Around the Island

Penelope’s Kitchen: The beet goes on



My kitchen is filled with gadgets that I use a few times and forget about. One handy gadget that has become a “must have” is my spiral slicer-cutter, which almost sounds like something out of the classic “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and Ethel demonstrate that they have no sales resistance. When it comes to the spiral slicer-cutter, which is affordable at around $34 and easily found on Amazon (I use the Paderno brand), you won’t want to have sales resistance.

My CSA has been offering multi-colored beets recently — yellow, white, “graffiti” and red. With nearly a dozen in the refrigerator, I have been cooking beet dishes to freeze. Thinking beyond pedestrian chopped beet dishes, my thoughts went to spiralizing them. During summer months, cucumbers lend themselves beautifully to spiralized salads, as does zucchini. It also makes curly potato fries that are as good as you would find at a steakhouse.

This is an easy dish to prepare — the most finicky eaters in your family will not know that the beet “pasta” is not flour-based! And for anyone who is trying to eliminate gluten or watch calories, this is gluten free, can be low in calories with easy substitutions, and is simply delicious.

Beet ‘Pasta’

Serves 2


2 medium sized beets, peeled
and ends cut

3 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup ham, cubed small

2 cloves garlic, chopped coarse

1/2 medium red onion, chopped fine

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup vermouth or apple cider vinegar

Water as needed

1/4 cup sour cream (low-fat or dairy-free can be substituted)

6 sprigs fresh oregano

4 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

Using the small blade on the spiralizer, create “noodles” from the two beets, set aside.

In a sauté pan on medium high heat, warm oil, then add the ham. When the ham is browned, add the garlic, being careful not to burn it. Then add onions.

When the onions are translucent, add the beets, salt and pepper, and combine the ingredients in the pan. Continue to move ingredients in the pan so they don’t burn.

After approximately 15 minutes, add vermouth or vinegar and stir; turn heat to high and continue to stir as beets are cooked.

As ingredients carmelize, add enough water to keep them from burning. Reduce juices until beets are cooked to taste. Add additional salt/pepper as needed. When just about done, add the sour cream and oregano and stir. Finish with grated cheese and serve.