This post was originally published here November 16, 2015. I’ve since updated the text and photographs. This flavorful side dish is from Laurie McNamara’s cookbook, Simply Scratch: 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy. If you’re looking for no-fail, no-fuss recipes, her cookbook is for you!
I’m already day dreaming about some of my favorite Holiday side dishes. I know, I know. We’re still many weeks away from Thanksgiving and Christmas. But those side dishes get me all fired up! And as I was ogling the archives recently, I spotted these Roasted Beets with Parsley Pesto Vinaigrette from several years ago. And I thought “yes, these would be perfect for the Holidays”.
This recipe is from Laurie McNamara’s cookbook, Simply Scratch: 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy. Laurie’s blog has some of my favorite recipes on the internet (her small-batch lasagna and apple cider donut bread pudding make regular appearances in my house!). And her cookbook is filled with even more approachable, fool-proof recipes that you’ll want to make over and over again. These Roasted Beets with Parsley Pesto Vinaigrette are certainly a winner!
I’m a big fan of roasted beets, either served alone or tossed into a salad. And these Roasted Beets with Parsley Pesto Vinaigrette can easily do both. They are flavorful enough to stand out on their own. Or you can add them to a plate of simply dressed leafy greens and grains.
The method used here for roasting the beets is, in my humble opinion, by far the superior method for roasting beets (i.e. roasting them whole in aluminum foil packets). And it’s how we always prepared them in the restaurants I used to work in. Because the method is easy, mostly hands-off and can be scaled up with minimal additional effort. And the beets come out very tender and moist. The one downside is the time required to cook the beets in this way, which is typically an hour or more depending on their size. But they can be prepared in advance. I recommend cooking the beets, peeling them and then rewrapping them whole (don’t slice/chop them at this stage) in a clean piece of aluminum foil and storing them in your refrigerator.
The parsley pesto vinaigrette has a little bit of a bite to it from the combination of scallions, garlic and red wine vinegar. But it’s a great contrast to the mellow, earthy roasted beets. And I like that it’s a change up from the more typical basil pesto recipes that are out there. This recipe makes more pesto than you’ll need, but you can store any unused portion for quite a while in your refrigerator or freezer. I like to use the leftovers as a sandwich spread. Or stir them into a tomato-based soup, like a minestrone.
This is such a versatile side dish. I hope you give it a try over the coming months!
Roasted Beets with Parsley Pesto Vinaigrette
For the Beets:
- 8-10 medium beets, trimmed and scrubbed
- 1/4 cup parsley pesto (recipe below)
- 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
For the Parsley Pesto:
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 3 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp. black pepper
- About 1/4-1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Divide the beets between two large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Gather/fold up the edges of the aluminum foil to create sealed packets. Then place the packets in your pre-heated oven directly on the oven racks. Roast the beets for 55-65 minutes. The beets are done when they can be easily pierced with a small paring knife.
- Remove the packets from the oven and set them on a wire rack. Carefully open them (steam will release when you do this) and let the beets cool slightly. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them under cool running water using your hands to gently rub the skins off hand (you can use a peeler for any that are stubborn). Slice or chop the beets and place them in a clean bowl. Set aside.
- While the beets are roasting, make the pesto. In a small dry skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts until they are fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of your food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the toasted walnuts, parsley, scallions, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper until coarsely chopped. Then with your food processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Process until the pesto is mostly smooth. Taste and add more salt and black pepper, if necessary.
- Transfer 1/4 cup of the pesto to a clean bowl and stir in the red wine vinegar. Drizzle this over the roasted beets, tossing gently to coat. Transfer the beets to a serving dish. Enjoy immediately.
- Transfer the remaining pesto to a clean container and top it with a thin layer of olive oil. Cover and store in your refrigerator for several weeks.
Recipe reprinted with minor adaptions from Simply Scratch: 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2015, Laurie McNamara.
Hahaha! While I totally, 100% agree with your second motto, I like your first motto better. I agree 120% with the first one. 😉 Te-he-he (… where’d I put the bourbon?). Anyways, Simply Scratch is a great blog, and you are right – Laurie has the process shots down to a T! I don’t have enough patience for that stuff. Plus I’m always hungry, so I must rush through photos. Oops?
Anyways, LOVING these roasted beets! SO gorgeous and that parsley, scallion and walnut pesto sounds ahhh-mazing! This would be a great holiday side.. or a great snack for me (because who wants to share?). Pinning! Cheers, girlfriend!
Yeah I’m too impatient and hungry for process shots. Laurie nails it though! Thanks, girlfriend!
Ohh I wasn’t a beet lover until lately, but I am in LOVE with that pesto. Also, please keep your booze related motto, because that one is SO true 🙂
Oh you know me. I’ll never give up on the booze. 🙂
LIZ! First of all, thank you so much for reviewing a copy, making a recipe, hosting a giveaway and writing up such a lovely review! Your photos are always stunning and I especially love how the beets match the book! 😉 From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!! XoXo
Thank YOU for such a lovely cookbook. I’m so happy to have it in my home! XOXO!
Beautiful dish and a fabulous sounding cook book! Love her blog and will definitely add the book to my Christmas wish list 🙂
Perfect for Christmas! I have a very long list of cookbooks on my wish list this year! 🙂
I love beets! The vinaigrette sounds awesome- pinning!
Then I know you’ll love this dish, Medha!
We absolutely loveeee roasted beets at our house! And with that parsley pesto??? That sounds incredible! So pretty too!
I’m a huge beet lover myself! I hope you try out the pesto – it’s awesome!
I was not a fan of beets until I roasted them. Now I love them. I must try this pesto topper on beets.
Roasting is the best way, in my humble opinion! I hope you try out the recipe, Z!
Sounds like a great book! And this recipe- wowza! I love the flavors in that pesto, and beets are hands-down my favorite vegetable. Gorgeous photo, btw!
Thanks so much, Allie! I know you’ll love the recipe AND the cookbook!
Liz, I’m with you on using real, whole and fresh ingredients!!! It’s one of the main reasons that I started my blog too!!!! I’ll have to check out Laurie’s new cookbook! from the looks of it, it looks amazing!!!! So many fabulous cookbooks out there right now!! And I love this roasted beets recipe! WOW!!!! beautiful!
Yes, there are SO many amazing cookbooks just out or coming out soon. I want them all. I’m going to have a very long list for Santa this year! 🙂
I love cooking with fresh, wholesome and seasonal ingredients! I need to go check out Laurie’s blog because these beats look absolutely divine! I love roasted beets, and I adore pesto. So this recipe was basically made for me 😉
Sounds like it was totally meant to be! Thanks, Nora! 🙂
I’m with ya, Liz…on several points here. Improved with alcohol (yes!) and seasonal cooking! YES!! Thank you for the intro to Simply Scratch! I’ve not been to Laurie’s blog, but I need to make a visit. And her book sounds just like what I’d love…and these beets. Oh my goodness with a parsley pesto vinaigrette? They sound amazing. I absolutely love beets, especially when their slightly sweet. And they’re so good right now! Thank you for sharing this delectable recipe Liz! 😀
Oh I know you’ll love this recipe, Traci. And I bet you’ll fall in love with Laurie’s blog as well! It’s definitely right up your alley! XOXO!
I looooove roasted beets! They are seriously like candy to me. I can’t understand people who don’t like beets! They’ve obviously never roasted them. These ones sound amazing! Love the pistachios in there. 🙂
Same here! When people tell me they don’t like beets I think they are kind of crazy. Ha! I hope you try out the recipe, Jess. You’ll love it!
This is gorgeous Liz! Love roasted beet…love pesto…what a spectacular combo!
Thank you so much! That’s a HUGE compliment coming from you! XO
“Everything can be improved with alcohol…” I feel like I know you well enough by now to say that you are absolutely NOT kidding! Haha
And these beets sound amazing w/ that pesto vinaigrette!!
You know me too well, girlfriend! XOXO!
So glad you revisited these scrumptious beets, Liz! I need to make em ASAP!
All the beets!