Beets are highly nutritious and “cardiovascular” friendly root vegetables. I always thought I hated beets, but I was wrong. It turns out what I really hated was canned beets. Fresh beets are a whole new story – so I am always experimenting with new beet recipes. This one was a real winner and is requested by my family regularly. One of my favorite beet recipes is a roast beet salad which combines the earthy, sweet, robust flavor of beets and their greens with the tartness of Goat Cheese and the warm nuttiness of toasted walnuts. This recipe takes that beet salad vibe and wraps it up in hearty noodles and more cheese!! Yay!
You may be familiar with traditional red beets which are very sweet. But I encourage you to explore some of the other varieties of beets like the golden beets I included in this recipe or for some visual pizzazz, why not try the candy cane beets!! I cannot describe the flavor of the candy cane beets because I have not had an opportunity to try them, but only because I have not found them in my local markets… yet. The golden beets however I can dish on! Golden Beets are less sweet than red beets. The other difference between red and golden beets is the pigment compound that gives them their coloring. Red beets are rich in betalain pigment while golden beets are rich in b-xanthin. Though their pigment color differs, their nutritional benefits are the same.
Start by mixing up your herbed Goat cheese spread. I piled Goat Cheese, Neufchâtel cheese (cream cheese), creamy Greek yogurt into the bowl of my Ninja along with fresh Cilantro, Italian Parsley, Rosemary leaves, cracked black pepper and sea salt. Once this mixture was smooth, I put it in the fridge to chill and let the flavors blend while my beets were roasting.
To roast the beets, wash them thoroughly. Remove and reserve the green leafy tops. Rub Olive oil each beet and roast them in a 400º oven for about 40 minutes until they become tender. Allow them to cool before you peel them. Meanwhile chop up your beet greens and fresh leeks and set aside.
Get out your saute pan and lightly toast your walnut pieces, add a little olive oil to the pan and stir in the beet greens and leeks. Keep stirring and cook until the leeks become translucent.
Time to peel, slice and dice your roasted beets. Now that they are cooked the skins slide right off, but it is a rather messy job, you might choose to wear a pair of disposable gloves for this job. Using a combination of the red and golden beets makes for a flavorful and beautiful combination. You are now ready to start building your lasagna.
To make the Rosé Prima Vera sauce, mix together a basic red sauce with an Alfredo sauce of your choice. You will use half a jar of each, just store the unused jar in the fridge, or pour it into a zip lock freezer bag and freeze it for future use. I used a vegetarian red sauce with tomatoes, onion and garlic and a basic white Alfredo together to make a Rosé Prima Vera. You can also create this sauce using scratch made marinara and Alfredo if you have the time or have it on hand.
The first layer starts with a smear of sauce on the bottom of the pan to impart flavor to the noodles and to help it not stick to the pan. Layout three oven ready or regular Whole Grain or Brown Rice Lasagna noodles. I treat all noodles like oven ready, but you can pre-cook them to al dente texture if you prefer. I just find them easier to handle in an uncooked state. I used Barilla Whole Grain Lasagna noodles because I like the nutty flavor of them with the beets. Spread your noodles with the herbed goat cheese mixture. Top with red and gold beet pieces. Spoon on some of the sautéed beet greens, leeks and walnuts. A couple of spoons of sauce and you are ready for the next noodle layer… repeat until you run out. The last noodle layer is spread with the remainder of the cheese mixture and topped with the Rosé Prima Vera sauce and sprinkling of freshly shredded Parmesan cheese. It goes into a 350º oven for 50-60 minutes. I covered the dish with a foil tent to help steam the noodles for the first 30 minutes of baking and removed the tent for the remainder of the baking time.
Allow it to rest 10 minutes before serving and serve with a light salad and some crusty bread with butter, and a glass of Pinot Noir to cleanse your pallet. This dish is too delicious!
- 1 bunch red beets with greens, washed thoroughly
- 1 bunch golden beets with greens, washed thoroughly
- 3 leeks, washed and sliced
- 1 8oz pkg goat cheese
- 4 oz Neuchâtel cheese
- ½ C Greek yogurt
- ½ C walnut pieces
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
- 2 T cilantro, chopped
- 2 T Italian parsley, chopped
- Sea salt & cracked black pepper (to taste)
- 1 Pkg whole grain or brown rice lasagna noodles
- 1 jar Rosé Prima Vera sauce: mix together 1 jar of basic Red sauce with 1 jar Alfredo sauce of your choice. Split the mixed sauce to use half which is equal to 1 jar in this recipe and freeze the remaining half for future use.
- ¼ C Parmesan Cheese, Shredded
- Remove and reserve the beet greens.
- Rub Olive oil on the beets and roast them in a 400º oven for about 40 minutes (until tender). Allow them to cool while you work on the rest.
- While beets are roasting: Put goat cheese, Neufchâtel cheese, yogurt, parsley, cilantro and rosemary along with cracked black pepper and sea salt into a processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to blend.
- Rough chop the beet greens saute them with the leeks and walnuts (add salt and pepper to taste)
- Peel the cooled beets and dice them up.
- Using a 9×13 baking dish, spread a couple of spoons of Rosé Prima Vera sauce in the bottom.
- Place a layer of uncooked noodles over the sauce.
- Spread the noodles with the herbed got cheese mixture.
- Top that cheese layer with red and gold beet pieces.
- Spoon on some of the sautéed beet greens, leeks and walnuts.
- Spread a couple of spoons of sauce over the greens and repeat the layers until you run out.
- The last noodle layer is spread with the remainder of the cheese mixture and topped with the Rosé Prima Vera sauce
- Cover the dish with a foil tent to help steam the noodles for the first 30 minutes of baking.
- Bake in a 350º oven for 50-60 minutes.
- Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.