Thursday, September 30, 2010

Warm Orzo Salad with Beets & Greens

We have really enjoyed having a "real" vegetable garden this year. It's been a learning experience for us & we have been successful in some areas & not so successful in others. Our basil, squash & cucumbers were completely devoured by some sort of night time garden intruders. Our tomatoes did just okay. Eggplants & bell peppers were perfect & bountiful.
Then, we had beets.
I planted them from seed. Some of them decided to grow & some of them did not. But, the great thing was, they weren't bothered in the least by any rodents, or insects, who considered our garden their own personal dinner table. So, while some of the beets didn't grow to an edible size, the greens were gorgeous. The most amazing bright green leaves, variegated with deep purple veins.
I harvested them this week, with a mission to come up with something to do with them, that could also use up the greens. This is what I came up with.
I was very pleased with the results...the bitter greens, the sweet beets, some salty feta...it was delicious. I especially loved the colors in this salad. It's like Fall on a plate.

Begin with a bunch, or two of beets. It's hard to say, because beets come in all different sizes {mine especially}. But, you will need about 3/4 pounds of beets with their healthy greens attached. I ended up with about 5 ounces of beet greens.
Peel the beets & slice them into bite-sized pieces. Remove the stems from the beet greens & slice the leaves into strips {my greens were very small, so I didn't slice them}. Wash the greens thoroughly to remove any grit.

Heat a 1/4 cup of pine nuts in a dry skillet, over medium heat, until they begin to brown.

Watch them carefully, as they will burn in a flash. Remove from the heat & transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

Next, thinly slice half of a medium red onion & mince 2 cloves of garlic. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced red onion & garlic. Cook until the onions are tender & golden brown {about 10 minutes}. Reduce the heat to medium low & add the beet greens. Cover & cook, tossing occasionally, until the greens are wilted {about 5 minutes}.

Meanwhile, cook the beets in a pot of salted water, until just tender {about 10-12 minutes}. Remove the beets from the pot using a slotted spoon & set aside.

Return the water to a boil & add 8 ounces of orzo pasta. Cook, according to the package instructions, until al dente & drain.

Add the orzo to a bowl, along with the beets, pine nuts, beet greens & crumbled feta.

Toss, season with salt & pepper to taste & serve. This dish can also be served at room temperature.

Warm Orzo Salad with Beets & Greens

Serves 6, as a side dish

3/4 pounds beets with greens
1/4 cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces orzo pasta
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Heat the pine nuts in a dry skillet, over medium heat, until they begin to brown. Watch them carefully, as they will burn in a flash. Remove from the heat & transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
Peel the beets & slice them into bite-sized pieces. Remove the stems from the beet greens & slice the leaves into strips. Wash the greens thoroughly to remove any grit.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced red onion & garlic. Cook until the onions are tender & golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low & add the beet greens. Cover & cook, tossing occasionally, until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the beets in a pot of salted water, until just tender, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the beets from the pot using a slotted spoon & set aside. Return the water to a boil & add the pasta. Cook, according to the package instructions, until al dente & drain.
Add the orzo to a bowl, along with the beets, pine nuts, beet greens & crumbled feta. Toss, season with salt & pepper to taste & serve.

Click here for the printable recipe.

13 comments:

Joanne said...

I'm gonna be totally honest and say that I think the best thing about beets is their color. It's just so incredibly vibrant that even if you don't particularly love them (ahem) you still find yourself WANTING to eat them cause they are so damn pretty. Delicious dish full of contrasting flavors and textures!

Karen said...

Wow this looks incredibly tasty. I make a similar salad with feta and sundried tomatoes and olives. I absolutely love beets so I will definitely have to try this!

City Share said...

This looks beautiful and delicious. We have been on a beet kick lately too because we got a bunch from our farm share. I like this recipe because you use both the beet and the greens.

MLCHgarden said...

I love beets and will try this recipe.

Nicole Franzen said...

yum that looks delicious :)

http://nicolefranzen.blogspot.com/

Rabbittrick said...

this looks so great! i've seen orzo pop up so many times but have never gotten around to trying it. and i've got the teeniest bit of fear of beetroots! i wonder if it tastes like a really earthy, sour turnip. i've only ever tried it pureed, as a garnish for duck. when i do try beets and orzo this would be my go to recipe for it!

Chelsea @ sprinklesofparsley.com said...

I'm too hungry right now to look at this dish... that's my kind of salad! I LOVE salads with feta and seasonal vegetables. I've never made anything with beats, but this looks so beautiful and appetizing I might have to give it a try!

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Was just looking for a way to use up some orzo I have. Thanks for this perfect fall recipe :).

Amy from Portland said...

I just made this after seeing this post today! It's absolutely delicious. The balance between the sweet beets and feta is incredible!

Anonymous said...

I just made this salad last night and you are a bona fide genius. I agree with Amy above, the balance in this salad is incredible. The textures, flavors, and even colors play together so nicely.

Wow. This is a new favorite for me.

Justine said...

This is such an incredible salad!!!!! I missed the pine nuts the past 2 times making it, but I plan on adding it to tomorrow's! I just wanted to suggest peeling, then cubing up the beets, then roasting them for about 25 minutes or so in a 375 degree oven. It really intensifies the flavor, caramelizing the edges and adding more depth of flavor. I was wondering if an herb like basil or rosemary might be nice in it. Thank you!!!

ranu said...

YUM! This looks delicious, I'm going to try and make it soon! Will be the perfect workday lunch.

best essays said...

I just made this after seeing this post today! It's absolutely delicious. The balance between the sweet beets and feta is incredible!

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