Beet-tastic Beetroot ‘Sandwiches’, and Michael Pollan
Beetroots, Beta vulgaris, or Beets – whatever you call them, they are bountiful, bossy and beautiful. Bountifully full of nutrients, bossily and unapologetically messy, and beautiful in colour, flavour and appearance.
Beets strengthen the heart, improve circulation, purify the blood, benefit the liver and intestines, and were traditionally used for nervousness and to calm the spirit – lovely.
They are packed with vitamin C, B vitamins-especially folate, vitamin A, potassium, manganese and potassium. They also contain one of the best non-animal forms of iron.
Beetroots are super versatile in that you can eat them raw, roasted, steamed, pickled, as a soup, a dip, in salads, in stews and as chips. They are also an awesome flavour match for apples, balsamic vinegar, bitter greens, carrots, ginger, lemon, orange, cheese, walnuts and garlic, just to name a few.
Beets are a great example of using the whole food, with the beet and the leaves being edible – the early Romans actually only ate the leaves (apparently).
So as this week is my week to host the Food Matters Project, I couldn’t resist the sexiness of these little Beet “Sandwiches”. Not only do you get the goodness of the beetroot, but some extra green goods, nutty nutrition and goaty greatness – super!
The original recipe from Mark Bittman’s ‘The Food Matters Cookbook’ goes like this.
2 large beets, peeled if you like
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
4 ounces (110g) fresh goat cheese
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios (or walnuts would also be fabulous here!)
1 bunch watercress, baby spinach, arugula/roquet (about 2 cups of leaves)
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees farenheight (200 degrees Celsius). Slice the beets about 1/8 inch thick, using a mandoline, food processor, or sharp knife. Grease a couple of baking sheets with some of the oil. Spread the beet slices out in a single layer and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake, turning as needed, until they are crisp and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes in total. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.
2. Combine the goat cheese, pistachios and greens in a food processor. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and, with the machine running, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add more oil until the filling is smooth and fluffy. Taste and adjust with seasoning, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
3. Transfer the goat cheese mixture to a pastry bag or a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off (or you can just use a teaspoon for this). Squeeze or spoon dabs of the filling onto a beet chip, then top with another chip and press gently. Repeat until either the chips or the filling runs out, then serve straight away.
I found the temperature too high for my little chips, and had more success when I reduced the temperature to about 250 farenheight/120 Celsius, and baked for a little longer, 30-40 minutes. If you have a dehydrator – this is a perfect recipe for that!
I added dill and lemon juice to the filling. I love dill and beetroot together, and the lemon juice gives it a little acidity, but also adds extra vitamin C which helps your body to absorb the iron from the beets and the greens.
Be sure to check out what the other Food Matters Project members did with this recipe here.
As an alternative, why not make this recipe raw! Same deal, half the time and just as delicious! I cut my slices into little rectangles, and used walnuts in place of the pistachios, but this sort of thing lends itself so well to loads of different fillings.
P.S. I saw food ethicist Michael Pollan speak in Melbourne yesterday, what a fabulous speaker, spreading the word on eating and cooking real food, sustainable agriculture and other wonderful things. I wanted to share some of my favourite quotes:
“Don’t get your fuel from the same place that your car does.”
“Eat as much junk food as you like, as long as you cook it yourself.”
“Admire the complexity of food, don’t reduce it to single nutrients.”
“If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you’re not really hungry.” (on eating when you’re bored)
And the mantra – “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
Happy Monday all! x