Overloading the Machine

Beets and Greens with Bulgur and Miso Tahini Sauce

Based on a recipe from The Vegan Gourmet by Susann Geiskopf-Hadler and Mindy Toomay.

  • 2 pounds beets, with greens (about 8 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked bulgur wheat
  • Pinch salt
  • Several grinds black pepper
  • 4 green onions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame tahini
  • 3 tablespoons light-colored miso
  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch cayenne

Trim the greens from the beets, leaving about 1/2 inch of stems attached to the roots. Set the greens aside. Rinse the beets and place them on a steamer rack in a saucepan. Add about 2 inches of water, cover the pan, and cook over medium-high heat about 25 minutes, until each beet can be easily pierced all the way through with a sharp knife (big beets take longer). Check the water level midway through the cooking and add additional hot water if necessary. When they are tender, move the cooked beets from the pan and set aside.

Meanwhile, place he bulgur in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir and roast about 2 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of water, salt, pepper, and green onions. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to very low, cover the pan, and cook 15 minutes. Allow to stand, covered, 5 minutes and fluff with a fork before serving.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mash the tahini and miso together with a fork until well combined. Add the lemon juice and mash some more until incorporated. Add 1/3 cup hot water a little at a time, stirring. When all the water has been added, whisk to create a smooth consistency. Stir in the garlic and cayenne and set aside in a warm place.

Wash the beet greens (well — they often are very sandy), removing the tough stems. Tear the greens into bite-size pieces. Do not dry them — the water will provide the liquid for steaming. Pile the leaves into a saucepan, cover, and cook over medium heat 5 minutes, until they are wilted. Drain in a colander, using the back of a wooden spoon to press out as much water as possible. Keep warm.

When the beets are just cool enough to handle, slip the skins off. Slice the beets into 1/4-inch rounds.

To serve, mound the hot bulgur in the center of a platter. Arrange the sliced beets and their greens around the outside in a pretty pattern. Drizzle the sauce slowly over everything to distribute it evenly. Garnish with additional minced green onions, if you wish, and serve warm or at room temperature.

This page was last modified on 2011 December 20.