DDD #74 – Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew to Detox & Cleanse (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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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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Click the image above to watch the video.

My friend, Katie, turned me on to kitchari.  Apparently, you can eat it – JUST IT – for 1-7 days straight & it calms your digestive tract & detoxes you system but with the added benefit of feeling like decadent comfort food.  Also – mung beans are dirt cheap. (Articles on the subject are linked at the bottom of this post).  This recipe makes about 7 quarts which is a fuckton so – unless you are feeding a lot of people or want to freeze some – consider reducing the recipe.

I used an Instant Pot to make mine but this can be done in a slow cooker or stove top.  I really recommend Instant Pots, though, because they steam, pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, cook cakes, saute, cook eggs & clean windows.  I got my huge one HERE for just over $100 & I am VERY happy with it.  I can now get rid of several other appliances.

***NOTE – I soaked my beans on the counter overnight & in the fridge a second night but this is not necessary.  If you want to move more quickly – boil some water, add your beans & let them soak for an hour.

Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew

Caters a party so be ready for a lot

INGREDIENTS

3 cups mung beans (I used half whole green & half split green – as seen above) – soaked (see ***NOTE above)

1-2 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

1 onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS (or more – to taste) salt (I used pink Himalayan)

1 TBS ground mustard

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

6 TBS minced ginger

1 cup cilantro

Vegetables are optional.  Use any you prefer but I added:

5 small turnips – diced

5 small golden beets – diced

1 large sweet potato – diced

5 oz baby kale

1 tomato – diced

6 cups water

2 cups basmati (or other long grain white rice)

(If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add a tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.)

GARNISH – coconut butter, cilantro, crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Quick soak your beans (see note above) if you did not soak them overnight or for 2 days, as I did.)

Traditionally, the rice is cooked in the same pot with everything else.  My Instant Pot was not large enough so I cooked it separately.  This is your call – or maybe your pot size will determine your choice but it does not matter much either way.

Rinse the rice.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large pot (or your Instant Pot – my pot is 8 Quarts) and soften.  Add the garlic & spices & stir to combine.

If you are using a slow cooker, transfer the onions & spices to it.  Everything else is the same no matter whether you are slow cooking, Instant Pot cooking or going stove top.  Only the cooking time will vary.

Now, add everything else to the pot.  If your pot is easily deep enough to hold the rice, too, add that.  If you are cooking the rice in the same pot – add 4 additional cups of water to the 6 cups used if you are cooking the rice separately (assuming your rice directions ask for 2 cups water per 1 cup rice.  Adjust accordingly if your rice has different directions).  Or – just cook the rice separately as the package directs.  If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add 1 tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.

Slow cooker – cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Stove top – bring to a boil uncovered for 5 minutes.  Reduced heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or more or until everything is tender.

Instant Pot – seal & cook manually for 10 minutes.

If it is to thick, thin it with extra water.  If it is too thin, let is simmer, uncovered, for a while longer.

Serve with rice (if you cooked it separately) and garnish with coconut butter (burns fat & lowers cholesterol) and lots of cilantro & maybe some crushed red pepper.

Here are some articles for more info on kitchari & using it to detox:

What is kitchari? – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/what-is-kitchari-why-we-eat-it-for-cleansing

3-Day Cleanse – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/cleansing/a-very-simple-three-day-cleanse/

How to do a kitchari cleanse – http://www.krissyruddy.com/how-to-do-a-kitchari-cleanse/

Vegan Protein Salad Bowl – Chickpeas & Roasted Beets, Ancient Grains (Quinoa, Amaranth & Millet) with Orange Tahini Dressing & Chia Seeds

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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 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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This is a really easy salad – especially if you buy already roasted beets or, like me, roasted them ahead & had them all ready.  I used this ancient grains mix (above) but any grain you prefer could be used – like the quinoa below.

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I made the dressing but you could use any dressing you prefer.  I had the gorgeous bottle of blood orange olive oil from my friend, Alyse, but regular olive oil is fine.

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 the skin on each when they are done by just pushing it off under running water.

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Vegan Protein Salad Bowl – Chickpeas & Roasted Beets, Ancient Grains (Quinoa, Amaranth & Millet) with Orange Tahini Dressing & Chia Seeds

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

4 beets – roasted (as outlined above), peeled & sliced

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas – drained

1 cup of dry grains – cooked as per directions

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

Chia seeds (quantity up to you)

for the Orange Tahini Dressing (makes more than you will need for these two servings)

3 TBS tahini

3 TBS fresh orange juice

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

2 TBS apple cider vinegar

1 TBS maple syrup or agave nectar

1 TBS olive oil (infused with orange if you have it but not necessary)

1 tsp orange zest

1 garlic clove – minced

1/2 tsp dry mustard

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

Plate the bowls by putting some grains, sliced beets, chickpeas & parsley in each bowl.  Drizzle with dressing to taste.  It does not need much.  Sprinkle with Chia seeds.  Toss.

Devour!

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Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita 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 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 have never gotten into spaghetti squash. In fact – I don’t know if I have ever had it before today.  I knew it made a decent & guiltless pasta substitute but – when I want pasta – I want PASTA.  The one exception to this is my shirataki (zero calorie) noodle pho – seen just above.  I can eat that for lunch every day.

Still – I intentionally ordered a spaghetti squash from Farm Fresh to You this week to force myself to try it and I am glad I did.  It was easy to use and, while not convincing as pasta, it was good enough that I did not mind & it is so guiltless!

I made a collard green & pepita (pumpkin seed) pesto for this.  Click that link for the recipe or use your own favorite pesto variety.  It makes no real difference.  The real revelation here is how satisfying the spaghetti squash is – so – try it at least once.  I added roasted golden beets – you guessed it – because I had some.  They are a lovely addition but not critical.  As to the chard – you could use any other greens you like, instead.  If you are not vegan – tossing some Parmesan or goat cheese in this could be nice, too.

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Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita Pesto

Serves  2 VERY well – more if used as a side

INGREDIENTS

Collard Greens & Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Pesto – or 1 cup of other pesto

1 large spaghetti squash

6 Swiss chard leaves – spines removed but retained & chopped with the leaves (or about 2 cups)

3 (or more) golden beets – leaves & ends trimmed off

Olive oil

S&P

Garnish – either a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan or other vegan cheese or (if you are not vegan) real cheese (I used grated Asiago here)

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Ignore those collards there.  🙂

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the squash in half & scoop out the seeds.

Trim the beets & cover both the beets & squash with a bit of olive oil & some S&P.

Wrap the beets in foil.  Put the squash face-up on a cooking sheet & put the bundle of beets on the sheet, too.  Roast for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Depending on the size of your beets – they might take longer.  Allow everything to cool.

When cool enough to handle – scoop out the squash flesh & set aside.  Rub the skins off the beets under running water & cube them.

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Heat a little olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the chard over high heat.  I added about 1/4 cup of water to help steam the chard into wilting completely.  Add the beets & the spaghetti squash & combine.  Heat through.  Using two forks – stir in enough pesto to suit your taste.  Combine.  Season with S&P.

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Garnish maybe with an extra dollop of pesto or nutritional yeast or some cheese (vegan or otherwise).

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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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