After a great weekend of camping and hiking (we camped in Errol, NH and hiked at Grafton Notch (Newry, ME) in the White Mountains), I came home to a mess of beets from the garden that needed to be turned into something tasty before they got tossed in the compost bin.
I had already roasted beets this summer and have made borscht too many times in the past, so I really wanted to try something new. I searched “beet recipes” and was pleased to find that the New York Times recently compiled a list of beet recipes they have published in the last few years. There’s a lot of great recipes here I want to try (especially Beet Tzatziki), but I went with the first recipe: Beets, Spiced Quinoa and Yogurt. I adapted it a bit to the spices I had on hand, but the flavor of the dish is amazing. Cinnamony-sweet meets garlic meets cardmom meets tangy yogurt. And it’s super healthy for you!
A great trick I learned from this recipe – instead of mincing garlic and adding it to your recipe, throw a few cloves into a mortar and pestle and mash it with some sea salt – it brings out the flavor a lot more.
Golden Beets with Red Quinoa & Garlic Yogurt
(adapted from the New York Times)
- 3-4 cups cooked red quinoa
- pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, allspice, ginger
- golden beets, roasted (with skin pulled off)
- 3 garlic cloves
Start with the beets, as these take the longest. It took me about 50 minutes (oven at 425 F) to roast about 9 small-medium beets. Roasting tip: cut off top and bottom of beets and place in tin foil in glass baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with tin foil while baking).
While the beets were roasting, I made the quinoa (make a bunch for leftovers to use in other dishes – stews, soups, or as a breakfast grain – really yummy with maple syrup and walnuts).
At this point, the beets are probably still roasting – they take such a long time, another problem with coming up with creative ideas for cooking beets. So I then heated up some olive oil and put in a pinch of all the spices listed above, sauteed them for a few minutes, then threw in the quinoa. Stir this well for a few minutes so that the quinoa is well coated in the spices. Scoop the quinoa into a baking dish and spread it around into one layer.
(Beets still roasting)…next, mash up the garlic in the mortar and pestle with sea salt and mix it into some plain yogurt. This recipe called for “drained yogurt,” but that is really about presentation, so if you don’t mind it a bit soupy, you can just use plain yogurt.
Hopefully by now the beets are done! Take them out and let them cool a bit. When you can handle them, slip off the skins and slice them.
Place them on top of the quinoa. If the quinoa is still hot, you can serve. If it reached room temp, toss the baking pan back in the oven for 10 minutes or so to heat up.
I put out the yogurt and walnuts separate, since we were not going to eat all this in one meal. Slather on the yogurt, sprinkle the walnuts and enjoy!