There once was a time when I despised even the thought of beets! I think my distaste for them was the result of only ever having them fresh out of the can! Ewwww…that certainly would leave a “bad taste” in one’s mouth! When I joined my CSA & started receiving them by the box-load, I had no choice give them a chance! It was when I discovered these lovely beets fresh from Suzie’s Farm that my perspective shifted & my love for them grew…
What is not to love about beets? These colorful root veggies contain powerful nutrients that help protect against heart disease, birth defects & certain cancers. Beets are also rich in folate, antioxidants, & potassium. In addition, they’re are an excellent source of digestive-supportive dietary fiber, free radical scavenging vitamin C and copper, bone-healthy magnesium, & energy-producing iron & phosphorus. Let’s not forget about beet greens! Yes, you can eat them & you absolutely should! They are incredibly rich in nutrients, concentrated in vitamins, mineral & beta-carotene.
I especially love golden beets & think they taste bit sweeter & milder, & certainly aren’t as messy in the kitchen, as the red variety! I picked some up on my last trip to the farmers’ market & had intended to make this soup from The PPK. But when I forgot to pick up veggie broth & lite coconut milk from TJ’s, I had to come up with plan B! I looked through a couple of salad recipes, considered roasting them, etc., but then came across this recipe which sounded yummy & I loved that it incorporated the beet greens! I veganized it, made a few other slight modifications & came up with this…
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, quartered lengthwise through root end, & sliced crosswise
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunches golden beets with fresh healthy greens; beets peeled & each cut into wedges, greens cut into 1-inch-wide strips
- 6 ounces whole wheat penne (or desired shape)
- ¼ cup grated vegan Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
- Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts & stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. oil & onions to same skillet & sauté until beginning to soften and turn golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low & continue to sauté until onions are tender & browned, about 10-15 minutes more. Add garlic & stir 2 minutes. Scatter beet greens over onions. Drizzle remaining Tbsp. oil over; cover & cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook whole beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beets to medium bowl. Allow to cool. Once cooled, peel & slice into wedges. Set aside.
- Return water to boil. Add pasta to beet cooking liquid & cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.
- Stir onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Add pasta cooking liquid by ¼ cupfuls to moisten. Season with salt & coarsely ground black pepper. Stir vegan Parmesan cheese. Divide pasta among shallow bowls. Sprinkle with walnuts. Serve!
This pasta dish turned out really nicely! I loved the salty bite of the vegan Parm with the sweetness of the beets & caramelized onions. The tender greens gave a nice balance to the hearty pasta. I think next time I might add some lemon juice & zest to the steamed greens for an extra bit of bright summery flavor. Enjoy!