Beets, yes beets! There’s a lot to get excited about when it comes to this gorgeous hearty vegetable. It’s been used in cuisines for thousands of years and is the centerpiece for many famous dishes all over the world. In some countries it’s a staple food.
My love and appreciation for beets was a long journey. Growing up I was usually served beets from a can. Soft and mushy, it wasn’t the stuff beet dreams are made of. Needless to say once I left home beets were abandoned. It took a lot of beet knowledge and some food wisdom to finally bring them back into my life for good. Poor beets, I misjudged you.
Beets or beta vulgarisare are incredibly versatile and resilient vegetables. They are cold weather root vegetables that have long seasons, grow quickly, and survive frost and almost freezing temperatures. They are also fairly easy to grow which is why they’re available most of the year. Beets include many varieties such as white, red and yellow although red is the most common variety. It’s also the sweetest and most colorful.
Beets are among the most nutritious vegetables. They are loaded with vitamin C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine and folic acid, as well as high levels of boron which is directly related to the production of human sex hormones. Seems that beets are nature’s Viagra. Beets are also very cleansing (especially for the liver), aid in weight loss, are a great source of natural energy, and contain natural nitrous which increases blood flow especially to the brain. I think we definitely need to eat more beets.
For this recipe I used raw beets that were cut into pasta and then fermented. The fermenting process helped balance out the sweet and bitter flavors, lowered the sugar content, added friendly bacteria, and brought out a distinct savory element. I love and enjoy a lot of vegetable pasta dishes Cucumber Pasta but this one was a completely new experience for me.
To prepare the beets I first I trimmed and peeled them, then used a spiralizer to create the pasta. If you’re unfamiliar with a spiralizer, it’s a handy kitchen gadget that instantly turns solid vegetables into pasta shapes. The tool is inexpensive and one of my most used kitchen tools. But you can use any pasta cutting tool you like.
It was a messy job, but fun. I wore disposable gloves because beet juice is like ink…..it runs. But no worries. Beet “ink” has been used as natural food coloring for thousands of years in everything from clothing to cosmetics. Before commercial make-up, women dabbed beet juice onto their lips and cheeks for an instant natural glow. Glorious beets, live on.
Once the beets were spiralized I gently massaged with a little sea salt. I then tossed then into a jar with apple cider vinegar and pepper, gave the jar a few shakes then left it on the counter for 2 days to ferment. I occasionally “burped” the jar to keep the pressure from building up. After 48 hours, I had al dente style probiotic-rich beet pasta with a mild pickled flavor. It was beet pasta love at first bite.
To top my beautiful pasta I added a creamy mushroom gravy infused with sage. Fresh uncooked gravies like this one and my Mushroom Au Jus were such a revelation when I first delved into uncooked sauces and gravies. They are breeze to make, and so creamy and delicious you won’t miss the cooked (or canned) versions. Just plunk the ingredients into a blender and you have instant perfect gravy that’s ready to serve.
I served the pasta with my European Dark Rye Bread and a few chopped fermented vegetables for an all around sensational meal. I especially loved how the sauce, when tossed with the beets, took on soft pink tones which gave this dish additional eye appeal. Okay so that’s just me, but I did love the gorgeous mauve/pink sauce all over my red pasta. Of course you don’t have to toss before serving. Either way you’re in for an unusual treat.
Earthy, intense, and extremely nourishing; this meal delivers on so many levels. I hope you’ll get as excited about beets as I now do and try this bold and beautiful dish.
This recipe is raw, dairy and gluten-free, and serves 2 – 4 persons.
Fermented Beet Pasta w/Creamy Sage Mushroom Gravy
Fermented Beet Pasta:
I suggest fermenting for minimum 8 hours. If you have the time you can ferment for 48 hours or even us up to 2 weeks. The longer you ferment the more “pickled” your pasta will taste and the softer it will be. Keep in mind though that because the beet pasta is raw it will always be somewhat al dente no matter how long you ferment it.
- 5 – 6 medium-sized beets or similar amount in other sizes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (optional)
- Trim and peel the beets. Make sure they are flat and even on the ends.
- Use the attachment for thin pasta on your spiralizer.
- Press the beets securely into the back spike.
- Spiralize, keeping the beet firmly in place. To make it a little easier for me, I rotate my beets about halfway through to make sure the smoothest side is facing the teeth of the crank handle. Press firmly and evenly while spiralizing.
- Repeat this process with each beet.
- When finished spiralizing, add the beets to a mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle with the sea salt and massage for a few minutes until the beets starts to wilt.
- Add the vinegar and pepper (if using) and toss well.
- Transfer to glass jars (I use 2 – 3 quart-sized mason jars with the canning lids), leaving some room at the top to allow gasses and liquids to escape.
- Seal the jars with air tight canning lids.
- Place on the counter for 8 hours to 2 days to ferment. The length of time determines how “pickled” it will be.
- When ready, serve immediately or store refrigerated.
- Yields 4 – 5 cups.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
Creamy Sage Mushroom Gravy:
- The white wine in the gravy is optional but really adds a nice punch. Other options are non-alcholic white wine or just plain water.
- This recipe can be halved.
- 1 cup sliced white or brown mushrooms
- 1 1/4 cups raw cashews
- 2 – 3 large fresh sage leaves
- 1/4 cup white wine or water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp minced dried onion pieces or 1/2 tsp ground onion powder
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- Add all ingredients except the 1/2 cup of chopped sliced mushrooms to a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a container and stir in the remaining sliced mushrooms.
- Set aside or refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use. You can warm the sauce if you want or simply blend until desired warmth before stirring in the sliced mushrooms.
- Yields about 4 cups.
- Can be stored refrigerated up to 5 days.
Suggested Garnish & Add-Ons:
- European Dark Rye Bread
- chopped mushrooms
- natural sauerkraut
- chopped naturally marinated vegetables
- freshly grated black peppercorns
- any other toppings or sides you wish
- Distribute Fermented Beet Pasta on serving plates.
- Pour Creamy Sage Mushroom Gravy over each serving.
- Garnish and serve immediately.
- Toss the Fermented Beet Pasta and Creamy Sage Mushroom Gravy together in a bowl.
- Garnish and serve immediately.