This side dish is packed with wonderful flavors: sweet (beets), spicy (the pepper), and tart (goat cheese) all at once. If you don’t appreciate spicy, then you can substitute a regular green pepper for the Poblano pepper suggested below.
Caution handling spicy peppers as if you touch one and then touch your face or eyes with your fingers, you can burn your face or eyes. Some people use gloves when handling hot chilis; I just aim to be careful and wash my hands well after handling.
Prep Time: 15-20 Minutes Baking Time: 60-70 minutes Serves: Two
2 large beets, peeled, sliced vertically into quarters
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 poblano chili (or alternatively a green bell pepper)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
4 teaspoons pumpkin seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground paprika
1/16 teaspoon ground cayenne (add to taste)
2 ounces (4 tbsp) goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350° (F). Rub olive oil over beets and poblano chili and sprinkle on salt and Italian herbs. In an ovenproof baking dish, bake beets and chili for 60-70 minutes, until a fork inserts easily and they are tender.
Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan to medium heat and heat pumpkin seeds until lightly toasted, not browned. Sprinkle paprika and cayenne over pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
When beets and pepper are baked. Peel skin from pepper, and remove seeds, then dice pepper into pea-sized pieces. In a small mixing bowl, combine diced pepper with goat cheese. Bake (cheese mixture) in the oven for 2 minutes to warm the cheese mixture (or microwave for 30 seconds). Spoon the goat cheese onto two medium serving plates, serve beets over goat cheese mixture, and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Steven Masley, MD