If you like beets...yum is all I can say!!! I think beets are very polarizing, you either love them or hate them. I personally love them! I got the inspiration to make this recipe from a restaurant in Denver, Root Down. For those of you that live here, it's a must for dinner and brunch! It is a laid back atmosphere with very unique dishes designed to appeal to just about anyone. From the meat eater to the vegan, you can find something fantastic on their menu. They cater to food allergies and offer many different variations to most items. They try to use almost all local food companies for their menu items and create their menu to reflect the season. I Highly recommend it!
They have a beet arugula salad that I love to get for brunch. Along with the beets, arugula, toasted hazelnuts, it includes a beet-sunflower seed pesto dolloped next to the salad. I mix it right in to the salad as a dressing along side the basil vinaigrette and the balsamic reduction that is drizzled around the plate. I don't think I had ever really read the description of the salad until this past weekend when I ordered it. Beet-sunflower seed pesto...that's all I needed to read to realize I could recreate something similar. I decided to take the entire salad, excluding the nuts and arugula, and make a pesto from the remaining items. Here is what I came up with and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!
Recipe: Raw Beet Pesto
- 2 large beets, peeled and chopped (about 5 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3/4 - 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil (or more if you prefer)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Place the chopped beets into a food processor and blend until pureed
- Add in the remaining ingredients and blend until well combined
If you can tolerate cheese, you could certainly add some cheese chunks to this as well.
This could be enjoyed in so many different ways. You could use it as a sauce over pasta, meats or spaghetti squash like traditional pesto. It can also be served as a dip or spread for vegetables, crackers or chips. I would even use it as a salad dressing!!! I have two more recipes in the making that will incorporate this raw nut-free pesto deliciousness!!!