It’s Not All Mary Poppins

We love beets!


I’ve been getting a weekly delivery from a local organic farm. You never know what will be in your box when you open it. This week was kale, squash, cilantro, tomatillos, potatoes, tomatoes, lots of green peppers and beets. Lots and LOTS of beets.

So today’s menu included mucho beets. This recipe is taken from Extending the Table: Recipes and Stories from Argentina through Zambia (commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee, published by Herald Press, edited by Joetta Hendrick Schlabach), a really fun cookbook given to me by my wonderful children last Christmas. (By all of them? By just one? I can’t remember… I suspect the great-with-gifts Haley had much to do with it, though.)

Lentil Salad, from Ethiopia

In pot with lid, combine
1 cup dried lentils (250 mL)
2 1/2 cups water
Bring to boil. Cover and cook on low heat until tender, but still somewhat firm, about 25 minutes. Drain.

Peel and cut into tiny bits two to three medium beets. (About 1 cup.) Cook till tender in a pot of water. Drain.

Mix in medium-large glass bowl:
3 – 4 T lemon juice or vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar) (45 – 60 ml)
3 T oil (45 ml)
1 t salt (5 ml)
1/2 t pepper (3ml)
1/2 cup red shallots or onions (125 ml), cut in thin strips
1 – 2 hot green chili peppers, cut into thin strips, 1/2 inch (1 cm) long
(We rarely have these in the house, but we ALWAYS have a jar of banana pepper rings, so I used those, minced up, about 1/8 cup minced.)

Add lentils and beets. Toss to mingle ingredients well.

Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

Anna asked for three helpings. Timmy ate two. Emily said it was “a bit spicy”, but managed two helpings (second helpings are always entirely voluntary!) with frequent sips of water. Even baby Noah managed to ingest some. Not sure how much, but there was a great deal of red on his face, hands, and tray, and not too many visible beet bits…

Warning: beet juice stains. Bib up well, and/or strip them down to their underwear!

We ate this with a beet-greens salad. (Of course!)

Beet greens (I used the greens from the 3 beets I used in the above recipe. It made about, oh, 5 cups?)
1 green pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 onion
(These are the ingredients I had that I thought would taste well together. If you have something else you want to toss in, feel free!)

1 T oil
1 T vinegar
(and, if you like a bit of zing, 1 T juice from your jar of banana pepper rings…)

Take the leaves and stems from your beets and wash well. Put three or four leaves in a neatish pile, one on top of the other, on your chopping board. Roll them up, lengthwise. (So you have a long, skinny roll, not a short wide one.) Slice the greens across the top of the roll, so you’re making short, skinny strips of greens. Put them all into the bowl. Don’t stop when you get to the stems, either! Keep chopping! The stem bits taste just the same as the greens, and add a little crunch to the salad.

Finely chop peppers, cliantro, and onions.

Whisk oil, vinegar, and pepper juice together and drizzle over salad. Toss to coat well.

They were enthusistic about this than the lentils (no requests for seconds), but it went down all right.

Tomorrow? Sweet and sour beets!!

September 25, 2008 - Posted by | food, health and safety | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. If I remember, you get to experience the beets again today during diaper changes….

    Three of the four of them are out of diapers!! And the fourth probably didn’t really ingest enough to make a whole lot of difference…

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  2. I had no idea that this kind of service was available. I always presumed that if I wanted organic veggies I would have to hunt them down or grow my own. If you don’t mind sharing, how does that work exactly?

    And thanks for the recipes…though beets aren’t one of MY favourites, Hubby and Daughter just love ’em. Must be in their German Mennonite genes.

    Look for the email!

    Comment by Zayna | September 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. MCC has put out a few cookbooks. They’re all great. This year, I bought half a CSA share and am overrun weekly with seasonal organic veggies as well, so the book you mention is especially useful.

    Comment by lisa | September 25, 2008 | Reply

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