Beet Tart with Beet Green Pesto

Beet Tart with Beet Green Pesto Recipe

My husband Lulu has been harvesting the most beautiful vegetables this season. I cook depending on what's available in our vegetable box, and today, I played around with red and golden beets. Nothing went to waste. I made a beet leaf (it's edible!) pesto that I used as the filling for a -- you guessed it -- beet tart

I recently discovered fellow blogger Béatrice Peltre's new cookbook that shares the name of her lovely website, I adapted her savory crust recipe for this dish, and I was very pleased with the result. The xanthan gum dough holds together much better, so I'm definitely going to keep this tip in mind.

Beet Green Pesto Recipe with Picture



Yields: 6 servings

2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup walnut flour, see tips
1 tablespoon xanthan gum (see tips)
¼ cup whole walnuts
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
½ cup canola oil
1 red onion, sliced
2 sprigs thyme, chopped
¼ cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1 pound beets (red and golden) with their greens
1 clove garlic, finely minced
⅓ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 (1"-thick) slice feta cheese (about ¼ cup), crumbled


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the walnuts: To release the flavor and oil of the nuts, roast the walnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes at 325°F before using them. Coarsely chop the nuts.

For the onion-flavored oil: Heat the oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and fry until golden. Transfer to a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the pan

Making the crust: 

In a bowl, add the all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon salt. 

Using a handheld mixer, whisk 2 eggs with sugar for 3-4 minutes. The consistency should be very thick and airy.

Lightly oil the bowl of your food processor with a silicone brush. Alternatively add the flour, xanthan gum, ⅔ cups walnut flour and 6 tablespoons ice water. Blend for a few seconds, then add the onion-flavored oil. Pulse the mixture until it forms a sticky dough. Add the egg mixture. Pulse another 3-4 times until combined and it forms a dough. Chill in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.

Once chilled, transfer the dough onto a pastry board lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough like a sandwich. Using a rolling pin, even out the dough to about ½-inch thick. Place the dough in a non-stick rectangular (12" x 8") tart mold lined with parchment paper; following the edges of the mold, crimp the dough against the edge. Leave a little excess above the edge because the dough will settle a bit in the oven. Prick the dough with a fork. Chill in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. 

Prepping the beets: Remove any dirt and scrub the beets under tap water. Remember to trim off a little piece from the end of the root. Reserve the beet leaves for the pesto. Peel the beets. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for about 10-15 minutes. Strain the beets, allow to cool a little and slice them. 

For the beet greens: Wash the beet leaves thoroughly in several baths. Remove and discard the older, more fibrous part of the stems. Bring salted water to a boil. Add the beet leaves. Cook for about 4-6 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover and let the greens sit for about 5 minutes. Drain the liquid and transfer to a cold water bath. Coarsely chop.

For the beet green pesto: In a mini-food prep (or food processor), combine the beet greens, garlic, fried onions and ¼ cup olive oil. Pulse until smooth. Add the remaining ⅓ cup walnut flour and ricotta cheese.

Assembly time:

Fill the tart shell with the beet green pesto. Level the filling, then top with the sliced beets. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle the thyme over the beets. Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350°F.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the crumbled feta cheese and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a green salad.

Bon appétit!


For faster prep time, you could use store-bought pie crust.

If you don't have beet leaves, you can use regular spinach, Swiss chard or kale.

Xanthan gum is a fine powder used as a binder and emulsifier. If you look at the list of ingredients for salad dressings or ice cream at the supermarket, you'll find they contain xanthan gum. I use it for texture and as an egg white substitute. You can find it online or in any specialty food store such as Whole Foods.

You can either buy ready-made walnut flour (finely ground walnuts), or make it yourself. Grind the toasted walnuts with a food processor or spice grinder. Make sure you stop before it turns into nut butter. I used the VitaMix Dry Blade Container. The result should be a fine mill.

Check out more savory tart recipes.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 14, 2012.


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