Beetroots, or beets as most of us like to call them, have a slightly sweet flavor and range in color from red to yellow. These root vegetables can be eaten raw or cooked; boiled, grilled, roasted or steamed; and in sweet and savory dishes. Beets are commonly consumed pickled and in borscht, a European beet soup (source). Thanks to their beautiful red-violet color, beets provide Betanin, a red glycosidic food dye derived from beet juice extract. This food dye is used in various frozen and dry products, and those with a short shelf life (source).
Providing antioxidants, detoxification assistance, and anti-cancer and inflammatory benefits, beets boast a variety of vitamins and nutrients (source). Raw beets are a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate, Manganese and Potassium, and a good source of Iron, Magnesium and Vitamin C (source). Raw beet greens, similar in taste to spinach, are also very nutritious, being hailed as a very good source of Calcium, Copper, Dietary Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Riboflavin, Thiamin and Vitamins A, B6, C, E and K, as well as a good source of Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Protein and Zinc (source).
The following recipe is fashioned after that of a popular vegan restaurant in the northwest. Combining fresh, seasoned beets over a bed of cashew cheese, topped with nutritious beet greens and served with baguette slices, this Beet Tartar will have you coming back for more. It certainly has me! Should you choose to do so, cashew cheese can be prepared ahead of time and frozen until ready to use; simply thaw and you are ready to go. Enjoy!
Beet Tartare with Cashew Cheese
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews, soaked in water for 8-12 hours
1 large clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons regular unsweetened almond milk
3-4 fresh red beets, approximately 2-inches in diameter
2 tablespoons minced fresh shallots
1 tablespoon non-pareil (small) capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 small whole wheat baguette, sliced
Begin with the cashew cheese by draining soaked cashews and placing into the bowl of a food processor along with garlic and salt. Pulse until combined. Slowly add almond milk and continue processing for another 1-2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
For the beet mixture, remove greens and root ends from beets. Dispose of root ends, set greens aside and place beets in a medium-size pot of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and rinse beets with cold water; set aside.
Meanwhile, rinse beet greens thoroughly and chop coarsely. Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat and add greens, boiling for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water. Press out as much liquid as possible; set aside.
Remove peels from boiled beets and discard. Chop beets and add to a large bowl along with remaining beet mixture ingredients. Mix to combine.
Spread cashew cheese in the bottom of a wide, shallow dish. Top with beet mixture and beet greens, and serve with baguette slices.