Beet Pesto ♥

Beet Pesto on Crostini with Goat Cheese
Today's Unusual Pesto Recipe: Pesto made from beets, with no added fat and piles of flavor and color. You might call this pesto, you might call it a beet spread or a beet appetizer. But I'm willing to bet, you will call it delicious!

~recipe & photo updated 2012~
~more recently updated recipes~

2007 ORIGINAL POST A special welcome to the CSA shareholders at Wolf Pine Farm in Alfred, Maine, serving Portland and the surrounding area. This is a big week for shareholders: the season's much-awaited first deliveries! (For faithful A Veggie Venture readers: What is Wolf Pine Farm? It's a Community-Supported Agriculture/CSA farm whose members buy 'shares' in exchange for weekly deliveries of glorious fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers throughout an entire season.)

In 2007, Wolf Pine Farm, Maine food blogger StephenCooks and A Veggie Venture join forces to provide easy access to vegetable recipes. Each week, a special Wolf Pine Farm page will list the week's share contents along with quick links to recipes – now quick and easy ways to prepare and enjoy the farm-fresh vegetables are just a click or two away!

To celebrate Wolf Pine Farm's first CSA deliveries, I tried a beet recipe shared by Natalie, the farm manager. Natalie and I are fellow beet lovers – and her beet pesto is my new favorite! It couldn't be easier: just toss roasted beets into the food processor with traditional pesto ingredients.

I served the beet pesto on crostini with goat cheese, where the earthy beets could shine against the tangy cheese. But I would also stir it into rice or mashed potatoes, use it as a pizza topping, and of course, stir it into hot pasta, maybe with some quick-cooked beet greens.

NUTRITION NOTES Traditional pesto includes a pile of olive oil. Natalie's recipe also called for 1/4 cup. But with pesto, I've learned that it pays to add the olive oil last, just enough to taste. And here, the beets were so moist, the garlic so pungent, the vinegar so tart – that no oil was needed. So yes, this is a no-oil added pesto!

2012 UPDATE This is such a surprising beet spread, you can really taste the beets but the other ingredients somehow enhance the beet flavor without overpowering it. Even kids like it!

"... it was very well received." ~ Pille
"This was sooo yummy & soooo easy!" ~ Cindy


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 pound cooked beets (there are several ways to cook beets in the beet recipes but this is favorite way to roast beets)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup (25g) cilantro (or basil)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup (45g) sunflower seeds (toasted) or walnuts (toasted) or almonds (toasted)
Salt to taste
Olive oil? Natalie's recipe calls for 1/4 cup, I used none at all

Mix all the ingredients in the food processor til it reaches desired consistency, just a few pulses really, think slightly chunky, chopped enough to spread easily but not smooth like peanut butter, say.

UNTRADITIONAL PESTOS Pesto is traditionally made with basil - but it needn't be! This cute little torte calls for tomato pesto -- and olivada is a sort of olive pesto.
GOLDEN BEETS My friend David made two batches of beet pesto for a St. Louis Hundred Mile Dinner, one with red beets, one with golden. The golden beets didn't turn out as pretty as we expected, the color was 'muddied' by roasting the beets, also the walnuts. Either David or I will try this again, to retain the beautiful golden color, this time using a white balsamic vinegar, chickpeas or sunflower seeds or pine nuts instead of walnuts, and maybe, depending on the color at this stage, a little turmeric or saffron for color.
PREPARED PESTO To save some time, David used a jar of pesto, a coriander (aka cilantro) pesto from the Indian aisle from the best international grocery in St. Louis, located in my hometown of Kirkwood, Global Foods.
ROAST SOME EXTRA BEETS If you like beets served in side dishes, beets in salads, beets in soup, even beets in desserts, you'll love all the beet recipes! And once the beets are roasted, it takes just a few minutes to whip up one dish after another. Recipes that call for cooked beets are even specially marked with a .

~ My Favorite Way to Roast Beets ~
~ Beets with Feta ~
~ Harvard Beets ~
~ more beet recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Karelian Borscht (Russian Beet Borscht Soup) ~
~ Those Pink Potatoes ~
~ Borscht Beets ~
~ more beet recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2007

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Mmm. I love the sound of it. (And I cooked beets last week, too. Obviously:)

  2. AnonymousJune 19, 2007

    I can't wait to try this recipe! If you can believe it, I ate beets for the first time since my childhood and loved them. Christine from roasted and diced them, added some pistachios and then drizzled them with a little pistachio oil.

  3. Beet pesto sounds wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I've never thought of making a pesto with anything other than herbs, but I think I may convert my thinking. This is a great idea and perfect for summer.

  5. What a wonderful idea! I bet this was delicious! Looking forward to experimenting with this.

  6. I served this (with tiniest of adaptations) tonight at for a bunch of girlfriends, and it was very well received. Great way to use up all those unever pieces of beetroot after making my beetroot & blue cheese tartlets :)

  7. Wow what a great and unique idea! I love beets and I love pesto so I will definitely give this a try.

  8. This was sooo yummy & soooo easy! Does anybody know if you could can this?


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna