Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian

I find it impossible to resist beets. Their colors are magnificent – it’s a miracle that nature can provide something edible that is so vibrantly hued. With the vivid color, of course, comes nutrients. Beets are a nutritional powerhouse, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and beta-carotene. I purchased these beets at the farmers’ market, without knowing how I would prepare them. I was happy to simply look at them.

Prompted by a batch of fluffy ricotta in my fridge, I decided to layer the yellow beets with the cheese as a riff on lasagna, with the beet slices replacing the lasagna sheets. Yellow beets are milder in flavor than red beets, and their nutty, buttery flavor wouldn’t overpower the cheese. I also feared the red beets would completely saturate the dish with their magenta color, which, while lovely to look at, threatened to irrevocably tint my pristine ricotta. This is a visually motivated dish.

Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Serves 4; Makes one (8-inch) tian or 4 individual ramekins

1 pound yellow beets (about 4 medium)
12 ounces whole milk fresh ricotta, drained of excess liquid
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Trim the greens and ends of the beets and peel the skin. Thinly slice the beets, preferably with a mandoline, about 1/8-inch thick.
  3. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, basil, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and the black pepper in a bowl and whisk to blend.
  4. Arrange the beets in one layer, slightly overlapping, in an 8-inch diameter gratin dish (or 4 individual ramekins). Lightly brush the beets with olive oil. Smear a layer of the ricotta over the beets. Repeat the layering process, finishing with a thin layer of ricotta on the top (some of the beets should be showing). There should be about 4 layers. Sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese over the tian.
  5. Transfer to the oven and cook until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 50 minutes. If the top begins to brown before the beets are fully cooked, loosely cover with foil. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature garnished with fresh chopped basil.

23 thoughts on “Roasted Yellow Beet and Ricotta Tian

  1. Beautiful – a latecomer to beets, I always look for them in the markets…I learned to wear surgical gloves when preparing red beets! Your tian looks so tempting and I’ll bet the layers are colorful as well.

  2. Beautiful dish… I like the idea of quickly blanching the beets, will look for some at the grocery store, maybe use a mixture of red and yellow….

  3. This sounds and looks absolutely delicious. I’m so impressed with your photographs, and feel I learn something new about food photography each time I visit….if only I could find a way to translate that knowledge to my work. – S

  4. I love beetroots in every colour & I am a big fan of fresh ricotta but I only use fresh speep’s ricotta!

    What a tasty & fabulously looking meal!

  5. That’s so lovely. I wonder if my husband might like beets if he tried the yellow ones. Thanks for the link!

  6. I much prefer yellow beets to red. I like the flavor, and not having to spend 15 minutes brushing my teeth to remove beet stain. The lemon and ricotta should go perfectly. I must have this now…

  7. Farmers markets do that to me to. I want to pick up everything that I see and take it with me, with a recipe in mind or not. This is a wonderful dish. Thank you.

  8. Oh my god that looks divine. just by looking at it is making me hungry. i bet it is a great dish on a cold day, but that’s just my opinion. it is definitely something on my list for this weekend.

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