DDD #73 – Vegan Roasted Beet & Balsamic Borscht

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is a really easy & fresh & light dish.  It will likely render your kitchen a crime scene so be sure to wear an apron.  Most borscht is vegan so that isn’t really of note here – but I thought I’d point it out.  I topped mine with vegan yogurt here.  You could use a vegan sour cream or nothing.  If you do not add any creamy element – this is a guiltless soup.  The only thing in it with any calories worth talking about is a little olive oil but this make a lot of soup so the amount that ends up in a serving is very low.  You could lower it further by boiling the beets rather than roasting them but I think roasting adds a nice flavor.  This can be served hot or cold, too, which is a nice option to have.  I pureed the bulk of the soup & reserved a few cubes of beets for texture.  You could leave it chunky or puree it completely.  Your call!

Click the image below to watch the video on my channel.


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Vegan Roasted Beet & Balsamic Borscht

4 HUGE beets (or 10-12 small ones) – halved or quartered

4 carrots – chopped

1 red bell pepper – diced

4 celery stalks – chopped

1 onion – diced

4 garlic cloves – chopped

2 bay leaves

6 cups vegetable stock

2 tsp Marmite (optional)

1 TBS good quality balsamic vinegar

Olive oil

S&P

Fresh dill and/or scallions – as garnish

Vegan yogurt or vegan sour cream for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Toss the beets in a bit of olive oil & salt & pepper liberally.  Roast on a foil-lined pan at 400 degrees for about an hour – or until easily pierced with a fork.  Set aside to cool.

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Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Saute the onion, celery, bell pepper & carrots over medium heat for about ten minutes or until they soften.  Add the bay leaves & garlic and saute another 2-3 minutes.  Add the stock & the marmite (if using) & simmer over medium-low heat.

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Peel half the beets & reserve the skins.  Cube the peeled beets and set aside.

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Chop the other half of the beets coarsely.   Add the skins & unpeeled beets to the soup pot.   Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves & discard.  I used an immersion blender & pureed the soup.  You can do this in batches in a blender but be careful you do not get burned & be more careful that you don’t splatter magenta soup everywhere.

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Once pureed to your liking – add the reserved cubed beets & stir in the balsamic vinegar.  Season with S&P.

To serve – garnish liberally with vegan yogurt or sour cream and lots & lots of dill and maybe some diced scallions.  Eat it up!  Then curse the inevitable pink splatter you find in your kitchen hours after you were sure you cleaned the last of it.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Fennel is a divisive vegetable.  The sharp licorice flavor is either something you love or hate, it seems.  But, as with garlic, the flavor of fennel mellows into something else entirely – when you roast it.  It becomes soft & sorta sweet & it compliments this salad nicely.

I used arugula but any mixed greens or baby spinach would work, too.  I added pistachios but any nuts would work – especially if you toasted them a bit first.

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I used this lovely blood orange olive oil but regular olive oil would work.  I used the dark balsamic – but white balsamic would be lovely, too.

And for the goat cheese – I used this stuff (below).   It has the texture of a soft goat cheese & was really delicious.  If you eat cheese – real goat cheese or feta would also work.

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Vegan Roasted Fennel & Beets Salad with Arugula, Avocado, Pistachios & Goat Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4-6 beets (red or golden – no matter)

1 large fennel bulb

2 fists full of arugula or other greens

1/4 cup pistachios

1 avocado – cubed

Vegan soft cheese (or real goat or feta cheese) – quantity up to you

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  No need to even wash them – as that will happen later.  If they are large (mine were about the size of ping pong balls) – cut them into smaller chunks.

Cut the fronds off the fennel (saving some of the dilly leaves for garnish) & cut the bulb in half.  Place on a cooking sheet & drizzle with olive oil.

Place the beets in foil on the cooking sheet with the fennel & roast 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  The beets might take longer than the fennel.

When the beets cool – wash them under running water & rub the skins off.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.

Slice up the fennel.

Place some greens on each plate.  Top with beets, fennel, avocado, pistachios & crumbled cheese. Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic.  Garnish with fennel leaves and S&P.

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Vegan Roasted Golden Beet Risotto with Parmesan & Beet Greens Pesto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I love beets.  I always have.  I have discovered, however, that many folks don’t think they like them – until they have fresh ones roasted.  I have converted more than a few people from beet-haters to beet-lovers.  And why hate them?  They are really a lot like carrots – sorta earthy & sweet.  Who hates carrots?

Anyway – risotto is easy – despite its reputation.  So – though this recipe has a few steps – they are all easy & you end up with a fuckton of yummy, vegan risotto!  If you are not vegan – you could stir in some real Parmesan or – even better – some goat cheese.  If you ARE vegan – you, too, could opt to stir in a vegan creamy cheese – like cream cheese or any of the brands that make soft, spreadable vegan cheeses.  Or – go with no cheese.  Your call.

The pesto is easy & makes great use of the beet greens but you can omit it – or make it with kale or some other greens – even traditional pesto – with basil.

If I were not on a diet – I would have tossed a few chopped walnuts or pistachios on the bowls as garnish.  If you are in a “giving zero fucks” mood – toss some motherfucking nuts on there & get your chow on!  I ain’t judging!

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Vegan Creamy Golden Beet Risotto with Parmesan & Beet Greens Pesto

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

for the beet greens pesto (this makes way more than you will likely use on this dish but you can freeze it or put in on pizza, toss it with pasta or use it as a sandwich spread)

Tops to several beets (I used the tops to about 6 beets – both red & golden) – washed VERY, very well & stems trimmed off

Several kale leaves (only because I had them – so this is easy to omit – if you want to) – ribs removed

2-6 garlic cloves (according to your taste for garlic)

1/2 cup nuts (I used raw almonds but walnuts, pecans, pistachios or pine nuts will work)

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup water (more or less)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan (or a TBS or 2 of nutritional yeast)

S&P

for the golden beet risotto

4-6 large beets (I had 3 large golden beets & 3 small red ones) – I like a lot of veggies in my risotto to lower the carb hit

3 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

4 garlic cloves (less if you are not a big garlic fan)

1 onion – diced

2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice

1 cup dry white wine (optional – use more stock if you don’t want to use wine)

8 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup (or more) vegan Parmesan (or other cheese – as you prefer)

S&P

Garnish – more cheese, parsley and maybe some chopped nuts (like pistachios or walnuts) – and maybe some chopped or sliced roasted beets

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DIRECTIONS

for the pesto

WASH THE GREENS WELL!  Beets greens are usually very gritty.  In a food processor, pulse the nuts & garlic & cheese until blended.  Pulse in the greens & kale & oil & then only add as much water as you need to get it to the pesto texture you prefer.  I went drier than usual with this because I wanted it to sit on the risotto without blending – just so I could photograph it.  You can go wetter – if you prefer.  Season with S&P.  Set aside.

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For the Vegan Roasted Golden Beet Risotto with Parmesan

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  If you are using two colors – wrap them separately or the red ones will dye the golden ones.

Cook for about an hour or until they are tender.  Allow them to cool & then rub the skin & rough parts off under running water.  Use a knife to get any stubborn places.  Dice or slice them – reserving a bit for garnish later.  This can be done a day or two in advance – just store them in the fridge.

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Bring the vegetable stock to a boil & reduce to a simmer.

Heat the oil & saute the onions until translucent.  Add the rice & stir so all the rice is coated in oil.  Add a bit more, if you need to.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until the edges of the rice start to look translucent.  Add the garlic & stir for 1 minute.  Add the wine (or one cup of stock) and cook until it is absorbed.  Add the beets (reserving some for garnish) and combine.  Now – over medium heat & stirring almost constantly, add the stock one cup at a time – allowing to to get absorbed each time.  I like my risotto a little wetter but this is a personal preference.  Cook until the rice is just tender – NOT mushy – this may or may not take up all the stock.  Stir in any cheese you are using.  Season with S&P.  Add more stock (or water) if it gets too thick.

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Serve immediately & garnish with a dollop of beet greens pesto, more beets, parsley, more cheese & any nuts you might have decided to use.

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Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Once again, I created a dish out of an effort to use what I had on hand and, I must admit, I am quite delighted.  I had a bag of polenta from the bulk section at Lassen’s (a store that is a wonderland of healthy foods but 1) mixes meat & vegan items in the same cases & it can get confusing and 2) is SO FUCKING claustrophobic that I am in a mild panic the whole time I am there).  I also had some roasted beets I needed to use.  Voila!

I am a huge fan of both polenta & grits (grits being the same thing, really, but just not as finely ground).  I especially like them creamy & soft – like a porridge.  Most polenta & grits recipes have cheese in them & you can certainly add cheese but this didn’t need it.  AND – I cooked the polenta in my slow cooker while I went spinning this morning!  I came home, exhausted, to a vat of steaming, creamy polenta.  Win win!

If you are not vegan, some crumbled goat cheese on this would be divine!  Actually – they make lots of vegan cheeses that are like goat cheese or Boursin & a little bit of one of those might be a nice addition to this dish.   If you don’t like or don’t have walnuts – I think pistachios would be better, anyway – I just didn’t have any.  Oh – and polenta is naturally gluten-free.  This is a very low fat recipe but is warm & hearty & great for winter weather.  If you really want to get all cold-weather crazy – stir a small can of pumpkin puree into the polenta.   Yuuuum!

I used this balsamic glaze (below) but a balsamic reduction is VERY easy to make.

BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Simply boil a nice balsamic until it reduces by about 50-75% and has a thick syrupy texture.  It really does reduce a LOT so – if it reduces to too little for your pizza – just boil down some more.  Be careful not to burn it! I used about a tablespoon of the reduction on this polenta.

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Vegan Creamy Polenta Bowl with Roasted Beets, Toasted Walnuts, Thyme & Balsamic Glaze

This makes enough polenta to feed 4 easily.  The quantity of the toppings is up to you.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dry polenta

8 cups vegetable stock

Beets

Walnuts (or pistachios)

Fresh thyme removed from stems

Balsamic glaze (see recipe above if you want to make it yourself)

(Adding vegan goat cheese – or any other very soft cheese) at the end with the beets & nuts would take this to the next level.  Fried sage – in place of the thyme – might also be nice.)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

I cooked my polenta in a slow cooker by simply putting the polenta & stock in there, setting it on high (cover on) and two hours later – I had a lot of creamy goodness.  If it gets too thick, add more water or stock.  If it is too thin – cook a bit longer (taking the top off accelerates this process).

OR – cook your polenta according to the package (using stock rather than water).  Stove top – this should take 30-40 minutes.

Wrap beets well in foil. You might want to drizzle a bit of olive oil in there but that is not necessary.  Place on a baking sheet and bake until beets are slightly soft to the touch, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on their size. Cool beets and then rub off skins (use a paring knife for tough spots).

Toast the nuts in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes – stirring frequently so they do not burn.  Set aside.

Now – assemble your bowls.  Spoon in the polenta, top with beets & nuts & a drizzle of balsamic glaze & some thyme leaves.  Add cheese – if you are using some.  I did not.

Eat’m up!

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5-Ingredient Creamy Vegan Garlic Herb Pasta with Roasted Golden Beets & Chard

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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So – I bought that ginormous beet at the farmer’s market a while back.  It was larger than a softball.  It was a glorious thing.  I roasted it & let it sit a day or so to be ready when I wanted it & I was glad I did.  Recently, after hiking to the Hollywood sign, I came home starving & was able to whip up this Amazing dish in the time it took to cook the pasta.  So – if you are a roasted beet fan – roast them ahead & let them be ready when you are.

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I used this vegan cheese here.  I bought it online.   You can try this stuff (it heats into creamy awesomeness!) or another vegan soft cheese – or – if you are not vegan, use Boursin or even cream cheese or goat cheese.   I used chard but spinach would work, too.  Whatever you decide – you must try this.  EASY & delicious!

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How to roast beets:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash beets well.  Coat with a thin layer of olive oil & wrap in foil.  Cook, undisturbed, for at least 45 minutes (it could take much longer for big ones), until a knife pierces one with little resistance. They may cook at different rates.  Remove each when it is done.

5-Ingredient Creamy Vegan Garlic Herb Pasta with Roasted Golden Beets & Chard

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta – cooked & drained

1 huge or 4 small golden beets – roasted (see above) & peeled & cubed

1 head (4-5 leaves) chard – with the hard vein removed & the leaves chopped

3 (or more) oz vegan garlic herb cheese (or other soft cheese)

2 (or more) cloves garlic – chopped

Olive oil (if you do not have a non-stick pan)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Roast the beets, if you have not already.  Let cool.  Then peel & cube them.

Cook the pasta.  One minute before it is done – add the chard.  Drain.  Set aside.

If you have a non-stick pan – you can omit using olive oil.  Heat 1 TBS olive oil in a regular pan & warm the beets through.  Add the garlic for one minute & then mix in the cheese.  Stir until the cheese is completely incorporated & creamy.  Add the pasta & chard.  Warm through.

Season with S&P & serve.

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula and Lemon Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I love beets!  I love lemon!  I love arugula!  I LOVE THIS SALAD!  If you are vegan – either just lose the feta cheese or add a vegan alternative.  There is enough flavor here that the cheese is just a layer of flavor but the salad doesn’t depend on it.

I roasted the beets days ahead & just used them yesterday.  You can do this, too, or roast them as needed.  I like having them in the fridge – ready & waiting for me to be inspired to use them.  I made this dressing fresh but most any tart dressing would work.

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Lemon Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup olive oil

juice of one lemon

1 1/2 tsp Dijon

1 garlic clove – minced

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Blend the ingredients & then add more lemon or oil or S&P – to suit your taste.

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Roasted Beet and Chickpea Salad with Dill and Arugula

INGREDIENTS

The ratio here is really up to you but here are my suggestions:

2 large beets

1/2 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained & rinsed

A few cups of arugula

1/2 cucumber – sliced thin

1 cup feta – crumbled

Fresh dill

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DIRECTIONS

Wash the beets & wrap them in foil with a little olive oil drizzled on them.   Roast, wrapped in foil, at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Allow to cool & peel.  Cut into bite-sized chunks & set aside.

Make the vinaigrette.

Now just layer your ingredients as you like & drizzle with dressing.  Lots of freshly cracked pepper adds a nice touch.  Eat it up & sit back & think about the fact that your pee will likely be pink tomorrow.  🙂

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Pizza with Roasted Red & Golden Beets, Garlic Fried Brussels Sprouts, Pistachios, Feta & Honey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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OK – well – it’s pizza again!  This one was inspired simply by the existing produce in my house.  The result has a lot going on but, overall, it is a rather sweet pizza.  I used feta cheese but I think goat cheese might be a nicer fit – or maybe even brie.  Whatever you choose to use – you are in for a treat!

Speaking of treats – look how cute my Memphis is!!!

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And speaking of cute – my badass boyfriend, Miles Miller, completed principal photography on his first feature film – All the Birds Have Flown South.  I will keep you posted as that develops – but behold the vision that is my boy, Miles!

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Pizza with Roasted Red & Yellow Beets, Garlic Fried Brussels Sprouts, Pistachios, Feta & Honey

INGREDIENTS

Pizza dough (I make THIS)

1-2 beets (red and/or golden)

Feta Cheese

10 Brussels sprouts – cut or shaved thin

4 garlic cloves – chopped

Olive oil

Pistachios – chopped

Honey

Fresh mozzarella – sliced

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450.

Place the beets on a sheet of foil (separately – if using two colors) & drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap them up & roast for abut 45 minutes.  Allow them to cool & then peel them under cold running water.  Slice thinly & set aside.

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Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a saute pan.  Pan fry the Brussels sprouts over high heat until soft & beginning to crisp – not long – a few minutes, tops.  Add the garlic & heat another minute – then set aside.

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Grease a pizza pan.

Roll out your dough.  Place it on the cooking sheet & top with sliced beets, Brussels sprouts, crumbled feta cheese, pistachios & sliced mozzarella.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil & cook at 450 for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese & crust are cooked to your liking.  Drizzle with honey & slice it up.  Pour some wine.  Or stick a straw in a bottle.  Eat & drink yourself into a food coma & then go on to Amazon.com & buy my book!   The phrase “I could not put it down!” has been uttered by a conspicuous number of folks – both male & female.  Why not find out for yourself?

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