Tag Archives: Beets

Keeping to the Beet – Salad and Variations

Beet Salad with Tomatoes
Beet Salad with Tomatoes

Beet Salad and Variations

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” Rainer Maria Rilke

Winter is the time for roots…

They keep in the dark, in cold storage, silently, modestly holding their nutritional goodness. They come from earth and carry its flavor, the fragrance of regeneration. In these darker times, I especially love carrots,  parsnips, rutabagas, and, of course, that super-food favorite of mine –  beets.

With all my rich holiday eating this past month, I was looking for something lighter a couple of days ago. I roasted three beets – washing them, wrapping them in foil, and putting them on the pizza pan from my Breville  Smart Oven Plus countertop oven (I love that oven!) at 350˚F for almost an hour.  Amazingly (I’d never used it before), the pizza pan really IS non-stick: the beet juice that leaked out and burnt onto the pan just wiped off under water.

Once the beets cooled down enough to handle, I could unwrap the foil and just wipe off the skin with a paper towel — turns out that beets are non-stick, too. Then, I stored the beets in the fridge for almost instant salads.

Beet Salad Variations

‘Twas the night before last and all through the house I was looking for beet-friendly pals. I found cherry tomatoes , sweet onions, fresh parsley, celery, and shredded carrots. But, the list is almost endless. It could have been slightly steamed green beans, sliced almonds, dates or other dried fruits, fennel instead of celery, spring onions instead of sweet onions, raw cauliflower or broccoli… and don’t even get me thinking about cheese: I was looking for something lighter.

Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing
Oil and Vinegar Salad Dressing

I put together a squeeze bottle of classic vinaigrette — just oil and vinegar, salt and pepper — but out of two of my favorite bottles from Temecula Olive Oil Company: Honey Vinegar and Fresh Lime Olive Oil.

The salad was a healthy and flavorful accompaniment to cold sliced chicken with hot gravy.


Beet Salad with Avocado
Beet Salad with Avocado

Last night was even easier, since I already had the vinaigrette and another roasted beet.

Instead of the cherry tomatoes, I used half of a perfectly ripe, firm and buttery, avocado. A squeeze of the vinaigrette, after the soft cooked eggs were done and dinner was ready. 

Tonight is, of course, New Year’s Eve, so there will be lots to eat as a dozen or so of us in the building go from one condo to another, working our way up to midnight and the higher Treo realms. 

Tomorrow, we begin again in earnest for healthy eating, with sensible salads and much less meat. Good thing there are beets.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Beet(s) Well

“At birth we are red-faced, round intense, pure. The crimson fire of universal consciousness burns in us. Gradually, however, we are devoured by our parents, gulped by schools, chewed up by peers, swallowed by social institutions, wolfed by bad habits, and gnawed by age; and by that time we have been digested, cow style, in those six stomachs, we emerge a single disgusting shade of brown. The lesson of the beet, then is this: hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown. Once you’re brown, you’ll find that you’re blue. As blue as indigo. And you know what that means, Indigo. Indigoing. Indigone.”  Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume 

Beets Bunch with Top Greens
Beets Bunch with Top Greens



Last week, I got a free and delicious vegetable in my CSA box from J.R. Organics Farm.
It came attached to the beets that I love to roast for those heavenly circles of irradiating color that bring such an earthiness to salads, such a pastoral pairing to goat cheese.

I’d heard you could cook beet tops, that they were good for you like kale, but I lead with my senses, not my head, when it comes to eating. First, I want something delicious. Then, good for me.

But when I pulled this bunch out of the box — I fell in love. I mean, just look at it: those luxurious leaves, those jewel-like stems. They make the beet roots look like the footmen to a princess. How could I insult the beet plant itself and disrespect the hardworking farmer by just throwing away the tops?

I sautéed them like spinach, Italian style, with olive oil and garlic and pine nuts, a splash of chicken stock to soften those garnet stems. (See Sautéed Beet Greens for details.)

Wow!! They were delicious! Rich, refined, and delicate, reminiscent of the beetroot the way a butterfly is to the caterpillar.

Turns out, beet greens are even more nutritious than their humble progenitors. They have achieved 20 overall nutritional ratings for minerals and vitamins – 11 of them Excellent – in the appraisal done by the World’s Healthiest Foods (whfoods.org), deemed “unusually comprehensive nourishment.”

Besides, if you eat your greens, you can have dessert.

Purple Shades of Spice Cake
In January, we had a little surprise party at the office for Tom’s birthday. And, given the colorful constructions of fruits and vegetables that Tom makes for lunch most days, the cake absolutely had to be a carrot cake.

When we gathered round to sing and cut the store-bought cake, an Iranian colleague reluctantly accepted a piece, just to be sociable.

Carrot!? cake??” Kia asked in disbelief.

Bob teased, “Next, Barbara will be making a celery cake!”

“No, that would be all strings,” I retorted.

But it got me thinking. Beets were at least as sweet as carrots — they even make sugar from them. I could start from a carrot cake recipe, like the one from King Arthur Flour, and go from there. I’ve made it several times now, tweaking the ingredients for better fats, raw sugar, and special handling to bring out the lovely color.

It’s not exactly diet food, but it is great for a crowd… even a small piece can be satisfying. Bob is its biggest fan. (See Purple Shades of Spice Cake for details.)

Just best not to tell people its main ingredient until they’ve tasted it.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Purple Shades of Spice Cake (Beet Cake)

Purple Shades of Spice Cake (Beet Cake) - With Edible Basil Flowers
Purple Shades of Spice Cake (Beet Cake) – With Edible Basil Flowers

Makes one sheet cake or one two-layered cake. 

Technical Tips

Most ingredients are weighed out in this recipe on a scale for ease and accuracy. If using two pans for a layer cake, put the cake pan on the scale, add a couple of cups of batter, then do the same with the other pan with smaller and smaller amounts until they are exactly the same weight.

For best flavor, be sure that your spices are fresh.


One 9” x 13” inch cake pan or two 8” round layer cake pans, lightly greased

Scale for weighing ingredients and batter between cake pans.

Stand mixer or handheld mixer with large bowl


For the cake:

12 fl. oz. (1 1/2 cups) organic virgin coconut oil

10.8 oz. (2 cups) raw or coconut palm sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 Tablespoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons baking soda

8.5 oz. by weight organic unbleached all-purpose flour

12 oz. by weight finely grated raw organic red beets (3 or 4 beets), with .5 oz. removed and set aside for coloring milk for frosting

5.75 oz. by weight slivered almonds

For the frosting:

Up to 1/4 cup milk, with 1/2 oz. grated fresh red beets soaked in it for 1 hour to color it purply pink

1/2 cup (8 Tablespoons, usually 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

8 oz. (by weight, usually 1 package) regular (not whipped or lite) cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

10 – 14 oz. by weight confectioners’ sugar

Purple Shades of Spice Cake (Beet Spice Cake)
Purple Shades of Spice Cake (Beet Spice Cake)


1 – Preheat oven to 350˚ F. 

2 – Prepare cake pan(s) by spraying with oil and lining with parchment paper.

3 – In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and handheld electric mixer), beat together the oil and sugar for 1 minute on medium low speed.

4 – Add salt, eggs (one at a time), and all the spices, until well combined.

5 – In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. 

6 – On low speed, add flour mixture to oil and sugar mixture. Beat for 1 – 2 minutes to combine.

7 – Add beets and almonds, beating just enough to combine. By hand, scrape to make sure all batter from bottom of bowl is combined with beets.

8 – Pour into prepared pan(s). If making two layers, measure out the exact same quantity of batter for each, then place on a baking sheet diagonally so that they are not touching. Halfway through the bake time, turn the baking sheet around so that each cake is baked the same in your oven, which may vary in temperature in different spots.

9 – Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until a tooth pick or bamboo skewer comes out clean when inserted, or with a couple of moist crumbs.

10 – Let the cake cool in pan(s) completely before frosting.

  • For the large, single pan, let it cool in the pan on a rack for at least an hour.
  • For two round pans, cool the cake in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake, then flip over onto a dinner plate to remove from pan. Slide the upside down cake onto a cooling rack. 

For the frosting:

1 – Strain the raw beets from the milk.

2 – Beat together the softened butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla. Beat in the sugar. 

3 – Add 1 – 2 teaspoons milk. Add more sugar, if the frosting is too runny. 

Updated by Barbara Newton-Holmes on May 5, 2016 to add Technical  Tips. This recipe first appeared on www.CulinaryOracle.com.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad

Onion icon smallIngredients

1/2 cup roasted organic beets, cut in 1/2 inch slices or chunks (see below for roasting directions, or buy from store already cooked)

2 cups organic Romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2 inch strips

1/2 cup shredded organic carrots

3 green onions (green and white parts), cut small dice (1/4 inch)

6 organic cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced diagonally, sprinkled with a little salt, dried basil, and freshly ground pepper

1 – 2 Tablespoons dry roasted sliced almonds

2 – 3 Tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

  1. To roast your own beets,
    • Trim the tops and root from each red or golden raw beet (a combination of colors is lovely in the salad). Rinse under water, then wrap each beet in foil.
    • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in a 375˚F oven for 1 hour (or until tender when tested with a fork). Remove from heat to cool for handling.
    • Unwrap each beet and, using paper towel, rub the skin from each, leaving a shiny clean beet. Slice as required.
  2. Assemble lettuce, beets, carrots, green onions, tomatoes, and almonds in a large bowl. Drizzle on lemon vinaigrette.
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Winter Food

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Beets and Brussell Sprouts for Roasting
Beets and Brussell Sprouts for Roasting

The mountain town of Julian (60 miles from coastal San Diego) was jammed yesterday as crowds flocked to see the 6-inch blanket of snow that had fallen overnight.

Even in town, frosty rocks were spotted in the morning and we got to wear our wooly hats, our snuggly parkas, as least until mid-morning.

It’s definitely the season to eat vegetables pulled from the quiet earth, those snapped from hardy stalks. The super foods of beets and Brussels sprouts were put on the menu last night.

Usually I roast beets by wrapping them in foil (with only a quick wash) and putting them in the oven for an hour at 375 ̊F. Once cooled, they peel easily with a wipe of paper towel. But last night, I wanted to roast them with red onion and Brussels sprouts, so I peeled them ahead of time.

I had already planned to roast some chicken thighs (1 hour at 350˚F). Halfway through the time for the chicken, I put in the pan of roots and sprouts, and they all were done together.

You need to make sure that the beets are cut small enough, and the sprouts left big enough, that they are done at the same time.

Have a beautiful and delicious day! - Barbara
Have a beautiful and delicious day! – Barbara
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Roast Beets and Brussels Sprouts

Beets and Brussell Sprouts for Roasting
Beets and Brussels Sprouts for Roasting



For two large servings



  • 1 cup peeled beets, cut in 1/4 inch cubes
  • 8 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup red onion, small dice
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 ̊F.
  2. Spread vegetables in a baking dish in a single layer.
  3. Sprinkle on olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Roast, with occasional stirring, about 30 minutes, or until beets are tender.
Have a beautiful and delicious day! - Barbara
Have a beautiful and delicious day! – Barbara
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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