Monday, 22 April 2013

Beet Quinoa with Beet Greens

Beet Quinoa with Beet Greens

I have recently developed an extreme fascination for the vibrant fushia colour of beet juice. After purchasing a bunch of beets from Superstore, I have included them in two of my recipes this past weekend. 

I have been planning to cook with beets for a long time now. My mom usually includes it in her Cantonese version of Russian Borcht soup. My first inspiration came over a year ago. I was flipping through a Christmas cookbook at Peanut Crumpet's house and came across a beet orzo recipe. Food that is brightly coloured always catches my eye, especially if it's due to fruits and veggies. Health articles always remind us to consume a rainbow of food to ensure we get the best nutrition. Then at the beginning of this month, Peanut Crumpet showed me a recipe from a magazine on a beet chocolate loaf. Reminds me of the natural red velvet recipes I've previously seen.

Everytime I see a recipe involving beets, I always think of how well it will suit my dad. He has a deep love for beets; when we make a visit to Sweet Tomatoes each season, he piles his salad dish high with little zig-zags of beets. So I decided it was about time to get my hands on some spring beets, when they are in season and at their best! 

Coconut Crumpet's bundle of happiness
Before I could do anything with my fresh bundle of happiness, I had to prepare them first! Chop off the stems from your roots, don't throw away the leaves! They are just as nutritious and delicious, I included them in the quinoa recipe below. You will want to remove the stem extending through the leaf though as it will be tough to chew if you don't. 

Next cook your beets! There are multiple ways to cook your beets, but let me explain a few methods.

First there is boiling your beets in a pot of hot water. This is a quick method, as it takes about half an hour, but the nutrients from the beets will end up in the water and not into the cake. Boil your beets if you plan to use the water as part of a soup.

Probably the fastest method (although I have yet to try) is steaming. The nutrients will stay in the beets and be cooked through evenly in a short period of time. My mom uses a huge wok with a metal rack to hold the dish then covers the opening with a large bamboo lid. Start timing when you hear the water come to a boil.

The way I prepared my beets this time was baking. Scrub your beets clean, wrap them in aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 1 hour. When they are cool enough to handle, the skins can be peeled off effortlessly. By the way, they smell like potato chips as they come out of the oven. Mmmmm, reminds me of delicious beet chips~

Baked Beets

So my first attempt at baking with beets was yesterday evening; I baked up a batch of mini beet chocolate loaves. I have a naughty habit of 'Rachel-ifying' recipes on my first test run, which occasionally doesn't provide amazing results. I will share the loaf recipe after a few more tweeks.

Tonight for dinner, I made Beet Quinoa. The bright pink colour is marvelous; it will certainly steal the spot light at any meal. I chose to serve it warm today, but it will work just a well as a cold salad for a summer party. This bowl of nutritious, flavourful, and beautiful beet quinoa has quickly become a dish I am eager to create again. The addition of chevre cheese, toasted pecans, or apples would be wonderful ways to upgrade this recipe.

Beet Quinoa with Beet Greens
Serves 3

  • 2 medium-large beets, cooked
  • beet greens from 1 bunch
  • 1 cup white quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • ½ tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil + more for pan
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Cut beets into half-inch cubes. Remove stems from the centre of each leaf, then cut into small rectangular pieces.
  2. Cook quinoa with chicken stock according to package directions. I put both ingredients into a pot with a lid on top, brought it to a boil over high heat then cooked on lowest heat for 15 minutes. Then rest inside pot still covered for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, mix balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, and 1 tsp olive oil together until homogenous. 
  4. Heat a frying pan according to the directions on this post. Add the garlic and ginger and saute to infuse the oil. 
  5. Add the beet greens and wilt in frying pan. Cover with a lid to half-steam and half-fry the greens.
  6. Add your quinoa, beets and dressing and gently mix until quinoa is thoroughly mixed and completely pink. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  7. Serve as a hot dish or a cold salad.
I congratulate those that reached the end of this massively long post. Thank you for time in reading my rambling nonsense. Enjoy the colourful food! 

Love from Coconut Crumpet's Corner ♡

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