So, beets… are you in or out?
If you’re in, then you have my permission to skip to the asterisk. Beet hater? Tsk, tsk, tsk…that’s soooo yesterday. Haven’t you heard? Beets are the new carrot, the bees knees, the whole ball of wax and the top banana.
It’s probably not your fault. I’ll try not to judge, but it may be difficult. Maybe your only beet memory is when your grandmother pulled a can out of the cupboard, opened it up and then plopped a very purple-y and pickled beet onto your plate, watery juice oozing everywhere, and said you had to eat the whole thing. Were you five? Did you give them a whiff and scrunch up your nose?
Although, personally, at five I was stealing those canned monstrosities off of any unsuspecting guest at the table. I loved ’em, but I was a bit of a loose cannon at five, and usually there’s no accounting for taste at five unless you are Miss A. or Mr. N. perhaps.
If your only introduction to beets was the canned variety, then that my friends is the entire problem. Canned beets do not smell that good and canning really gives them a squishy texture and a totally bad rap. So bad. Canning can do that to any unsuspecting vegetable really. Take green beans or peas.
Have you ever tried a beautifully roasted beet though? One that has been carefully wrapped in foil, baked at 350, peel sliding right off, and then bathed in a little olive oil and dusted with sea salts (for the perfect how to roast beets photos and walk through go here)? Those are an entirely different beast my friends. Roasting brings out such a complex sweet but savory note in beets, and those beautiful purple souls will stay fairly firm, if you roast them right, with a nice toothsome bite to them…think roasted potatoes.
Blanching them for salads is also a great choice to bring out their eye-popping color,sweet flavors and keeps them a bit crisp. I like to steam the golden beets in the microwave with a sprig of rosemary for my Cover Girl Beet Salad. Add some chevre to your salad or side dish and you will be in beet heaven. I kid you not.
*Take this pizza. Thinly sliced (quarter inch thick), brushed with a touch of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, these beets were first grilled to get them a little charred and smoky. Bare handed, I snatched a few off the grill because I just couldn’t wait. Honestly, grilled beets are like candy people and much better for you. What ARE you waiting for?
I then brushed my pre-grilled crust with a bit of olive oil, layered on the golden and red beets, sprinkled the top with sliced prosciutto, Blue cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts and put it back on the grill for a little melting action. The piece de resistance was some fresh spring greens (try arugula) that I threw on top just before taking that first perfect bite. Heaven. Sheer heaven.
Still not totally convinced with my beet pleas…then go shop around and check out these great beet posts. Chef in Disguise has a beautiful citrus layered beet salad, or try Eats Well With Others’ slow roasted beets with buttermilk Blue cheese, and finally Offaly Tasty’s rosted beet and barley salad.
Maybe one of these wonderful bloggers’ dishes can finally sway you to the beautiful beet side of things.
Grilled Beet Pizza with Blue Cheese
Serves two (I made this as a mini-pizza, but be my guest to double the recipe for a whole, large pizza)
One good ball of fresh pizza dough, use only half of the dough for a mini pizza with the quantities of toppings listed below.
one red beet
one golden beet
1 T. olive oil
prosciutto (thinly sliced), as much or as little as you like
2-3 T. blue cheese crumbles
2 T. pine nuts
A couple handfuls of arugula or spring salad mix
To Make the Pizza: Roll out the pizza dough about 1/4-1/2 inch thin on a floured pastry board. Slide your pizza onto a lightly floured FLAT cookie sheet (with no lip on it) and set aside.
To prepare your beets, lop off the greens (save these) and rinse your beets, then peel and slice them into 1/4 inch layers. Put just a smidgen of olive oil in a bowl large enough for all the beets. Put your beets in the bowl and grind some fresh pepper and sprinkle a little salt over them. Toss them a bit in the oil. Set aside. You may want to wash your beet greens, chop off the “stems” and chop up the leafy greens. You can toss them in with your arugula later to use on top. Thinly slice your prosciutto so it’s ready as well.
You may want to heat up your grill now because you want your grill nice and hot when you are ready to cook your pizza.
Toast your pine nuts next. Place them in a small saute pan with the stove on medium heat. DO NOT WALK AWAY unless you love burnt pine nuts. Use a spatula to flip them over now and then or simply toss them about using just your talented hand and the pan handle. Cook them until you can smell a nice, roasted, toasty aroma. Some can be a little golden brown, but DO NOT wait for them all to be brown because that’s what we like to call them “good and burnt”.
Get your crumbled blue ready as well so all of your toppings are lined up and ready for the pizza.
With the grill on only a medium to low flame (I have a gas one, there’s no accounting for taste), slide your crust onto the hot grill. Cook for 2-3 minutes (take a peek with a spatula and see if it looks golden,a little charred from the grate) and then gently slide it off the grill and flip it over. Grill it for another 2-3 minutes. Both sides should look fairly cooked, with grill marks and the dough should have puffed up like when you cook it in the oven. For an EXCELLENT and step-by-step “how to grill pizza” post go here. It will answer ALL of your questions I am sure.
When done, bring the pizza crust in on a cleaned cookie sheet (no more flour at this point) and brush with a little olive oil. Place your beets on the crust in a circular pattern, alternating colors. Sprinkle on the blue cheese and pine nuts. Gently slide your crust back onto the grill and close it so that the cheese can melt just a smidge. You can leave it on for just a minute or so, peek and then take it off when it looks good to you. We have a gas grill (I think I just heard Jed and Greg gasp), so I turn off the burners below the pizza itself for the melting stage. I leave on the burners that surround the pizza. If you have a charcoal grill, I have NO IDEA what to do. At this point in the pizza cooking, you are simply warming the toppings and melting the cheese. You don’t need to cook the crust any more so do what you will with your charcoal thingy’s.
Toss your arugula and chopped beat greens with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Sprinkle them in mounds atop your pizza slices. Enjoy!
March 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm
I’m still a bit hesitant about jumping on the beet bandwagon, butttt you make them look so dang tasty. Pretty sure I’d gobble this right up. Love all of the colors! And YAY for the LA food bloggers bake sale! I promoted it on my Facebook fan page, and will re post what you wrote in my next post this week. Can’t wait! 🙂
March 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm
Not much, um, beets this dish!
March 5, 2012 at 7:40 pm
I feel a bit so-so about beets most days, but this pizza looks so enticing…maybe I need to rethink. Good luck with the bake sale!
March 5, 2012 at 9:26 pm
We must be on the same wavelength. I just roasted some beets yesterday! Usually I just eat them or toss them in a salad. But this pizza looks amazing, and it’ll be my next beet adventure!
March 5, 2012 at 10:53 pm
That wouldn’t be a question for me as I adore beets!
All the best with the bake sale!
March 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm
I happen to enjoy beets of the canned variety. I will admit, though, it was a revelation the first time I tried roasted beets and have enjoyed them ever since. Your pizza sounds great but I’ve yet to try to grill a pizza. It’s always something. 🙂
March 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm
Yay! more beet recipes for me to try! and pizza none the less!
We don’t get the golden variety here but I am sure the pizza will still be amazing with just the purple ones
Thank you for the shout out Geni 🙂
March 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm
What a gorgeous pizza 😀
I am so intrigued by these flavours!
Choc Chip Uru
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March 6, 2012 at 4:01 am
This is a really interesting pizza. I like to color selection of beets, it really makes it eye catching. Im not big on any sweet beets but savory ones are really nice.
March 6, 2012 at 7:40 am
For me, beets are out. I’ve never been a fan. =(
March 6, 2012 at 7:53 am
LOL! Mr. N and Miss A thank you for the mention. 🙂 They do have quite the palates – unfortunately they’re not fans of beets. I have to say neither am I, but I do keep trying. And Sawsan’s post on roasted beets the other day made me think about trying them that way. Grilling sounds good too. They are just so pretty and I do really want to like them. I’ll keep trying…and how can you ever go wrong with pizza?!
March 6, 2012 at 8:47 am
I don’t know, Geni, I still can’t get myself to try beets…I think it is PTSD from my childhood. You make them sound good, but…hmmmm. Maybe if we get some from our CSA box, I’ll try them. Maybe. 🙂
March 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm
I caan’t say I am a fan of beets but do wish I were in the states to support your cause though. Good luck!
March 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm
Thanks for promoting the bake sale!
Now on to other important news. I’m definitely a beet hater but I might just try it out for that pizza. I mean it has prosciutto, my favorite ingredient of all time, so I’m sure I’ll fall in love with it instantaneously. I just can’t look at the beets.
March 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm
I’m IN!!! I love beets! Pickled, not pickled. Canned, fresh, it’s all good!! =)
March 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm
I wish I was int he LA area, because I would love to take part in the bake sale. It just sounds like so much fun. And even though I am not into beets, you definitely have me interested in making this 🙂
March 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm
I fear our vitual friendship will be harmed when I tell you I’ve never eaten beets before….yes, I confess, its true. BUT, Geni, you have convinced me…that one sentence on roasting the beet sold me solid!! I’m buying them this weekend and if nothing else, I’m roasting it!! Wow…you made them sounds soo good! You’re amazing Geni!
March 6, 2012 at 10:08 pm
Beets have never been this appealing before. I have to try roasting them soon. Delicious !
March 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm
I think I would love to try them before deciding. I remember when I first saw it in a burger I said nah! but when I actually tried it wow, it was really good specially with avocadoes
March 7, 2012 at 6:40 am
It’s a long story, but I blame my mother for my beet disdain. If there’s any way I’ll ever really crave them…I’m pretty sure it’s on pizza. And I’m pretty sure it will involve lots of cheese. I’ve gotta admit…this looks awesome.
March 7, 2012 at 10:56 am
Not YOU TOO! Oh my gosh, I had NO IDEA how much work I had cut out for me with this whole “love the beets” campaign. If you aren’t a fan, I feel like I have no hope.
March 7, 2012 at 7:13 am
Your pizza looks excellent and I am a true beet hater. I’ve recently tried them roasted and they were ok, better than any I’d had before. I’m still not a big fan though. I’d happily try your pizza though!
March 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm
I’m not a beet fan, but you definitely make them look delicious!! Beautiful pizza
March 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm
I’m all in on beets, but shame on me for not having made a beet pizza yet!
March 8, 2012 at 8:09 am
HI Geni, I don’t know how I missed this post. Last week was busy with work and my kids and now this week i’m coming down with something that I’m playing catch up w/ emails and posts. . But I’m thinking this beet pizza will get me feeling back to myself. I have a beet pomegranate salad that would go perfect with this. Have a great day!