BEETroot Feta Basil Almond PESTO sauce

Beat the blues with bright BEET roasted Almond Basil Pesto.
Some call this radical.  I call it ridiculously delicious.

For a few minutes, I had put my ‘Foodie’ hat aside.
As an Interior Designer...
I would have been more inclined to keep admiring this stunning colored pesto.  
I was also very tempted to dip my paintbrush and make a magnificent ‘tableau’ with it.

Alright, back to why I needed to share this latest pesto sauce creation ;o)

Five pounds of BEETS were offered on sale for a pittance.
Was I going to use all of these finger staining treats?  

Short of golfing down a few of my Mother-in-laws pickled beets...her 'sweet red carrots...
I was never really inclined to make anything with beets.  
Actually...does roasting, slicing them and decorating a dish count?  

Hmmm...I felt a challenge coming on.  I had read about the crispy 'latkes' pancakes which I'll definitely be making soon.  A few versions of beetroot pesto sauces were among us beet enthusiasts.  Also to my surprise...a beetroot ice-cream was created as a truly unique palate cleanser.   I certainly was not going to let this possible culinary adventure pass me by.  The added bonus...this bag of beets was at a crazy low price.  How could I go wrong?!?

While at the cash register, I admit to having felt an internally, nervous grin.  I could already hear my Hubby's comments about overwhelming myself with more than I could consume.  The time dedicated in the kitchen lately had slimmed down since our house move.  He sure knows how to indirectly poke at that pressure pedal.  I knew that I would have to hold myself accountable for every last beet to turn into something special.  

Smoked salmon was the perfect compliment with this lusciously smooth, contrasting beetroot pesto.

I also knew there wasn't  going to be a competition with my MIL's pickled 'red carrots'.  
I would never dare take that away from her ;o)
Time to look for inspiration...
I turned to our talented food bloggers and turned on the creative beet juices.

With all these beets, I figured, the worse thing that could happen was to increase my intake of salad. Surely the added benefit of the healthy beet would help burn that excess lingering around my abdomen since the last decade.  
My mid-40's are proving very challenging in the jean fitting department.  It seems, that although I've been eating a little less...exercising more...and keeping my cortisol level in check...the pounds have still been sneaking up on me.  
Oh well, since Mom expressed her... "You know my daughter" moment...and "It also started to happen to me at around that age"...I feel so much better knowing I'm not alone.  Not!  Thankfully, I console myself knowing that all turned out fine for her eventually...she looks great for her young years.  Something to look forward to ;)

Lately, it happened again when my friend iterated the same speech about me getting my first pair of reading glasses.  Yikes, now I'm really all grown up!  Time to get back to what keeps me young at heart...developing and creating concoctions in my 'cucina'.

First off, I wanted to come up with easier ways to roast beets without...
fussing around with covering every single one with foil.  
Well, two things came to mind.  
The first one was to use my garlic roasting method with my handy muffin pan.
The second...call it: my very lazy method...was used for the much smaller beets.

Both methods were great and will be used from now on...how clever of me ;o)  
My laziness had to serve somewhere...
especially when there were so many other things to do.  
Did I ever mention, how guilty I feel wasting time?  

Chop, chop, the almonds needed some roasting...my pasta dish was waiting.

BEETroot Feta Basil Almond
PESTO sauce

yields 4 small glass jars...about 4 cups (500ml)

Click HERE for PRINT version

(American / Metric measures)

.  8 small-medium Beets, roasted *
.  3/4 cup (100g) Feta cheese,  (lightly salted  preferred: Egyptian or Bulgarian variety)
. 4 oz. (110g)  Almonds, roasted **
. 1 cup (20g) fresh Basil leaves, loosely packed
. 1 cup (250ml) e.v. Olive oil (plus a little more for the top protective layer)
. 1-1/2 tsp. (7.5ml) ‘Fleur d‘ail‘ (or 1 large garlic clove)
. 1-1/2 tsp. (7.5ml) sea salt (put less if Feta cheese is very salty)
. 1 tsp. (5ml) dried Tarragon (optional)

* BEETS...roasting:
. 1st Method: Wash and pat dry the beets.  Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.  Place the beets in cupcake paper liners and into a muffin pan.  Cover with aluminium foil.  Seal tightly in order for steam not to escape.  Place the pan on the bottom rack for 45 minutes.  Once out of the oven, let it rest under the foil for about 30 more minutes before peeling.  They need to cool before using them in the recipe.  

. 2nd Method: Wash and pat dry the beets.  Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.  Roast them in enough foil to cover the inside of the pan as well as the beets.  Seal tightly in order for steam not to escape.  Place the pan on the bottom rack for 45 minutes.  Once out of the oven, let it rest under the foil for about 30 more minutes before peeling.  They need to cool before using them in the recipe. 

. 3rd Method (for those who are rushed): Use the Microwave to 'nuke' them on Hi for 5 minutes and then place them into the roasting pan to continue roasting them for about 20 minutes or so.  This method cuts the roasting time in half. 
** ALMONDS...roasting:  
Pre-heat oven at 350F/ 180C /Gas 4.  In a medium size baking pan, roast the almonds on the bottom rack of the oven for about 13-14 minutes.   Completely cool before using.  

...Before you begin:
1. It’s best that the almonds and beets have been roasted and cooled prior to making this pesto sauce.  If not...follow the directives mentioned above. 
2. Prepare the fresh basil leaves by carefully washing and towel or spin-drying them well.

...In a POWER blender:
3. Place the basil leaves first, followed by the oil and then the rest of the ingredients.
4. Afterwards, pulsate the ingredients several times before going ahead with a strong blitz action.  Blend until creamy smooth. 
5. Pour the pesto into individual small glass mason jars and finish the top with a light film of olive oil.
. These jars will do very well in the freezer for up to one year.  In the refrigerator, it will keep one week.  Tip: make sure that after every use, the jar’s interior exposed sides get a proper paper wipe and that there's always enough oil to cover the surface.  This will aid in preserving it for an extended use.

This Beetroot PESTO is quite interestingly versatile:
. Into a dressing for salads as well as dips and spreads.   
. Meat and fish dishes would be complimented with these flavours.  
.Tossed with steamed and grilled vegetables dishes...especially potatoes.  
. Of course, any type of pasta dish would reign supreme as an entrĂ©e or main meal.  
. Soups would benefit not only by a unique flavour...it would liven up any facial expression.

The creation of this pesto sauce far exceeded my expectation.  
Hubby, was actually thrilled with this new delectable addition to our repertoire.

Now, I’m really enthusiastic about my experimentation with this colorful, bold vegetable.
I’m thinking...maybe dare myself to actually make beetroot ice-cream?!?

Until next time, have a memorable week.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

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