I saw a pizza online last week with BEET PESTO, kale and goat cheese, and my heart almost exploded. I am in the middle of a pretty serious love affair with beets, and I will put pesto on just about anything. So how I have never thought to make pesto with beets is mind boggling Not to mention, you say goat cheese, kale, and pizza and i’m on board in a heartbeet (see what I did there? See that? Lol yeah, I’m pretty clever). Thankfully, I was up at Knee Deep Farm this past weekend. My sister Eliza and her husband Shane (and two beautiful baby farmers) have the most wonderful farm up in Jeffersonville, VT just minutes from Smuggler’s Notch (make sure to check out their site for more delicious recipes, veggie storage tips & blog!). Living in the city, you sometimes forget how quiet and beautiful it is in the country, you lose touch with where your food comes from, how it is grown, who is growing it, and what care is being put into the quality of the produce you are receiving. You go grocery shopping, sometimes looking for the best price, not always taking the time to look at where it is coming from. I’m ashamed to say that I find myself doing that too often, and each time I visit the farm, I am reminded of the importance of supporting local small farmers and small businesses. So before I go into the recipe…I am encouraging you all, to do one of the following (or both): 1) Join a CSA, get fresh produce and support a local farm – there are a ton out there that have pick-up locations in somerville/cambridge! Go to your local farmer’s market – they are EVERYWHERE! 2) If you have never been to a farm, GO TO ONE! How many of you have actually SEEN your vegetables before they are picked? That sounds strange…but it’s a valid question for so many people who live in the city! Do you know what kale looks like when it grows? What about green beans? Asparagus? You’re an adult. It’s about time you see these things (my sister is probably laughing at the thought of this, since my 3 year old niece could educate most of us on how our vegetables grow).
I used choiggia beets (straight from Knee Deep Farm – as was the garlic and herbs…have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have farmers in the family??), but any beet will do. The Choiggia beet is a bit sweeter, doesn’t have the bright red color – which usually turns my kitchen into a murder scene, and the chioogias aren’t quite as “earthy” tasting in my opinion. Even if you aren’t a “beet person” – this recipe will change your mind, I promise. When I made this, I planned on just making the flatbread with kale & goat cheese, but ended up also having it on toast with a poached egg on it for breakfast, and then again on flatbread with spinach, goat cheese, onion and egg on it, and have every intention of putting it on a sandwich as a spread. I’m only wishing I made more in the first batch!! Good thing I was sent home from the farm with WAY more beets than I requested!
Okay – now onto the recipe:
1c. Beets, chopped and roasted
3 small – medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (depending on your love for garlic)
¼ c. walnuts
¼ c. pine nuts
½ c. parmesan cheese, grated
½ c. olive oil
2T lemon juice
salt to taste
1T Fresh Rosemary
1T fresh Thyme
-Preheat oven to 375
-Prep beets: wash, scrub, and pat dry. Chop them into ½ -ish inch cubes and place in pan or on aluminum foil/baking sheet.
-Roast beets for about 40-50 min, check on them towards the end – a fork should slide into them easily when done – but not total mush.
-Allow beets to cool completely
-Put all ingredients except oil into food processor (or blender if that’s what you have)
-Slowly add in the oil while processor is running. If you cannot keep the processor running and add ingredients, just add the oil in small batches.
-You can play with the consistency – if it feels/tastes too dry, you can add a bit more oil, or even a little water to soften it up a bit
Below are the flatbreads I baked up with the beet pesto. They may not be that pretty, but I didn’t look at them too long because I devoured them faster than I thought possible.