Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beet Salsa, Beet Leaves - Oh My!

When Christopher and I were on our honeymoon, it seemed as though beets were in EVERYTHING we were served.  Beets on eggs for breakfast, beets on our salad at lunch, beets as a side for dinner.  I found myself wondering when I would get my beet dessert! ;)

I have always been a BIG fan of beets, but tend to forget about them when out at the farmer's market.

This past weekend, I did not make that mistake.  I found the most luscious bunch of medium sized beets, picked them up for $1, and started searching for the perfect beet experience for the week.

I didn't want to have a traditional beet experience this week.  I love the fantastic sweet flavor, but I wanted more from my beets this time.  When searching the internet for recipes, I stopped in my tracks when I found the below Rachel Ray Beet Salsa recipe.  Spicy Beets?  No way!

The difference betwen Rachel and I is that I prefer to go as home-cooked as possible.  Rachel tells you to use beets from a can, but my recipe calls for roasting the beets yourself.  This way, the beets are farm-fresh (literally) with more flavor and you can save the leaves!

Beet Salsa

1 traditional-sized bunch of  roasted beets (4-5 medium or 2-3 large beets in the bunch), finely chopped
1 lemon juiced and zested (you can trade the lemon for a lime if you wish)
1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup greek yogurt (Rachel says sour cream, but greek yogurt is better for you!)
1 jalapeno, finely chopped or a few drops of hot sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

To roast the beets, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Chop the leaves off your beets and save them!  Do not throw them out.  You can chop of the long bottom of the beet now, or after you roast.  Cover each beet in olive oil and tightly wrap them in foil.  Place the beets on a cooking sheet and pop them in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  The cooking time depends on the size of the beet.
*You can cook the beets without wrapping them in foil, but use extra olive oil. 

Let the beets sit until they are cool, remove the skins and then chop them for the salsa.
*You can remove the skins easily by shimmying a paper towel around the beet.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve.  Delicious!

I served my beet salsa on perogis, but it would go well with chips, or spread on crackers, maybe even on a salad!

I also learned during my beet recipe explorations that beet leaves are edible and SUPER good for you!  I never knew!  With my newfound knowledge, I kept the beet leaves and cooked them with mushrooms as a side dish last night. 

The beet leaves are much like kale in texture, but they taste a little spicier.  Below is an easy beet leaves recipe that we loved.

Beet Leaves & Mushrooms

Leaves from one bunch of beets, washed, drained  and stems removed
2 portobello mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1/4 cup of olive oil in the pan
1/4 cup red wine
few shakes of nutmeg
lots of peeper
teeny bit of salt

Put the olive oil in the pan.  Add the garlic and let cook for 3 minutes, discard.  Toss in mushrooms and cook them until browned (5 minutes-ish).  Then add the leaves, red wine, and nutmeg.  Let that all cook until the leaves are tender.  Add pepper and salt.  Serve!

I am so excited about learning that beets can be so versitle and holy yummy beet leaves.  More, for $1 we had two fantastic additions to two different meals.

YAY beets!



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