This colorful beet side dish is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in NYC’s West Village.
Whenever someone asks me where they should eat in New York City, my first answer is Rosemary’s. It’s an Italian restaurant that serves some of the best homemade pasta and focaccia I’ve ever tasted, along with local produce and pasture-raised meats. It’s spacious as compared to most West Village (my favorite eating neighborhood) restaurants with a comfortable yet sophisticated decor, including high ceilings, an exposed brick wall, and rustic, wooden furniture. In the daytime, it’s flooded with natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, while in the evening, it’s all about cozy string lights and candles. Their Italian wine list is exhaustive – although I personally know little about wine and usually just order the cheapest option.
In case you’re wondering, Rosemary’s is as good for brunch as it is for dinner, and as great for a hot date as it is for dinner with your parents. And if all of that is not enough to convince you, I’m gonna go ahead and share that I once saw Emma Stone having lunch there, which basically means I had lunch with Emma Stone, which is pretty impressive, no?
But it would be silly to believe that it’s just the delicious food and alluring ambiance that make me love this place. In reality, it’s the warm memories that were created there that keep me coming back; Rosemary’s is like my Proustian madeleine, and stepping inside it is like being wrapped in a cozy blanket of nostalgia. Taleggio focaccia-flavored nostalgia, to be exact.
On our most recent visit home, we went to Rosemary’s to celebrate Rene’s belated birthday. Along with our focaccia, we ordered the beet side dish, which could not have been prepared easier. They were tiny, quartered rainbow beets dressed in olive oil and herbs, and topped with fragrant roasted hazelnuts. The dish was so simple yet so good – the perfect illustration of the fact that good ingredients don’t need much in order to shine.
I got excited to recreate the recipe for ya’ll since it’s the perfect easy side dish for the upcoming holiday season, and the festive red color is so à propos. Beets can also be considered a superfood – and an affordable one at that. They contain loads of minerals like folate and potassium, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Beets are known to aid the liver in detoxing the body, and some studies even suggest that beets inhibit cancer cell growth.
If you’re not familiar with cooking beets, it’s really as simple as any other root vegetable or tuber – you can roast, steam, or boil them. I bought the tiny, adorable rainbow beets pictured here at the farmers market and advise you to do the same. If the farmers market is not practical for you, feel free to use regular supermarket beets.
The hazelnuts are crucial to the success of this beet side dish. You can buy them pre-roasted, but please believe me when I tell you that roasting them yourself makes a yuuuge difference. You can typically find raw hazelnuts at the bulk bin section of any store. Blanched raw hazelnuts are best because the skins have already been removed. If you can’t find blanched, you may remove the skins by rolling freshly roasted hazelnuts under your palms in a kitchen towel.Print
I found these baby rainbow beets at the farmers market and advise you to do the same. If the farmers market is not practical for you, feel free to use regular supermarket beets. The hazelnuts are crucial to the success of this beet side dish. You can buy them pre-roasted, but roasting them yourself makes a huge difference. You can typically find raw hazelnuts at the bulk bin section of any store. Blanched raw hazelnuts are best because the skins have already been removed. If you can’t find blanched, you may remove the skins by rolling freshly roasted hazelnuts under your palms in a kitchen towel.
- 1 1/2 pounds baby rainbow beets, scrubbed
- 3/4 cup raw hazelnuts
- About 7 large basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Place the beets in a medium pot and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer with the lid ajar until tender, about 25 minutes (large beets may take up to 45).
- Meanwhile, arrange the hazelnuts in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant, being careful not to burn them. If your hazelnuts still have the skins on, place the nuts on one end of a kitchen towel and cover with the other end. Roll them under your palms to remove the skins. It’s okay if not all the skins come off.
- When the hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, roughly chop them.
- When the beets are done cooking, drain them and run the pot under cold water. Let the beets stand in cold water until cool (you may have to change the water). At this point the skins should be easy to slip off with your hands (wear gloves if you don’t want your fingers to turn red).
- Cut the beets into 1-inch chunks and place in a bowl. Add the basil, oil, lemon juice, salt, and most of the hazelnuts. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with the remaining hazelnuts.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 179
- Fiber: 3.9 g
- Protein: 4.4 g