Yield: 8 appetizer servings
A beautiful bunch of beets at the farmers market inspired this tasty trio. I couldn’t decide how I wanted to prepare them, so I created three recipes, as delicious individually as they are together.
(In the photo, I combined some of the rich green pesto with a little vegan sour cream for color contrast with the sautéed greens. However, the pesto is fantastic on its own. When I serve the crostini with the pesto, I typically seve the sautéed greens on the side so that the dark green pesto sits right on top of the brilliant fuscia spread.)
Beet Green Pesto:
4 ounces beet greens, stemmed
1 large clove garlic, halved
4 ounces roasted and lightly salted cashews
Sea salt to taste (don’t skimp; the bitterness of these greens requires ample salt)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil or enough to create the desired consistence
Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and process until fintely chopped. With motor running, stream in olive oil, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.
4-2 to 3 ounce fresh beets (trimmed weight), peeled and quartered
2 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Optional: 1 teaspoon ground sumac (a middle eastern spice that lends an earthy, slightly lemony flavor)
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, except olive oil, and pulse until very finely chopped, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. With motor running, stream in olive oil and process until as smooth as desired.
Sauteed Beet Greens with Chickpeas:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 ounces beet greens, stemmed, and torn or rough-chopped into approximately 2-inch pieces
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1-15.5 ounce can chick peas, rinsed and drained
Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high. Add onion, a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add beet greens, another pinch of salt and sugar. Saute, stirring constantly, for another 3 minutes or until slightly wilted. Stir in chickpeas and heat through, stirring. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Spread a little Beet Spread on toasted bread and top with some of the Sautéed Beet Greens and a dollop of Beet Pesto (whisked into an equal part sour cream for color contrast, if you like). Or serve the greens on the side and dollop the pesto directly on top of the spread.