Friday night pizza just took a decided turn for the Holy Wow Batman!! Each week in my Local Fare Farm Bag I receive a couple loaves of freshly baked preservative free artisan bread from the French Pantry Bakery. In this week’s bag I received two loaves of gorgeous French Batard which is delightfully soft on the inside with a slightly chewy crust, perfect for making pizza bread. I also receive a bunch of long red beets in this bag. If you have never tried roasted red beets, I urge you to do so very soon. Any prejudice canned beets may have induced in you will quickly be overruled. Beet pesto takes everything glorious about a roasted beet, walnut and goat cheese salad and blends it into a smooth and creamy, earthy, dreamy melange of richness that just begs to be toasted on a batard with some goat cheese… so I did it. I’m not sorry. My husband is not sorry. My parents who live with us are not sorry and neither is the little dog!
First things first, you must roast the beets. I peeled them, wrapped them in foil and popped them into a 400º F oven for 40 minutes and then just let them cool for a bit. Meanwhile I made the accompanying slaw of Fennel, Pink Lady Apples, Celery and Walnuts that I found on The Stem Blog. It is just a crunchy little bowl of love and pairs beautifully with this beet pesto and goat cheese batard. Once the salad was together, I put it into the fridge to chill until dinner time.
Next is the pesto which is so easy, just plunk the cooled beets, a handful of fresh basil stems and all, walnuts, garlic cloves, cheese and olive oil along with salt and pepper into the Ninja. I opted to use vegan GoVeggie Parmesan and Follow Your Heart Mozzarella because I am currently excluding cow dairy products from my diet. The vegan products work just as well and have less fat and calories over all. But you can use regular fresh Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses too. Process the whole of it smooth, add more oil as needed. Use a spatula to periodically scrape down the sides and take a moment to adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper as needed. This pesto has tons of possibilities; use it to stuff ravioli, toss it with some whole wheat or rutabaga pasta, or like me, spread it on some french bread and toast it up. It is also good right off the spatula.
Prep your baking sheets with foil and spray each with a bit of butter flavored cooking spray. Slice each loaf of Fresh French Batard bread in half lengthwise and lay out on your prepared baking sheets. I decided to use the butter flavored cooking spray for just a touch of buttery richness without the calories. I spritzed a little on each loaf as well. The next step is to generously slather on that lush beet pesto on each half of the “buttered” bread, don’t be stingy, use it all! Crumble up two ounces of goat cheese on each slice and top that with a light sprinkling of vegan mozzarella (regular if that is your choice).
Pop those pans one at a time under the broiler for three to four minutes each depending on your oven. My oven here at sea level needed four minutes to reach optimum toastiness. To serve, slice each one in half and garnish with fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons. This recipe makes eight servings or as is our case, dinner for four on Friday and lunch for four on Saturday!
- 4 beets, peeled and roasted
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
- ¼ C fresh Parmesan Cheese (I used Vegan Parmesan)
- ¼ C shredded Mozzarella (I used Vegan Mozzarella)
- ¼ C Walnuts
- ¼ C olive oil, more if needed
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 loaves French Batard, split in half lengthwise
- Butter Flavored Cooking Spray
- 8 oz. fresh goat cheese, divided into 2 ounce chunks
- Peel and roast the beets wrapped in foil in a 400º F oven for 40 minutes and allow to cool.
- Place Beets, Basil, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses, walnuts, salt, pepper, and olive oil in the processor and process smooth. You will need to periodically use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Slice the bread into large pieces lengthwise.
- Line a couple of baking sheets with foil and spritz with cooking spray, place the batard on the sheet and spritz each slice with cooking spray.
- Slather each slice generously with beet pesto — use all of it.
- Top each slice with 2 oz of crumbed goat cheese and a tablespoon or so of mozzarella cheese.
- Place in the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
- Serve with a basil leaf ribbons on top of each slice of bread.