Mid summer means the weather is getting hotter, and the days are long. People are enjoying time outside at the beach, traveling, or grilling in their own backyard. The summer has had plenty of rain this year, and the neighborhood foliage and flowers are thriving. One of my favorite summer activities is sitting in the shade of the trees in my building’s courtyard with a glass of lemonade, filled to the brim with ice cubes. The warm weather also means that the farm share is booming.
One of the most popular mid summer vegetables to come are beets. Beets have a distinctly sweet and earthy taste. Beet greens are also unique with a bitter and spicy flavor. Beets can be almost too sweet for me on their own, but are wonderful as an ingredient to a larger meal. One way to easily use this vegetable is to make pesto. Yes, it is another pesto recipe, but root vegetable pestos are a distinct version of this classic sauce. The sweetness of the root vegetable pairs wonderfully with the cheese and salt. It is a great base for dishes like pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches. The pesto can also be used immediately or frozen for later in the year. Try this beet pesto for a new take on the classic sauce.
Roasted Beet Pesto
Adapted from the recipe on The Roasted Root
Makes 1 cup
- 3-4 small beets, about 3/4 cup chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1/3 cup fatty nuts such as walnuts or pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Wash and trim the stem and thin root from the beets. Lay an aluminum sheet down and place the beets on top of the sheet. Drizzle the beets with olive oil and toss to coat. Lift the corners of the foil and fold together to make a tightly sealed packet. Roast the beet packet for 30-40 minutes or until beets are tender. Let the beets cool completely. Remove the beets from the packet and peel off the skin using a spoon edge or a paring knife.
Toast the nuts in a dry skillet stirring or tossing often until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Let the nuts cool completely. Add the beets, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to a blender. Pulse the blender to roughly chop the mixture. Starting with a tablespoon at a time, add the olive oil and pulse to blend completely. Continue adding olive oil in a steady stream until all the oil is used. Scrape down the sides and mix every once in a while. Blend the beets until a smooth puree is formed. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend until smooth. Use immediately, refrigerate, or freeze for later. The pesto will last for a few days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.
Bonus Sketchie! USK Boston
The Reservoir at dusk