We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day, but I hardly need an excuse to have little fun with dinner. I made this dinner around a Beet Challenge recipe submitted by Sew Wabi-Sabi. When she emailed it to me she said, “Since diced red beets bleed like crazy, they dye the rice a striking hot pink. (Perfect for Valentine’s Day!)” She was so right, but I think I like hot pink rice no matter what day it is.
I used jasmine rice instead of her called-for brown rice because I really wanted the color to pop. I’m sure it’d look smashing with brown rice, too. The best recipes are usually simple ones, like hers, but when they’re simple you really shouldn’t mess with them until you’ve tried it. I messed with it, because I was silly and forgot to pick up raspberry vinegar. I had already gone out in the sleet storm to get beets (and got a flat tire while I was at it) so I really didn’t want to go back for the vinegar. I ended up subbing rice vinegar with a mashed up (and strained) strawberry in it. It was good, but still, they were beets. Cute heart shaped beets, but beets nonetheless. Though, looking at that color, I’ve never loved beets more!
I couldn’t limit myself to just one heart shaped vegetable. I had some collards in the fridge that were begging to be used, so I tossed them together with these cute little carrots I cut out while the beets were roasting, slivered almonds, and some lemon juice. Again, simple but oh-so tasty. My usual dark leafy green of choice is kale, but these collards gave my kale a run for their money. And plus, more little hearts! These would be really cute in a salad if you have the patience for them.
Finally, the real star of the dinner, my one true vegetable love: brussels sprouts. I’ve talked about these before, more than once. I’ve even given a vague recipe for them before, but I paid attention this time so I could write it out all proper-like. You need to try these. If you love sprouts already, great, but if you don’t, consider trying them one more time. Hey, I’m eating beets! You can try a sprout. Tomorrow I’ll do a write up on selecting and prepping the cute little cabbages, so you have no excuse!
All three recipes below!
Superfantastic Brussels Sprouts
2-4 Side Servings
1 1/2 lbs (ish) Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 Tbs Oil
1 Cup Apple Cider or Juice
4 Tbs Earth Balance
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 to 1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbs Flour
Trim the ends off the sprouts, remove loose and blemished leaves and halve. Heat oil in a very large saute pan, allowing the pan to get really, really hot, but not smoking. Place brussels sprouts in, cut side down, and let cook for 1-2 minutes, until seared with some color but not cooked through.Â Turn down heat to medium low, add apple cider and cover. Cook for 4 minutes, or until just tender – a knife inserted into the stem should go in with a little resistance, and sprouts should be bright green. Remove sprouts from pan into a large bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving liquid behind.Â A couple of stray leaves are fine.
Turn down heat a bit more and add in earth balance, mustard and salt. When earth balance is melted, sprinkle in the flour and whisk until smooth. Turn up heat and keep whisking until thickened, another couple seconds. Pour over sprouts, toss, and serve immediately.
Baked Beets and Brown Rice Salad Recipe from Sew Wabi-Sabi
1 pound red beets (3 medium)
2 1/2 Cups Cooked Short Grain Brown Rice
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbs Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 tsp Raspberry Vinegar, more if needed
1/4 tsp Salt, plus more if needed
2 Tbs Thinly Sliced Scallion Greens (optional)
2 Tbs Pine Nuts, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Trim off any beet greens, leaving about a half-inch of stem intact. Rinse the beets. Wrap each beet individually in a tightly sealed aluminum foil packet. Set the beets on a foil-lined baking pan and bake until you can easily pierce them to the center with a paring knife, approx 60-90 minutes. (You can pierce the beets right through the foil.)
When they are cool enough to handle, gently rub the foil of each still-sealed packet against the beet. Slip off the beet skins along with the foil. Trim off the tail and stems ends. Cut the beets into 1/4-inch dice and set them in a bowl or storage container. Add the rice and toss until the rice is “dyed” beet red.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt. Toss the dressing with the beets. Adjust the seasonings, adding more vinegar and or salt, if needed, to intensify the flavors. Let the salad sit until the grains absorb some flavor, about 15 minutes. Stir in the scallion greens (if using) just before serving. Garnish with pine nuts. Serve at room temperature.
Sauted Colard Greens with Almonds and Carrots
1 Bunch Collard Greens, washed and de-veined
1 Tbs Oil
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Sliced Carrots
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt
Black Pepper to taste
Saute carrots and almnds in olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add greens, lemon juice, and salt. Stir well and cover for another few minutes, until greens are tender, stirring often. Serve Immediately with cracked pepper on top.