Roasted Red Beets with their Greens

Beets fresh from the garden
Few things can compare with the pride and joy of harvesting what you have planted yourself, then preparing it and eating it with family and friends. You can be sure that it is the freshest and purest food you can put on your table.

I have been gardening for a long time and have often incorporated some fruit, herbs and vegetables in the flower beds because they look pretty but, growing vegetables for my dinner table is something new to me. I must admit that I started with trepidation (I’m the type that wants every thing to turn out perfect from the word “go”!), did a lot of reading and research before I plunged in. A gift of a beautiful raised bed was the biggest encouragement I needed. So I took the plunge and got my seedlings.

The daily visit to my vegetable garden is delightful. The peering between the leaves to see how the beetroot were growing is my adrenaline shot. (yes beetroot grows above the ground). Look at the photos and you can see that the tap roots grow below the soil and the bulbous part is above the soil. When the beetroots reached a golfball size, it was time for harvesting them. I was so excited and thrilled beyond compare. 

Fresh beetroot is absolutely delicious and very nutritious. It is a great source of protein and valuable vitamins.In fact a workhorse for promoting good health. As a child, I only knew the pickled ones that came in glass jars; and noticed that they were frequently served in hospitals. I was told that they are a great source for building red blood corpuscles. Later I tried fresh beetroot from the farmer’s market and was surprised at how different they tasted. I loved the earthy, natural sweetness of fresh beet. preparing fresh beetroot at home, I could also control the texture of whether I preferred them crunchy or tender. The beet greens are  delicious and absolutely nutritious too. There was no going back. 

Beetroot was one of the first plants to go into my raised bed and I am sure glad I did.  I wanted the beet greens as much as the beetroot. (Here in Germany, they are seldom sold with the greens). 

A simple way to enjoy beetroot, other than raw or juice,  is to steam or roast them whole. I like them either way. This time, I wanted to eat both the beetroot and greens together and came up with the following delicious dish of roasted beets with sauteed greens, topped with pine nuts and feta. Delicious on its own or as a side. So yummy, I am going to make this again this weekend.
Perfect ‘golf ball’ size to be still tender
​To Make: for 2 as a side dish
3  to 4 red beets                           olive oil                            salt                                      honey(optional)
2 Tbs pine nuts                            water                                pepper
2 garlic cloves                              100g feta                    chilli flakes(optional)

Wash the beets thoroughly.
Twist the beet greens off at where they connect with the red beet. Cut into 6 in length.
Wrap the beets in foil individually and roast at 180C for an hour till they are still al dente or just tender to the touch.
Let cool.
Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts carefully in a dry pan. Stir and toss around the pan. Be careful not to burn them . Set aside.
Mince the garlic.
When cool enough to handle, remove skin and cut into bite sized pieces.
Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the garlic  and some chilli flakes over medium heat till fragrant.
Add the stems and fry for about 5mins. Add the leaves and fry till tender. About mins 10 mins.
(depending on how young your leaves are. Test in between).
Add a splash of water if the pan gets too dry.
When the greens are tender, turn off the heat. Toss in the beet, and pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. 
Serve with crumbled feta.

Drizzle a little honey over the dish to increase the flavour profile. You get an earthy, savoury and sweet with tangy from the feta Yum!

Note: red beet juice can cause staining. Use gloves or some protection to cover your hands and chopping board while cutting it.
greens twisted off the beets the beet greens the other ingredients tap root removed cut greens into 6in lengths pine nuts in dry pan toast until golden brown add stems first add leaves cook till tender wrap beets individually roast for an hour add water if dry protect hand from stains, then peel cut into bite-size chunks add to greens add feta top with toasted pine nuts