Beets always seem to make it into a salad in which they star. They’re often accompanied by goat cheese, walnuts, and some bed of spring mix baby lettuce. Well, to that I say bah humbug! Don’t get me wrong, that’s a great salad and flavor combo, but it’s just so tired. It’s always the same salad for the beet. Why? Beets are so versatile and yummy. Let’s give them a new life.
First, you chop of the tops of the beets. Save these tops for salads, or my personal favorite: Sauteed greens! Slice them into 1/2 inch ribbons, and saute with a little garlic and salt. SO good.
Roasting beets takes a bit of time, so I do urge you to do this ahead of time if you can. To roast, clean them well, place on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and that’s it! Roll up the aluminum foil tightly, and place in a preheated 400°F oven for 1 hour.
Once the beets are done, remove them from the oven, open the foil, and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.
Slice the tomatoes in half, and squeeze out the seeds. Then dice them into 1/4 inch dice, and place in a bowl. Your’e going to do the same for the beets, then mix in the garlic and salt!
The baguette is pretty straightforward here, just a little toast. If you can’t find a baguette, you could also use slices of sourdough loaf bread and cut into triangular quarters.
We don’t have much time left for summer tomatoes, so get on this recipe quick. You could do all beets with this, but the acidity of the tomatoes are really nice. I didn’t want to fuck up the classic bruschetta recipe too much now!
Besides flavor alone, the beet is a nutritional powerhouse, not to mention it’s name is so close to BEER. (Truthfully I keep typing beer instead of beet… can you guess what’s on my brain?)
Anyway, let’s go into the reasons that beets are good for you, shall we? The red beet contains a pigment called betacyanin, which helps your liver function, and also aids the blood in delivering oxygen. Beets are high in folate and iron, which is a great blood builder. They also help the elasticity of your arteries, and if consumed regularly, can help prevent varicose veins. Have an acidic condition like acidosis? Beets can help balance you out because they are alkaline (the opposite of acidic) and full of antioxidants.
I mean, for those reasons alone I’d be eating beets every day!
For your next party, bust these out. They’ll be a hit, I promise.
Beet Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction
Beets electrify this classic Italian dish bringing not only glorious color, but earthy sweetness and nutrition too!
- 3 Small Beets (about 1 Cup Diced)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil Extra Virgin, divided into 3
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Teaspoons Sugar
- 2 Pints Cherry Tomato
- 2 Teaspoons Garlic Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 12 Leaves Basil
- 1 Loaf Baguette Sourdough
For the Beets
Do this step a day or two before you plan to serve the bruschetta: Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash beets well, cut off the greens, and place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Add 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, wrap tightly, and place in oven. Roast for 1 hour.
Remove beets from oven, and open aluminum foil. Let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Peel the beets by pressing the skin off. It should come off easily. Reserve to a container until ready to use.
For the Bruschetta
Turn on your oven broiler, and ready a sheet pan.
Place balsamic vinegar and sugar in the smallest saucepan you have. Turn on medium-high heat, and let the balsamic mixture reduce by half, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of warm syrup, slightly viscous. It will thicken as it cools. Set aside.
Dice tomatoes and beets into 1/4 inch dice, and place in a medium bowl, then add finely diced garlic, salt, and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Mix well.
Take all the basil leaves, and stack them on top of each other. Roll them length-wise into a cigar, and slice as thinly as you can with a very sharp knife. This is called a chiffonade. You've made tiny little basil ribbons!
Cut your baguette into 1/2 inch rounds on a bias, and place on your sheet pan. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and toast under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and toast the other side.
Carefully place a heaping teaspoon of bruschetta mixture on your rounds, and place on a serving platter. Drizzle the rounds with the balsamic reduction, and then sprinkle with basil chiffonade. Serve!