To Beets, with Love.
A few weekends ago I spent a very warm Saturday afternoon making lunch – washing, peeling, chopping, stirring and roasting – taking advantage of the few hours of calm that we had in the middle of a busy weekend. My husband eagerly stepped in and out of the kitchen, anxious for a big, homecooked meal.
When the food was finally ready he sat down eagerly at the table and I came over with a large platter piled high with a roasted beet and kohlrabi salad served on sauteed beet greens and topped with fluffy goat cheese.
He turned to me, a bewildered look in his eyes, and asked, “Where’s the meat?”
“You don’t need meat,” I reassured him. “Beets are a superfood!”
He eyed me warily, but spooned a healthy portion onto his plate. After a couple of bites he looked at me and said, “This is good.”
I raised my eyebrows questioningly in return.
“No, I promise, this is really good,” he emphasized.
And truly, it was. Have you cooked with beet greens? Just-picked beets are an awesome two-in-one combo – the sweet firmness of the beets and the earthiness of the greens compliment each other wonderfully. And they’re both stunningly gorgeous, the greens vibrant and streaked with crimson and the beets themselves ringed with varying shades of red.
As for kohlrabi – well, kohlrabi and I aren’t on the best of terms. Many people eat it raw, but I think that in its raw form it tastes quite similar to a broccoli stem (ew). And let’s call a spade a spade and admit that it’s not the prettiest vegetable out there.
Serendipitously I found myself in the middle of a kohlrabi conversation at work the other week, and as I admitted my dislike of the green, knobby vegetable, one of my coworkers piped in and said that she roasted her kohlrabi. I made note of this, as we had received a couple kohlrabi in our CSA box that week and I was itching to find a way to use them (as opposed to, say, feed them to the chickens that our neighbors raise).
Roasting beets is hands-down my favorite method of preparing them, and I had not one but two weeks worth of CSA beets in the fridge waiting to be used, so combining them with the kohlrabi was kind of a no-brainer. I tossed the vegetables with some honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted them in a 450 degree oven for about 35 minutes.
The kohlrabi emerged from the oven having taken on some of the color from the beets and I could tell already that the broccoli stem likeness was a thing of the past.
And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say that kohlrabi is now one of my favorite members of the cabbage family (yes, it’s a cabbage, however strange that might seem), I will say that when roasted it is good – subtly sweet with a not-too-soft texture.
While the beets and kohlrabi were roasting, I used a fork to combine goat cheese with a bit of cream as well as some thyme until it was almost pillowy in texture. I then washed the beet greens and sauteed them in olive oil with salt, pepper, and garlic.
Then I piled it all on top of each other while my poor unsuspecting husband was wondering what delicious meat I would serve for lunch.
Throughout the meal my husband continued to reiterate, “It’s really good, I promise.” And although I was not entirely sure which of the two of he was trying to convince, when the meal had ended and a large quantity of beets and kohlrabi had been consumed he put down his fork, looked me in the eye, and said whole-heartedly, “That was much better than I thought it would be.”
Coming from the carnivore himself, that’s saying quite a bit.
Roasted Beet and Kohlrabi Salad
I happen to think this would also make a divine side dish
- 2 bunches beets, greens attached
- 2 kohlrabi
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 1/2 tbs. olive oil
- 3 oz. goat cheese
- 1 1/2 tbs. heavy cream or whole milk
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Separate the beets from the stems greens. Peel the beets and kohlrabi and cut them into 1.5-2 inch pieces. On a large rimmed baking sheet toss the diced vegetables with the honey, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes until cooked but still firm.
While the vegetables are roasting, use a fork to combine the goat cheese, cream and thyme in a small bowl until fluffy.
Wash the beet greens by filling a sink or large bowl with water. Submerge the greens in the water and agitate, shaking the dirt loose. Let settle for a few minutes, then gently remove the greens from the water. Dry the greens.
With about 5 minutes of the roasting time remaining, warm 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the beet greens and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted.
Place cooked beet greens onto a large serving platter. Top with roasted vegetables, and finish with the goat cheese mixture.