Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Brazilian Black Beans and Roasted Beets

Some women, when their husbands are being romantic, get a bunch of flowers.  Me? I  get a bunch of beets.  And I wouldn't have it any other way!  My husband and I have a long tradition of him bringing me produce.  This all started when we were first dating, and he arrived at my door with a shopping bag containing three cannoli, the latest issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray, and a big head of cabbage.  This remains one of the best moments of my life!  The cannoli were because I was craving it, the magazine because I love it.  And the cabbage?  Well, I guess I had already let my love of braised cabbage slip.  You should all talk about braising cabbage when you are dating.  I don't know why you would think otherwise. 

If you don't, you will not find yourself years later with a whole bunch of fresh beets from Russo's, ready to turn into this meal.  My husband worked late the other night, and with about as much effort as I like to put into a meal that is just for me, I put together this little plate of Things My Husband Does Not Really Like...beets and black beans!  I cooked up the beet greens too, and I'll have to share that recipe with you sometime soon, because it is one of my favorite recipes for dark, leafy greens.  But I'm not sharing it with you now.  You know why?  Because I learned something from this meal.  Something important.  Here goes: it is not actually a good idea to eat an entire bunch of beets, greens and all, on one's own in one sitting.  Just don't do it, man.

The beets here are adapted from aartipaarti.  Have you all been watching the Next Food Network Star this summer?  I am totally rooting for Aarti Sequeira!  These beets come out a little crispy on the outside, and sweet and tender on the inside.  They are almost like beets disguised as home-fries.  When you taste these, you will understand my issue about gobbling them all down at once.

And as for the beans, well, it is not much of a recipe...just really a dump and stir.  But since I am always looking for things like this, that are tasty, healthy, and take a whole 5 minutes and a dollar, I thought I ought to share.  In case you are always looking for things like this too!  This meal would be great with a little brown rice, or even some coconut rice!  And whatever you do...don't forget to top it all with a little fresh grated asiago cheese or white cheddar, lest your dinner look totally goth.  A little chopped cilantro wouldn't be a horrible idea either.

Roasted Beets
adapted from aarti paarti
serves as many as you'd like, but I recommend more than 1 (see above)

1 bunch of beets
1-2 tsp olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wash, trim, and peel the beets.  (Wear rubber gloves for this if you do not want to be purple for a day.)  Dice into even 1/2 inch chunks.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the olive oil, and use tongs to stir through and coat.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and use tongs to toss again.
3. Pop the beets into the oven for a good 45 minutes to an hour.  Check and toss now and then, but this dish is most forgiving to the forgetful.

Brazilian Black Beans
serves 3

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 Tbsp cumin
4 scallions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, pushed through a garlic press
1-2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
Asiago cheese or white cheddar, freshly grated (about 2 Tbsp)

1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Add the scallions and cumin, and saute for 3-5 minutes, until the scallions soften.
3. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute, until the garlic becomes fragrant.
4. Add the black beans, and stir.  Cook for 3 minutes, until the beans heat through.  Remove from heat, and stir in the lemon or lime juice.  Salt and pepper to taste. 
5. Sprinkle the asiago or white cheddar cheese over the beans shortly before serving, and sprinkle them on the beets as well, if using. 


  1. I continue to hear about how great beets are so I need to try them! For some reason I've shied away from it. Maybe because I've never had them cooked properly.

  2. The salad looks healthy and delicious. I like beets & beans combination :)

  3. I need to find a husband like yours! For sure. I would much prefer veggies to flowers. Anyday. Nothing is better than the gift of food.

    Those brazilian beans look delicious! And I love Aarti! Totally rooting for her!