I apologize now to any beet lovers. To me, beets taste a lot like I imagine dirt would, but we frequently receive large quantities of these roots in our CSA. As I’ve said before, pesto is my go-to creation whenever I have veggies that I don’t care for or that I have way too many of. With that in mind, it seemed obvious that the beets should be made into a pesto too! And, it’s actually really tasty. We usually eat it on pizza, like here, but I’ve also mixed it up with some pasta or tortellini.
In the photo shown, I used kale as the green on the pizza. However, since then, I’ve started to use the beet greens instead (why waste them? They’re pretty tasty when correctly prepared…). I actually prefer them to kale or other greens. In the instructions, I will discuss both preparations.
This recipe is for a thin crust. If you want a thick crust, double the crust ingredients but follow the steps the same way!
This recipe is: vegetarian
For the crust:
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp yeast
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
For the beet pesto:
- 5-6 medium beets
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup parmesan
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- olive oil (~2-3 tbsp)
- salt to taste
- 2 cups kale leaves OR beet greens
- for beet greens: 1 tbsp olive oil + 2 tsp apple cider vinegar + 1 clove garlic, chopped + salt + pepper
- 1.5 cups mozzarella cheese
- 2 oz goat cheese
- Make the crust by sprinkling yeast and sugar into the warm water. Allow to rest for 15 minutes, until yeast is bubbly and expanded. Add the olive oil and flour, and mix for 4-5 minutes on low speed (2 on Kitchenaid mixer). The dough should be in a ball, chasing itself around the mixer. If it is too wet, add more flour; if too dry, add more water. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and place in a warm area for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel the beets then chop into 1/2″ cubes. Place onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, a bit of kosher salt and pepper, and mix around to coat the beets. Enclose the beets in a foil packet and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 50 minutes.
- If using beet greens: While the beets are roasting, prepare the beet greens, if using. Chop them into fine shreds. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the greens and apple cider vinegar and cook until tender and wilted, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
If using kale: Chop the kale into fine shreds. Set aside.
- When the beets are roasted, open the packet (carefully, it will be steamy and hot!) and allow to cool significantly. When cool, add the contents of the foil packet and all other pesto ingredients (except oil) to a food processor. Process for 1-2 minutes, until mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape sides of bowl if necessary. With the motor running, add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. If the pesto is too thick, add water by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly oil a pizza stone or baking sheet. Coat the oil with a thin layer of cornmeal, if desired (adds a great texture to the crust). Roll out the dough. Spread beet pesto in a not-too-thick layer over the top. Save any leftover pesto to put on pasta, bread, etc! Top with the kale or beet greens. Add the mozzarella cheese and goat cheese to the top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle finished pizza with fresh pepper, and allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.