Beets with Beet Greens Orzo Salad

cooked beets ready to be mixed into a salad

cooked beets

Beets with beet greens pasta salad give you nutrient density and is a balance acid-alkaline meal.

Beets have an unique property that increases the amount of hemoglobin in the blood, making them medicinally valuable.

To get the most out of beets, boil or roast them to bring out their natural sugars and serve with complementary foods. Some people don’t like beets alone – in this recipe the flavor is balanced with complementary flavors and don’t scream “beet” at you.

In this recipe neither the orzo or beet play a starring role. Insteand, the starch, feta, and vegetable blend to become a light, satisfying salad.

You can serve it as a side at dinner, as a light lunch, a snack, a add to a salad.

A longer version of this recipe can be found on food52.com. I’ve figured out a way to streamline the steps because it’s a regular in the rotation for variety.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 pounds beets, boiled or roasted, outside skin peeled, and cut into bite-sized pieces
beet leaves, rinsed, center stem removed, and chopped
1 medium onion, sliced thin
8 oz orzo pasta
4 oz. feta cheese
2 T Olive oil
¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Boil method: place beets in water, boil then simmer, covered, until easily pierced with a fork, about 1/2 hour.

Roast method: set the oven to 350, scrub the beets if dirty, skins on, place on a sheet of aluminum foil, then sprinkle with olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Fold the foil tightly, and roast for about 30 – 45 minutes. Depending upon size you might roast for more or less time; you’ll know when you check at the 30-minute testing. You can piece through the foil, it won’t affect the roasting at this point.

2. Toast the walnuts for a few minutes in the pan you’re going to use to cook the onions and beet greens – don’t oil the pan yet. Remove from the stove, chop to a finer chunk when cooler, and put in a nice-sized bowl that will be used to mix everything together.

3. While the beets are cooking, saute the onion and garlic in a heated oiled pan until  they are golden, then add the beet greens. Add a dash of water if you need to keep the vegetable mix from sticking to the pan. Put in a large bowl and cover to keep warm.

4. For the boil method: when the beets are cooked, pluck the beets out of the water, leaving the cooking water as it is – now you’re going to cook the orzo. Add to the bowl and cover.

Roasting method: allow to cool before rubbing the skin off, then chop to size and add to the bowl.

Bring the water to a boil and cook the orzo for about 8 minutes. If you boiled the beets, the orzo will turn pink. Strain the orzo and add to the bowl.

5. Crumble the feta over the beets and vegetables, and mix well.

Don’t be intimidated by all the steps- it seems like a lot of moving parts the first couple of times you do it but it’s worth it. I juggle steps to make it go smoothly and sometimes add the feta at the beginning – it won’t affect the result.

Beets with beet greens and orzo salad can be eaten right away at a warm temperature, at room temperature or cool from the refrigerator.

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