Want a break from marinara sauce? Not sure what to do with that giant beet in the bottom of your CSA share? This chive and beet pesto sauce is a great way to switch up your pizza routine and explore new and exciting flavors!
The Ingredients and Process
I love how simple, yet luxurious this pesto tastes. Roasting the beets accentuates their sweetness and earthy flavor. Likewise, toasting the pine nuts (or walnuts) adds a touch of smokiness and really allows their unique flavor to stand out. When the beets and nuts are ground in a food processor with just the right amounts of finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, chopped fresh chives, lemon juice, garlic, salt, black pepper, and olive oil, the resulting beet pesto is everything you want it to be. Sweet from the beets; bright from the lemon; smooth and creamy from the cheese, nuts, and olive oil; and tangy and verdant from the chives and garlic. If you're like me, you'll eat half of it right out of the food processor with a spoon!
5 Ways to Use Up Extra Beet Pesto
This recipe makes enough beet pesto sauce for two 12- to 14-inch pizzas. But don't fret. If you're only making one pizza (like my Beet Pesto Pizza with Goat Cheese), the leftovers won't be wasted. Here are five other uses for this yummy pink pesto.
- Stir it into cooked pasta with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Enjoy it as a dip with pita chips and/or raw veggies.
- Spread it on toast or a bagel for a nutrient-packed breakfast.
- Make crostini by spreading some whipped goat cheese on mini toasts, then adding a spoonful of beet pesto on top of each and sprinkling with fresh herbs.
- Add a few big spoonfuls to a grain bowl with sauteed mushrooms, arugula, and crumbled goat cheese.
Beet Pesto Sauce
- 1 Rimmed baking sheet
- 1 Food processor
- Cutting board and knife
- 1 large (1- to 1.25-pound) red beet
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup pine nuts or walnut pieces
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and quartered
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- ½ cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel the beet and cut it into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Place the beet cubes in a medium bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the oil, the salt, and 5 grinds of black pepper. Toss well to coat all the pieces, then dump them onto the prepared baking sheet and spread them out in a single layer.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven, and roast the beet cubes for 40 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
- While the beet roasts, put the pine nuts or walnuts in a small, dry skillet over high heat and toast until they are fragrant and browned in spots.
- In a food processor, combine the roasted beets, toasted nuts, garlic, chives, cheese, and lemon juice. Pulse until everything is very finely chopped, then add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil and process until the mixture resembles a thick, mostly smooth paste.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Spread ¾ to 1 cup of the pesto on a 12- to 14-inch round of pizza dough, add other toppings, and bake.
- Or, if you're not making pizza, enjoy the pesto as a snack with crackers or stirred into hot cooked pasta as a yummy vegetarian dinner.
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