Beyond the Root: Ideas for Beet and Carrot Greens

Remember last week, when I was like: AHHHH THERE'S SO MUCH GREEN STUFF WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

Well, this week has been basically the same, except we got even more vegetables, but (and this is a big but) with MORE COLORS! That is to say, in addition to all the lettuces and cucumbers and squash and herbs and garlic scapes we got last week, we also received beets and carrots! 

Now, the thing about getting such beautiful farm fresh root vegetables is that they come with the greens still attached. This is great, but also requires some quick thinking, because they don't stay pretty for long after you detach them from the root (especially beet greens). 

Although we were tempted to go with a beet green pasta--you can use beet greens the way you would swiss chard; they work beautifully with pasta, some garlicky olive oil, and some beans or sausage (or both!) for protein--I was a little pasta'd out after last week's pesto dish. Instead, we switched up the grain and the flavor profile and made some Ginger Quinoa with Hot and Smoky Beet Greens (recipe below). 

Of course, we also had our carrot greens to deal with. Luckily, those last a little longer if you store them with some paper towels, so once we had some time, we made these roasted carrot tacos with cilantro-carrot green chimichurri. The chimichurri was an A+, but I didn't like how the author suggested just heating up your black beans straight from the can and adding them to the taco. I rinsed and drained mine, then tossed them with the roasted carrots so they could pick up on some of that cumin-y goodness.

 

If you're curious about what happened to the rest of the CSA box, I will tell you that a fair bit of it (the lettuce, garlic scapes, some of the green beans, and squash) is still in the fridge. We got distracted by Kenji's delicious frijoles charros, which we may or may not have turned into lunchtime nachos yesterday. We did a lot of walking with these clowns at Centre County Paws first, so.... balance?

 

Anyway, here's what's happening with the rest of the CSA:

Yes, I made a chickpea spiral. Yes, I have problems. Ignore that though--look at the gorgeous color!

Yes, I made a chickpea spiral. Yes, I have problems. Ignore that though--look at the gorgeous color!

  • Green beans, cucumber, basil: Do these seem like odd neighbors in fried rice? I thought so too, but with a generous amount of lime juice and fish sauce, anything is possible :D
  • Beets: Aaron and I are typically more excited about beet greens than beets themselves, but this recipe may have changed our minds. The sweetness of the beets compliments the curry spices beautifully to make a deliciously balanced soup
  • Squash: Tonight we are making Deb's herbed summer squash pasta bake. Cheese+Veggies=Happy Angela
  • Lettuce, garlic scapes, more green beans, more snow peas: I'm planning to make these into a seat-of-my-pants salad to take to a July 4th party tomorrow. I'm thinking I'll blanch the green beans and snow peas, then blister them in the wok with the garlic scapes. Once they are charred and tasty, I'll toss them with some lettuce, herbs (maybe mint?), and a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette.

I hope these recipe suggestions and reviews are helpful! It can be intimidating to go off script and work with new ingredients, but it's also a chance to have some fun and exercise some creativity! After all, if you screw up, there's always take-out :D

Happy Eating!

Angela


Ginger Quinoa with Hot and Smoky Beet Greens

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (we used red because it was what was laying around)
  • approx. 2 tsp ginger juice (it's what we had after making these delicious boozy milkshakes for the Game of Thrones finale and so we added a splash to the quinoa water; if using minced ginger like a normal person, add to the oil with the garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (we used olive)
  • Beet greens and stems from 4 beets, separated and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped small
  • 1 handful (about a cup) snow peas
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (depending on size), minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika, more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • 2 tsp lime juice, or to taste (like the ginger, we added a splash of the leftover juice from making Dark N Stormy milkshakes, so I'm guessing here)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Queso fresco for topping, about a 1/4-1/2 cup
  1. If you haven't already, chop everything. Having all your ingredients prepped makes cooking so much easier, because your attention isn't divided. Actually, focusing on one thing at a time is a good strategy for life in general. There's a ton of research on it if you are interested; I've included one link to get you started. :) 
  2. Make your quinoa: Soak it, rinse it, and then follow the package directions to cook (cooking time varies depending on what type of quinoa you are using).
  3. Cook the big stuff: Heat the oil until shimmering in a large-ish skillet. Add your chopped onions, beet stems, and snow peas. Season with a little salt.
  4. Add your flavorings: Once the onions and stems have softened, add your garlic, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. 
  5. Cook down the leaves: Once your kitchen is safe from vampires (aka you can smell the garlic), add in your beet greens and wilt them down a bit.
  6. Mix and top: By the time your greens are ready, your quinoa should be about done too. Mix the warm quinoa with the beet green mixture, squeeze over some lime juice, and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary and top with queso fresco.