Snacks & Small Plates/ Vegetarian

Beet Pesto Flatbread

 

This winter has really been quite mild. 30° – ish most days, little snow, and very few of those miserable negative wind chills. I’m unhappy just thinking about them. It has been so nice this year! My dog, a bernese mountian dog, would probably prefer it the other way around. At least more snow. A few belly scratches make her forget her woes.

2 years ago, when I was living in the city, we had a really long, really frigid winter. I didn’t have a parking spot, so I parked on the street. Even though they were supposed to tow when snow was over 2 inches… they didn’t . The result was mounds of thick ice lining the streets in my neighborhood. Every morning when I went to my car, not only did I have to stand in the freezing cold brushing off the snow, and then in a FREEZING car while it warmed up, I hoped and prayed that I would be able to get out of my spot that morning. Let’s not even talk about coming home and trying to parallel park in that!

That winter, I looked up plane tickets to Mexico everyday, delirious for some sun. Oh, how I am thankful for this mild winter. And my garage! Though I miss the city, I definitely treasure my suburb perks.

Anyway, this weekend was lovely yet again. I can feel spring in the air with March’s arrival, and I can’t believe it’s come so early! I haven’t even looked up one plane ticket to Mexico! Only one to Kathmandu because we were thinking about honeymooning  there to trek to Everest base camp (the result of watching too many documentaries on mountain climbing). Then I saw the movie Everest. Spoiler alert: it’s NOT A HAPPY MOVIE. Complete buzz kill to my mountain climbing desires. Unfortunately Kenny got really excited about the idea of hitting the himalayas and is still trying to convince me otherwise. We shall see who prevails!

With the Oscars on this weekend, I wanted to make something to snack on. In all honesty, I’d eat this as a meal. It checks all of my boxes : wholesome and flavorful, something full of nutrients but not so obviously so. Something that was elegant but could be done within the hour.

I’ve been heavy on the walnuts lately, and knew that they would be perfect with the beets, both in the pesto and then candied on top. Walnuts are so good for you – cancer fighing, brain and heart health; if you care to read up more, here’s a great article explaining it all. Obviously candying them is not ideal but hey, we gotta live a little!

Beet Pesto Flatbread

Print Recipe
Serves: 8-10 Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 (.125 oz) package of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt + salt to taste
  • 2 medium beets
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, divided
  • 1 - 3 tbsp olive oil, depending on your desired thickness
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup arugula

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350F.

2

In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, 1/2 tsp salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Separate the dough into two parts, Roll into two rounds, coat lightly in olive oil, and place in a bowl. Cover with a warm, damp cloth, and let rest for at least 15 minutes.

3

Place 1 cup walnuts on a baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.

4

Scrub, peel, and chop the beets into 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick strips. Toss in olive oil. Once the nuts are out of the oven, raise the temperature to 400°F, Roast the beets for about 30 minutes or until soft.

5

Allow beets to cool for a few minutes. Then, place in a food processor with the walnuts (not the candied ones!) and process until they resemble pesto. add the lemon juice and then olive oil 1 tbsp at a time until your desired consistency is reached, pulsing and scraping between each addition. Salt to taste.

6

Second, prepare your candied walnuts while the beets are cooking. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and garam masala.

7

Add 1 cup walnuts to the mixture and about 4 teaspoons of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved into a sticky glaze. You can add a little more water, but careful! Too much will ruin the glaze.

8

Transfer the nuts to the baking sheet in a single layer, evenly spread out. and not touching. Drizzle remaining glaze over the nuts. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, Immediately remove the parchment off of the hot baking sheet. Let the nuts cool completely,

9

Remove one dough round from the bowl. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a long, thin rectangle. Dough will be very thin, about 1/4 inch thick or less. Move to a greased baking sheet. Increase oven temperature to 450°F, and bake the dough for 9 - 12 minutes or until golden brown. If desired, remove from cookie sheet and place directly on rack for the last couple minutes, allowing it to crisp up.

10

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

11

While this is cooling, prepare the balsamic reduction. Place 1 cup balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pot and heat over medium heat until it begins to boil. lower heat and allow to simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until reduced and sweet to the taste.

12

To assemble: spread pesto over flat bread evenly. Top with fresh arugula, candied walnuts, and goat cheese. Using a cooking bottle or spoon, drizzle balsamic reduction over the flat bread. Enjoy!

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