Pesto can be made with anything, even roasted beets.
Pesto can be made with anything, even roasted beets.

Dish of the Week: Roasted Beet Pesto

From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. Find other dishes of the week here.

This week, we’re taking a look at a new kind of pesto.

Derived from the Genoese word pestâ – meaning to pound or to crush, pesto is typically made by grinding basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a mortar and pestle. Known as pesto alla Genovese, the sauce has its roots in an Ancient Roman paste called moretum, which was made with crushed cheese, garlic, and herbs.

Though the basil and pine nut combination is the most common kind of pesto, the method of crushing a mixture to make a paste lends itself to a variety of ingredients and flavors. This, of course, opened up the possibility for a whole new world of pesto, including ones made with mint and almonds, arugula and walnuts, and even beets.

This roasted beet pesto the perfect summer condiment. Toss it with penne and walnuts for a light and refreshing pasta salad; dollop it on grilled steak and chicken; or use it as the base for a kale, beet and goat cheese pizza.

Roasted Beet Pesto

1 lb red beets (about 4 or 5 medium), tops rimmed
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted nuts (walnuts, pistachios, pinenuts)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and scrub the beets. Pat dry, peel the skin and cut into 1½ inch chunks. Place on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast, turning once or twice, until beets are tender, about 35-40 minutes.

*Alternatively, you can wrap individual beets in foil, place on a baking sheet, roast until tender and remove skin once cool.

Allow to cool. Add to food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until mixture is well combined and smooth (if the mixture is too thick, add a splash of water or lemon juice). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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