Roasted Beet Pitas

Welcome back to The Red Wagon.  If you are like us, you are ready for some farm-to-table goodness.  The market is opening this Friday, featuring lots of early summer produce.  These sandwiches—Roasted Beet Pitas—remind us just how good good-for-you produce can be.

Beets are a surprising sort of beautiful.  They are roots after all, and they come in from the field dull and earthy from doing their anchoring job. Yet, one slice to the flesh reveals a jeweled ruby brilliance.

That being said, I have had to work at liking these.  I remember avoiding pickled beets and Harvard beets when I was a kid, nose turned up at both vegetables and pungent sauces. Now, all adult and health conscious, I know that beets are root vegetable superheroes—with antioxidant, detoxification, and anti-inflammatory powers rolled into one little bulbous package.  So.

The secret is ROASTING. Roasted beets, caramelized and rich, make a great side dish that this recipe turns into a meal.  We are getting ready for a carnival weekend here, and I’m planning on eating at least one gyro a day.  Because there are no healthy superpowers in those, I upped the veggie ante this week and made Roasted Beet Pitas, which use both the greens and the roots and mimic gyro construction.  They are an easy and complete meal.

Here’s what you need for 4 sandwiches:

1 bunch beets (about 3)
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic
Goat cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Soft pita bread or flat bread

Here’s what you do:

Preheat the oven to 425.

Cut the tops off of the beets and peel.  Your hands appear to have been involved in some sort of violent crime, but peeling the beets is worth it, and you’ll look less scarlet after soap.  If you choose not to peel the beets before you roast, you might find the flavor a little extra-earthy (and your husband might wonder why the house smells sort of like dirt).

Dice the peeled beets and spread them on a cookie sheet with sides.  Give them a good drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Stick them in the oven.  Roast them for about a half an hour, stirring a couple of times.  The beets should soften and the edges should crisp up.

If you are just looking for a delicious side dish—stop right now.  Serve.

If you’re looking for a meal, chop the beet greens roughly.  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a sauté pan and add a clove of minced garlic until it begins to sizzle.  Add the greens and stir until they begin to wilt.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Assemble your Roasted Beet Pitas by dividing the beets between the pita rounds, topping each with a spoonful of greens, a teaspoon of goat cheese, and a drizzle of good balsamic. I folded the sandwiches inside aluminum foil packets to make eating easy and clean up a snap.(The pita, goat cheese, and balsamic, incidentally, can all be found at the North Union Farmers Markets, where you can find us as well.)

Thank you for joining us again this year.  We look forward to spending the season with you.  As always…

See You at The Market!