing I have always loved about beets.

Roasted Red Beet, Blood Orange and Ginger Soup with Orange Crème Fraîche

Orange juice may be substituted for the blood orange juice. The soup is best served warm (not hot) or at room temperature with a dollop of cool crème fraîche.  Serves 3-4.

4 large red beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 small serrano chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, chopped, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup water
1 cup blood orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus additional whole leaves for garnish

Orange Crème Fraîche (recipe below)
2 blood orange slices, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 F. Trim the tops and ends of the beets. Place in a baking dish and fill water up to 1″ in bottom of dish. Roast beets in oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove and cool. Peel off skin and cut beets in chunks.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until nearly translucent without coloring, about 3 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and serrano chile; sauté 30 seconds. Add beets and water. Cover and simmer 10 minutes; the vegetables should be very soft. Cool slightly. Transfer to food processor or blender. Add orange juice and purée until smooth. Return to saucepan. (If soup is too thick, thin to desired consistency with additional orange juice. It should not be too thin.) Stir in lime juice and honey. Add salt and pepper and taste to adjust seasoning. Serve warm or at room temperature. Before serving stir in 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves. Ladle into bowls. Top with a spoonful of Orange Crème Fraîche. Garnish with whole cilantro leaves and a slice of blood orange.


Orange Crème Fraîche:

1/2 cup crème fraîche (or Greek-style whole milk yogurt)
2 tablespoons orange juice
Combine crème fraîche and orange juice in small bowl. Serve with soup.