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The Beet Goes on in the Month of May

What does the month of May mean for you? Is it the thought of spending time with Mom? Camping on Memorial Day? Digging in the garden? Picnics with friends? Taking a long hike to a favorite outdoor spot?

No matter what gets you excited, it will surely include a memorable parade of meals to enjoy using Melissa’s organic produce. If you’re short on ideas, here are a couple of recipes that can help.

It’s commonly said here in the U.S. that we have a grand appreciation for moms and apple pie. Perhaps it’s time to put a little twist on the pie you’ll make for mom or your picnic this year! Since it’s spring, let me suggest that we get a little adventurous and add a springtime favorite to our familiar pie. Have I piqued your curiosity? Are you thinking…rhubarb? Strawberries? Mangoes? All these would be very good and delicious choices and would probably go great combined with apples in pie. But I’m talking about something else— something I never would put together had my daughter not called to tell me about her evening out with friends in Portland. That’s when she first tried homemade Roasted Beet and Apple Pie. Beets in pie? You might be wondering— I did too! And yet it works and works quite well.
Image of beets
Organic beets are in season right now, and Melissa’s has them. Plus, beets are uncommonly good for you! Beta vulgaris is Latin for common (vulgaris) beet (beta)—but what’s common about a vegetable whose root and top are edible, nutritious, and versatile? Beets can be boiled, roasted, or steamed with the skin on. Once cooked, the skin slips off easily. They can also be grated raw into salads, and the greens can be steamed, sautéed, or cut and eaten raw. Both are low in calories. Beetroots contain 0% saturated fat, are rich in silicon, and are a fair source of vitamin C and fiber. They’re said to benefit the heart and liver, calm nerves, improve circulation, aid digestion, and promote healthy menstruation. Beet greens, like chard, are rich in vitamin A and contain calcium and phosphorus. Plus, their fiber and sweetness perfectly complement this pie’s other star player, the apple.

I found this recipe in A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies by Ashley English, and adapted it slightly for my tastes. I recommend using your favorite crust recipe and preparing it according to standard pie-making protocol.

Roasted Beet and Apple Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie

For the filling
2 pounds Melissa’s organic beets, peeled and cubed
2 Melissa’s organic apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (I like Pink Lady, but you can use your favorite firm apple
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound small curd cottage cheese
5 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons horseradish
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika

For the top of the pie, you might want to add this unexpected pièce de résistance: horseradish cream!

For the horseradish cream you’ll need
1 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the beets and apples with the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the ground pepper, and then roast for 45 to 50 minutes (until the beets are soft), shuffling the beets and apples on the pan every so often. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.

In a food processor, combine the beets, apples, cottage cheese, eggs, horseradish, vinegar, dill, sugar, salt, and paprika. Blend until smooth, then pour into the prepared crust.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling doesn’t jiggle when you shake the pie plate.

While the pie bakes, make the horseradish cream. Combine the horseradish and sour cream in a small bowl and refrigerate.

Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with horseradish cream. While some of your fellow picnic friends may be a little shy to try it, once they do, they’ll be sad that you didn’t bring another.

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