I love beets.
I love their rich dark colour.
I love their sweetness.
I love their earthy aroma.
I love its nourishment.
I love how it warms me after I’ve eaten it.
I love to see them growing in my garden.
I love that every part of the beet can be used.
I love the taste of their flesh, stems and tops.
I love every bit of the beet.
I think beets are one of those foods that people either love or hate. There doesn’t seem to be an in between. They can be rather distinct and strong in flavour but there are many different ways to prepare beets.
You could juice them.
You could just use the tops and make it as you would spinach. I love to saute them with a little garlic (sub powder), salt, pepper and lemon juice.
You could boil them, add them to salads either raw or boiled and sliced, make a soup, make chips, etc…
I decided to make a risotto with them.
If you’ve never made or had a risotto before, it uses Arborio rice which is a short grained starchy rice that when cooked creates a creamy consistency.
I used Vegetable stock in this recipe. It’s important to note that whatever veggie stock you may use that it not be tomato based. Tomato is a strong flavour that you don’t want interfering with the beet flavour.
When looking for beets I try to find the ones with the perkiest, firmest and the most greens (as you would for lettuce)
Beet Risotto (with Beet Greens and Nutty Parm)
- 1 small bunch of beets with greens, cleaned, tops chopped off at the base of the stem, leaves separated from the stem and put aside.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tbsp earth balance spread or butter
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 5-6 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup nutty parm
- 1 cup white mushrooms, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the beets: Clean them with a veggie brush under cold water, peel off rough parts and dice into about 1 cm pieces. Separate the stem from the leaves and chop into 1 cm pieces.
- Prepare the veggie stock (if using bouillon) set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat, add the earth balance spread, 1 tablespoon water, diced onion, diced beets and chopped stems. Once that has softened a bit (about 5 minutes) add the rice and stir to coat. Add 1 cup of stock, stirring constantly. Once that is absorbed add a cup more of the stock and stir in. Continue in this way until stock is used and the rice has cooked through reaching a creamy consistency. Add 1/2 cup nutty parm.
- Garnish with crispy mushrooms, sautéed beet greens and nutty parm.
To make the crispy mushrooms: dice the mushrooms to about 1 cm pieces and saute in pan with 1 tsp oil until crispy. Season with salt and pepper.
Sautéed beet greens: heat a little oil in heated pan, add washed beet greens to pan and turn with tongs, once wilted slightly add a tablespoon lemon juice, about 1/2 tsp garlic powder or fresh garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again and remove from heat.
Nutty Parm: take 1 cup raw walnuts shelled, 1 cup raw sunflower seeds in a heated non-stick pan and toast. Watch carefully as they can go from lightly browned to burnt quickly, continuously toss as they are heated. Once nicely browned remove from heat and add into food processor. Add 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and pulse until coarse grains remain. Seal in an air tight container in the fridge.