I am terribly fond of roasted beets. In fact, I would eat them daily if beets weren’t so darn expensive. There is something about the roasting process that turns an ordinary beet into something extraordinary. The heat of the oven caramelizes the sugars within the beet as it roasts, creating a subtly sweet tender vegetable that is truly irresistible. I recently splurged at Whole Foods after finding a selection of three varieties of beets, that included ordinary red beets, Golden beets, and Chioggia beets. If you aren’t familiar with Chioggia beets, they are striped red and white beets that are very pretty when sliced. As soon as I spied this beet bonanza, I envisioned a platter of gorgeous roasted beets drizzled with a pesto made with pistachios, parsley and basil, and then topped with a sprinkling of blue cheese crumbles. The pungent flavor of blue cheese works well with the earthy sweetness of roasted beets, and in my mind, pesto is great on just about anything!
I roasted my beets, allowed them to cool, and when I sliced them, I found that my Chioggia beets were missing their stripes and were in fact either plain white or pink inside. Oh well, they still tasted great and helped create a colorful platter. This beet dish would be a great starter or holiday side dish although we also enjoyed leftovers the day after for lunch with some crusty Italian bread. I combined basil and parsley in this pesto, but mint is also a great addition. The pesto recipe makes just over a cup of pesto, so you will have some leftover to use later.
Deborah Mele Revised 2021
For The Beets:
- 2 1/2 Pounds Medium Sized Beets, Trimmed But Unpeeled (Mixed or One Variety)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
For The Pesto:
- 1 Cup Packed Fresh Basil
- 3/4 Cup Fresh Parsley (or Mint)
- 1 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Roasted Pistachios
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- Salt & Pepper, To Taste
- 4 Tablespoons Coarsely Chopped Roasted Pistachios
- 1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Fresh Parsley, Basil, or Mint Leaves As Garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and place beets on a foil lined baking sheet.
- Bake the beets until they are tender when pierced with a knife.
- Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Use a sharp knife to peel the beets and cut into 1/4 inch slices/
- Drizzle with the olive oil and arrange on a platter.
- Place the basil, parsley, 3/4 of the oil, pistachios, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is coarsely blended. (You do not want a smooth mixture, but one with some texture).
- Taste the pesto and adjust seasonings as needed, and add the remaining oil.
- Drizzle about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the pesto (depending on your taste), then sprinkle with the chopped pistachios and garnish with the fresh herb leaves.
- Serve at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 634Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 440mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 7gSugar: 17gProtein: 12g