Sunday, August 21, 2011

Beet Cakes - Earthy, Healthy, Bright Dinner

Eating light in the summertime is key for me, and through my recent selections, you can probably tell that I sometimes opt to eat vegetarian.  Not because I don't eat meat - on the contrary, I love it, but sometimes preparing veggies in a new interesting way just does the trick.  

Flipping through my newest Everyday Food mag, I noticed a gorgeously colorful dish, the harvest vegetable pancake, made with beets, carrots, potatoes and chickpeas.  Lots of starches, I know, but the colors just drew me in - plus I absolutely adore beets.  Although I haven't worked with them a lot lately, I wanted to try the recipe out and risked staining my fingers crimson, along with my white kitchen counter tops. Ouch...a hazard waiting to happen.

I'm not going to lie when I say preparation was a PAIN.  Not only did the red beet juice splatter, causing me to religiously wipe the counters every couple of seconds, but the hard texture of the raw beet also resulted in me mangling my middle finger.  How ironic :P  But despite the drama and the annoyance, and the mishap I made when using a regular pan instead of non-stick, they still tasted delicious.  I served them with arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, golden raisins and some feta, and it absolutely hit the spot.  In the most healthy way.  

Beet Cakes - Adapted from an Everyday Food Recipe "Harvest Vegetable Pancake with Greens and Goat Cheese"

Ingredients (serves 4)
3 large beets (1 1/2 lbs) scrubbed and peeled.  Peeling is the tricky part and I'd recommend using a pairing knife instead of a peeler, to avoid injuries
3 medium carrots
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, half roughly chopped
1 cup reserved cooked, diced russet potato 
1/2 cup of all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

Coarse salt & ground pepper
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
5 oz salad greens (I recommend arugula)
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled (1/4 cup). I used feta cheese instead
Handful of golden raisins (my addition)

Grate beets and carrots on the large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl (or shred in a food processor).  Stir in chickpeas, potato, flour, and 1 tsp of salt.  Season with pepper.  In a large nonstick straight-sided skillet, heat 1 tbs of oil over medium heat.  Add beet mixture and with a rubber spatula, firmly press evenly into pan.  Cook, undisturbed for 10 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, cover with a serving platter, and carefully invert pancake onto platter.  Slide pancake back into pan and cook until crisp and brown around the edge, 10 - 12 minutes.  Invert pancake onto platter.

My variation, as I hinted above, was instead of making 1 pancake, I shaped the batter into individually sized oval patties, with my hands.  I fried them individually for about 5 minutes on each side, as this was a lot easier than the above, and left less room for error.

In a medium bowl, toss salad greens with 2 tbs of olive oil and lemon juice.  I also added a touch of white truffle oil, and highly suggest you add this ingredient if you have it.  Season with salt and pepper.  To serve, top pancake or little cakes with salad and goat cheese (or feta cheese and golden raisins).


  1. OMG sounds delicious!!!! You should have had me over to wipe the counters, you know I'm quite good at that ;)

  2. I'm definitely going to need you to step in here next time! Need those counters spotless :)



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