Beets, Beet Greens, Orzo, and Feta Salad

Just the balance of a few ingredients make this salad irresistible

Consuming beets is one way to increase hemoglobin in the blood, and since the hemoglobin molecule transports oxygen throughout the body, and oxygen provides the energy that needed for all metabolic functions, one might say more is better (in this instance). Since I (Carol) am never one to pass up something that serves a dual purpose, eating something that tastes good and is good for you, has resulted in adding this recipe to my repertoire, year-round.

In this beet salad, neither starch nor vegetable is the star. Rather, they each take supporting roles, and the sum is a light, satisfying, cooked salad that can be served as a side, as lunch, or as a snack. It can be served warm, room temperature, or cool. If you like to plan ahead, you can double the recipe and freeze half, for it holds up to defrosting well.

This recipe is derived from one I found on food52; I’ve adapted it because I simply am a lazy cook, and if there’s an easier way to shorthand a recipe, I will find it. That said, it still takes a little extra work to bring it together, but in the end, the blending of flavors and textures will make you forget all about that.

Yield: 4 servings

2 pounds beets, removed from their stem and scrubbed cleaned and outside skin peeled, cut into bite-sized pieces
Beet leaves, rinsed well, center stem removed, and chopped
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 oz orzo pasta
4 oz. feta cheese
2 T Olive oil
¼ cup chopped almonds or walnuts (optional)

1. Place the beets in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cook until done (can be pierced with a fork), about ½ hour.

2. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in a heated, oiled pan until golden, then add the beet greens. Add a dash of water if you need to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Put in large bowl and cover to keep warm.

3. When the beets are cooked, pluck them out of the water and place into the bowl, and put the orzo in the beet water (this will color them pink). Strain when done, add to the bowl, crumble the feta in, and mix well.

The ratio of ingredients is important to yield a salad that does not overwhelm with one flavor over the others. Two pounds of beets to ½ pound of orzo and 4 ounces of feta, which can be halved to 1: ¼: 2 is easy to remember once you’ve done this once or twice.

Beet, Beet Greens, Orzo, and Feta Salad

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