Roasted Beets and Feta

Roasted beets aren’t anything new.  They proudly made hands red and puckered faces for the longest time then their cousins showed up and stole the show.  Along came the golden one and not far behind, the heirloom Chioggia.  These two made an impression but there’s just something about the rich garnet color of the workhorse; the red beet.

Yes your hands can end up rosy red removing the skin but I’ve got the process down now to minimize the damage.  So much so that red beets frequently take center stage.

The hubby wouldn’t go near them at first due to scars from having pickled beets forced on him as a kid.  I promised these are different, that roasting brings out a mellow sweetness.

He slowly and cautiously brought the fork to his mouth and sniffed.  My response, “Just try the darn thing!”  Now, when in season, beets frequent our house.

This warm salad like dish is quick and simple with a Greek twist- perfect for a light summer dinner and a chilled glass of dry riesling.  You can make it with golden (milder taste) or Chioggia (sweeter) beets too.

If you’re in the mood for something different, try this magenta pasta.

Roasted Beets and Greens with Feta

What you need for two people:

4 to 6 small to medium red beets and their greens

A small yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

Fresh oregano, chopped (a heaping tablespoon / 10ml)

Fresh thyme (about 2 teaspoons / 15ml)

A lemon

Your favorite olive oil (1 to 2 tablespoons / 15 to 30 ml)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Crumbled feta cheese (about ¼ cup / 56g)

Kalamata olives (to eat while you cook)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cut the greens and stems from your beets.  Wash the beets and wrap them in foil.  Place on a sheet pan or casserole and roast for 20 minutes, or until soft when a knife is inserted.

While the beets roast, wash the greens.  Cut the greens into ½-inch wide strips and place in a bowl.  You can use the stems too if you want.  Cut them into small pieces, a ¼-inch or so, and put into another bowl.  Set both aside.

Chop the onion into small pieces (small dice).  You can also use any of the onion types you find at the farmer’s market these days (torpedo, spring).

Mince the garlic and set aside.

When the beets are done, remove from the oven and let sit on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes, no longer.  Take a few pieces of paper towel or a kitchen towel you don’t care about.  Hold the beet in one hand with a towel, then with the other hand, wipe the towel over the side of the beet.  The skin should come off easily.  You may get a little red on your hands the first time you do this.  When done peeling all beets, cut them into bite sized pieces and set aside in a bowl.

Add some olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and chopped stems (if using).  Sauté 3 minutes then add the garlic.  Cook until the onions turn translucent and the stems soften a bit.

Add the chopped greens and stir.  Cook a few minutes, season with ½ teaspoon salt, a few twists of black pepper, then pour a splash of white wine (or the open riesling you’re drinking) in the pan.  Cover the pan and cook a few minutes longer.

Uncover, sprinkle the oregano and thyme on top then stir the mixture.  If the greens start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a splash more wine and stir.

At this point, the greens should be just about done.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if desired.  If not done to your liking, cook a few more minutes.  I like my greens just barely al dente.

When done, add the cut up beets, squeeze the juice of a quarter to half a lemon over the mixture, sprinkle the feta on top and stir to combine.  Drizzle with a tablespoon of good quality olive oil.

Enjoy with a baguette, your favorite bread or pita bread quarters.  I also like to serve hummus or baba ganoush on the side, which makes a vegetarian, lighter meal.

Tip of the day: Beets are supper healthy!

  • 6 grams of fiber in one cup
  • Contain potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, choline, folate and betaine (an antioxidant that prevents the growth of cancerous tumors).
  • They combat acidity with their alkalinity and can help with constipation.

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