I returned from immersing myself in nature camping on the bluffs of the Mississippi river this past week rejuvenated and ready to eat roots. Not tree roots or anything THAT crazy… just beet roots. Which, if you know me, is sorta along the lines of me saying I’m going to eat tree roots crazy since I’ve never enjoyed beets. Then again, I’ve never tried fresh-from-the-garden chioggia beets sliced raw in a chioggia beet caprese concoction. The only beets I’ve ever tried were in a beautiful bacon borscht soup which I then recreated. I had been converted.
This summer, I planted a beetroot assortment in my garden and just harvested some of them. I ended up with one of these gorgeous candy striped chioggia beets and it was calling my name. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity (and my first experience) to eat a beet in it’s raw form. OMG. I sliced this little guy thin on a mandolin and topped it with pesto, fresh basil, feta, sliced shallot and then a sprinkle of lemon, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar in a non-traditional version of caprese…a chioggia beet caprese salad. Hello, delicious little beet! I never new how much I would enjoy you! Chioggia beets are sweeter than red beets so they don’t have as strong a flavor and therefore don’t need to be roasted to invoke sweet tasting characteristics. These beets, as well as golden beets, are the stars of raw beet salads. Bonus points that they look super pretty on the plate too!
When chioggia beets are sliced, they look like discs of peppermint. This candy stripe appeal worked wonders on my kids so they did actually try them without complaint. Score one for team MOM! Since my dehydrator is running, I also salted a few of these slices and placed them on the drying rack to make cute little chips. I’m SUPER excited to sample them when they’re done!
- 2 chioggia beets (or golden beets), peeled and sliced super thin
- ½ shallot, sliced super thin
- 1-2 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 1-2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
- 8 leaves fresh basil, julienned
- sprinkle salt
- sprinkle pepper
- sprinkle lemon juice
- sprinkle balsamic vinegar
- Layer the beet slices on a plate (or divide among multiple plates for individual salads) with shallot.
- Sprinkle with all other ingredients.