Did you know beets provide great detoxification support? I just learned that they are a fantastic source of a phytonutrient called betalains that attaches to toxins in the body and makes them water soluble, thus easy to flush out! This is terrific news for anytime, but especially as the holidays are approaching and we're looking for lighter, more cleansing sustenance in between the large meals. In fact, for my fellow Americans about to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, this beet sauce provides the perfect backdrop to a small tie-over meal leading up to the main meal. And speaking of Thanksgiving, don't forget about this roasted Delicata squash and wild rice platter if you're still looking for a grain-free and vegan-friendly side or main!
I enjoy beets prepared this way because of their versatility as a side sauce, spread, or dip. The possibilities are endless for any deeply savory dish that needs a bright and sweet face lift.
Recently they have accompanied lemony quinoa salad and roasted vegetables as a side sauce and then were rolled up in rice paper wrappers with leftover quinoa, cashews, and avocado slices to make fresh spring rolls. I also love the beet sauce slathered over toasted bread and topped with avocado slices, crumbled goat cheese, toasted, chopped walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil. Or swap the avocado and goat cheese for oil-cured black olives and capers for a Mediterranean twist. You can see there are many options. I encourage you to play around with flavors and get creative, and let me know your favorite uses!
Roasted Walnut-Beet Sauce
Makes ~2 cups
Notes: No za'atar or sumac? Substitute with 1/2 tsp. dried thyme and/or more chili powder and lemon to taste.
2 medium beets (~1 1/2 lbs/ .75 kilo)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 bunch dill, tender stems + leaves (~1/4 cup)
1 tsp. za'atar (or sumac + dried thyme)
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Juice of 1/2 lemon (or more to taste)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2-4 Tbsp water
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Wash beets, slice off and discard ends, and quarter. Wrap each quartered beet in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until fork-tender (30-40 minutes). Time will vary depending on size of beet and oven. Let cool slightly, remove from foil (be careful of steam when unwrapping), and peel skin away.
Add roasted, peeled beets to the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth and creamy (~1 minute). Add more water if you want a thinner sauce.