Would you all believe me if I told you that I became a farmer so I could plant and eat as many beets as my little heart desires? It's an honest fact! My husband and I have a six-acre farm and we dedicated a LOT of that land to multiple rows of beets. It's true love. Beets are my spirit vegetable (yes, that is a thing!).
In my opinion, there is nothing more delicious than a farm-fresh beet. If you are a beet lover, I would highly suggest seeding beets in your garden. Beets do well in cooler climates, but can survive in warm weather too! They appreciate fertile soil and a lot of water. One of the most important things to know about growing beets is that they need a little room to grow big, so thinning a row of germinated beets is necessary -- thin so they are about three inches apart.
Beets are ready anywhere from 50-70 days after seeding. I tend to like smaller beets (I think they are sweeter) so I harvest them young. It's totally up to you though!
If you're not up for growing your own beets, don't worry! You can find fresh beets with healthy greens attached at most farmers markets throughout the summer and fall. I always recommend heading to your local farmers market to search for your produce and hopefully you'll get to meet your farmer, which is always a great thing! Grab your farm fresh goods and run home to whip up this easy and delicious farm fresh pizza.
I am a little embarrassed to admit that I never knew that beet greens were edible (and delicious) until I started farming five years ago. If I could take back all of the amazing beet greens I've thrown out over the years, I would do so in a heartbeat! Beet greens are not only nutritious, but they add a nice and mellow flavor to any dish and can stand in for leafy greens in pastas, salads, and - as in this case - pesto.
We topped our Beet Green Pesto pizza with some fresh spring greens and a drizzle of olive oil. It was an absolutely wonderful meal complete with a bottle of good wine and great friends to share the bounty of beets.
For the roasted beets:
- 2 large beets peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
- Pinch of sea salt
For the beet green pesto:
- 1 bunch beet greens about 4 cups
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- ½ cup chopped raw walnuts
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
To assemble the pizza:
- 1 pound pizza dough homemade or store-bought
- ¾ cup crumbled goat cheese
- ½ cup chopped raw walnuts
- ½ cup mixed spring greens
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Toss the sliced beets with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven until fork tender, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While the beets cook, prepare the pesto. Place the beet greens, garlic, walnuts, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. With the motor running slowly, drizzle in the olive oil. Continue to process until smooth, adding more oil if necessary to achieve a saucy consistency. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
- Roll out your dough to a 12-14-inch circle on a floured surface. Evenly spread the pesto on the crust, followed by the beets and goat cheese. Place the pizza in the oven and bake until the crust is just beginning to turn golden, 8-10 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle with the walnuts. Continue cooking until the crust is golden brown, the cheese is melted, and the walnuts are golden and crisp, about 2 more minutes.
- Serve the pizza with mixed spring greens and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.