If you eat with your eyes first, feast on this: hot pink beet pesto.
Traditional pesto is infused with basil, making it green and aromatic. The following pesto recipe, however, nixes the basil and replaces it with beets, resulting in a sauce that brings a deep, earthy, and rounded flavor as well as a vibrant color to all of your pasta dishes.
Beet works very well as a base to this pesto sauce, mainly because the root vegetable is dense. When cooked, beet becomes tender but remains firm. It then blends beautifully into a creamy sauce that can be flavored as you wish.
Often, I’ll blend cooked beet with fresh ginger and coconut milk for a makeshift detoxifying soup. Recently, however, I’ve been making the following beet pesto recipe to pair with my favorite pastas (gluten-free varieties). I blend the cooked beet with other common pesto ingredients, including pistachios and parmesan cheese, and voilà! Dinner is served.
If you are still craving pesto’s iconic basil flavor, you can add a small handful of the herb to the mix before blending. However, I find that this beet pesto recipe works better when the beet’s natural sweetness and unique flavor shines through. Basil may dominate the flavor profile.
Beet Pesto Recipe
Serves four to six
- 3 large beets
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and place them into the oven. Let the beets cook for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Set them aside to cool. Once cool, skin the beets and rinse them clean under warm water.
Transfer the beets to a food processor or blender. Add in the garlic, pistachios, lemon juice, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasonings according to your taste preferences.
Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain and rinse the spaghetti and return it to the pot in which it cooked. Fold in the beet pesto until it evenly coats the spaghetti.
Serve and enjoy!