Friday, February 28, 2014

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread

Toasted walnuts, roasted** beets, and a kick of orange juice brightens up this vegan spread


Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread | Farm Fresh Feasts

If you read Wednesday's post and thought I sounded conflicted about posting so many meat-containing recipes in a row, you're very perceptive.  I've got a Guinness-soaked easy meal, a terrific Thai cold-busting soup, and a Fast From The Farm Share supper on deck--but they all involve meat.  And I feel the need to share a vegan recipe in the midst of all this meat so here's one that's been percolating on my mental back burner for a while.
Why do I say percolating?  Well, the recipe I wanted to make just wasn't working for me.  I kept trying variations within the parameters I'd established, and when I hit upon the final concoction that worked I realized I didn't have the exact proportions to share with you.  So I'm going to explain the concept, give you some measurements as a jumping off point, and leave it at that (until I get more beets from my farm share and make the whole recipe start to finish and double check my measurements).  I mean, with 6 ingredients [including salt and pepper] there's plenty of 'taste and adjust' for each of us to do.
I'm always on the lookout for new ways to love beets from my CSA farm share, so when I got an email from goop including a recipe for beet and walnut spread I mentally filed it under the 'Beet Recipes to Try' section of my brain.
Don't tell me you don't have a Beet Recipes to Try area of your brain? Pity.
This Beet and Walnut Dip is my inspiration, and I am sure it is delicious, but I a) was running low on tahini and had some hummus to make and b) desired to have another tahini-free appetizer in my spread.  So I took the beets, walnuts, olive oil and salt from that recipe, and was trying . . .  trying . . . trying . . . to make something other than BeetyWalnutButter.  I failed. I was about to grab the goat cheese and de-veganify it when I remembered how well beets and oranges go together (hello, Beet Juice Mimosas!). I grabbed some freshly squeezed Hamlin orange juice from the Band Fruit Fundraiser, threw the concoction back into the food processor to incorporate the juice, and DONE!  The orange juice and olive oil emulsify to fluff up the BeetyWalnutButter into an Orange-spiked Beet and Walnut Spread.

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread | Farm Fresh Feasts

As much as I love my Beet and Goat Cheese Spread, I was looking for a vegan addition to my Awesome Vegetable Apps and Snacks collection (link to my Pinterest board) and this one works great.  I like it on carrots or crackers and spread on toasted sourdough bread in a sandwich.  I think it would be delicious topped with sautéed mushrooms, as the earthy flavors of beets and mushrooms make a nice pairing in my favorite Danish smørrebrød:  liverpostej.

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread | Farm Fresh Feasts

If you've got beets, walnuts, an orange and a bit of time to use the oven, as well as a food processor or amazing knife skills, you can enjoy this vegan spread today.  It makes a colorful addition to an appetizer table.

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread

¾ cup walnuts--any size you want to start off, you'll chop them later (use more if you like more nuts)
¾ pound beets (or a bunch from your farm share--use the greens in this recipe, it rocks)
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided (more, if you like)
¼ cup orange juice (I happened to have freshly squeezed because my daughter made a bunch)
½ teaspoon salt (I used kosher) plus more to taste
about ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper plus more to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts until they are fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Scrub the beets, then place them in a foil packet with a drizzle of olive oil.  Seal the packet and place in the preheated oven for about an hour until the beets are tender and their skins slip right off.  In a food processor, or a blender even, pulverize the toasted walnuts until they are in small pieces.  Add the beets and pulse a few times to blend with the nuts.  Add the olive oil and orange juice, and starter amounts of salt and pepper, and thoroughly combine.  Taste at this point--do you want more salt or pepper?  Do you like the texture or do you think you need more oil or juice?
This spread keeps for a week in the fridge.

**I'm conflicted on this "roasted beets" business.  Covering something in foil and sticking it in the oven is not roasting, I know.  But uncovering the beets and roasting them like potato cubes does not turn out so well for me.  And "Oven Steamed Beets" is kinda bulky to write.

Orange-Spiked Beet and Walnut Spread | Farm Fresh Feasts
Also shown--2 kinds of pumpkin hummus plus Fresh Tomato Pesto

12 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful! I really like the rich color, it would look stunning out on a table for a party (or just for me curled up on the couch watching the Oscars!) I can't wait to see the Thai soup!

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    1. Abby,
      Beets do have such a gorgeous color. I just took out a package of beet pizza dough to thaw for tonight's pizza, and wondered why I took the trouble to label the package. I mean, butternut, or pumpkin, pizza dough can look the same but beet? Nah--it's in a class by itself.
      Thanks!

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  2. I love these pictures. The colors are beautiful, and I may need to try beets thisway. By the way, you had me laughing almost the entire time. Thanks for the link love too!!

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    1. Meghan,
      I'm kinda pleased with these photos, too. To the point that I chose not to throw words all over the place like I've been doing lately.
      I'm glad to make you laugh--you're a hoot, too!

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  3. Thank you for linking up at Tasty Tuesdays! Your post has been pinned to my Recipes from Tasty Tuesday board. I can't wait to see what you link up next week!
    Have a terrific weekend!
    Cathy
    APeekIntoMyParadise.com
    #TastyTuesdays

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    1. Cathy,
      Thanks for pinning this recipe! It's much appreciated. And thanks for hosting Tasty Tuesdays!

      Delete
  4. Good Morning Kirsten, I adore eating beetroot, I roast it, skin it and sprinkle with salt, then allow the beetroot to cool and eat it just the way it is.....but, I love the sound of your orange spiked beetroot and walnut spread. I make a lot of dips and use tahini quite a lot, but I am firstly going to try this spread with orange and then try it with tahini.
    Thank you for showing me there are other ways of enjoying beetroot.
    Best Wishes
    Daphne

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    Replies
    1. Daphne,
      Please tell me more about how your roast it--covered or uncovered? I feel like I've mastered the covered roasting, but I'd love to know how to get a dry/uncovered roasted beet. Mine just shrivel up and make beet jerky--and not good beet jerky.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Beets are probably my favourite vegetable, root vegetables or otherwise. I love the sounds of this and the colour? Phenomenal.

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    1. Mallory,
      Thank you so much! I am more partial to beet greens than beets, but I do love colorful food and this is such a nice addition to a colorful vegetable spread.

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  6. Replies
    1. Heide,
      It's yummy. Meghan first taught me about the combination of beets + orange juice, and once I tried that in a smoothie I too was hooked.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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