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Zox Kitchen

Zox Kitchen: October 17, 2013

Beets—The Sweetest Vegetable In The Garden

Grandma loved her beets. She loved growing them. Boiling them. And, making borscht soup with them. We enjoyed them as well. But beets are not everyone’s favorite. Some say it’s too red, or too bland in soup by itself or too earthy. All maybe true. Nonetheless the vegetable became one of our household favorites, even though we didn’t always prepare the beets Grandma’s style. Like many “family favorites”, it seems as though you grow up with them or know them best through friends. Eggplant for example, was a vegetable I first tasted at the home of Italian friends when they served eggplant Parmigiana; but I never ate one at my own home. Beets were the same for my friends. Red beet Borscht was a soup only available at my home, I was told.

Today it has become a “fave rave” for many foodies and others who merely enjoy eating them. The vegetable seems to capture the essence of flavor—earthy and sweet, delightful and delicious. And when you roast them, the sugars of the beets come to the surface in a flavor that is almost too excessive yet wonderful as well in small doses. Experimenting with roasted beets in the kitchen to reduce the excessive sweetness the vegetable can evoke especially when roasted makes it more accessible to the palate. Author and chef Deborah Madison suggests that adding acids, sour creams, or goat cheese, and I would add certain grains and greens, all together or separately in combination with beets help relieve any discomfort that may be felt from eating sugar beets by themselves. Here is one way to make beets tastier and less cloying to the palate.

Roasted Beets With Quinoa & Greek Yogurt

4 steamed and roasted large to medium red beets cut into quarters; steam for 15 minutes; remove, mix with a tsp of extra virgin olive oil, a dash of salt and roast in aluminum foil for an additional 20 minutes until a knife can easily be inserted. (This technique  to steam and roast reduces the overall cooking time of the beets.)        

1 cup Quinoa with 1 cup boiling water

½ tsp kosher salt

1 ounce butter

1 bunch chopped watercress

½ cup jicama, cut into batons 3 inches long and 1 inch wide

½ cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped


Assemble ingredients as a side dish, a salad or as an entrée. Place the quinoa in the center of the dish. Cut the beets into eights and disperse along with the jicama on top of the quinoa. Next place a dollop of yogurt on top with chopped watercress and walnuts sprinkled over the entire dish. Enjoy.

Note: Another way to prepare the dish is to leave the yogurt off and to dress the beets, jicama, watercress and quinoa or bulgur wheat with your favorite vinaigrette or merely dress with juice and zest of one lemon. Mangia!