La belle et la bette(rave) – Mille feuille de betteraves à la feta et salade de fèves, vinaigrette à la menthe



Anytime I go to the Rainbow in San Francisco, I cannot resist to buy all the vegetables I see, they are so colorful, and fresh that I want to buy them all, if I had a bigger refrigerator, I think I would just get a pound of every single item on display.

Yesterday what caught my attention, were those beautiful golden beets. Beets are quite popular in France, and my memories of eating beets go as far as I can remember…maybe when I was 7 or 8 years old “a la Cantine” which is the kids lunch meal eaten in the school facility.

Anyway, beets are high in antioxidants and its skin and leaves have about 3 times more antioxidants than its flesh that’s why juices made with beet leaves have the higher concentration of flavonoids components than any other vegetable.

As far as fava beans are concerned, they’re very popular in the Mediterranean regions, and especially in Italy. If eaten fresh, the skin needs to be removed since it tends to be a little think. They contain a high amount of proteins, fibers and vitamin C, so it’s perfect for vegetarians. I remember my grandpa growing them in the garden, and eating them fresh, just with some salt and even with the skin on. In Italy, they’re used to enhance pasta dishes or in stews. You can use them in salads, as a side dish, or just plain.

Ingredients for 2

  • 4 golden beets
  • 15 fava beans or about 200 g with pods
  • 2 handful of rucola
  • 3 tbs feta cheese
  • 3 tbs greek yogurt (I used the brand Page, you can find at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tbs chives, chopped
  • pepper

for the vinaigrette

  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one tangerine
  • 1 tsp raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tbs mint, chopped
  • 1 tbs garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper

Wash beets under running water, they may have some dirt on the outside, then steam them, I use a pressure cooker, cook for about 1/2 hour or more.

In the meantime, remove fava bean from their pod and set aside. In a pot bring about 2 cups of water to boil, then cook the fava bean for about 3 minutes. They don’t need to be cooked too long since they’re tender. Drain and remove the skin from the beans, the skin is tough and needs to be remove. It’s quite an easy process, you just take a pinch from the tip of your fingers and the skin will come out by itself. Set aside.

When the beets are cooked, let them cool and peel the skin with a knife, it will peel it very easily. Cut in about half inch (or 1 cm) thick slices.

In a small plate, mix feta and yogurt with a fork to make it into a smooth consistency, then add chives, and pepper. I usually don’t add salt since feta is already salted. If you use goat cheese instead of feta, you might want to add some salt.

At this point, you should have all the ingredients ready to assemble the beets and salad.

Spread the cheese mixture on one beet slice, add another slice spread with cheese, then add the third layer (the third layer doesn’t have any cheese on it). Repeat the process until you have mounted your 2 beet towers per person.

For the vinaigrette, add all the ingredients together and mix well.

Place rucola on a plate and half of the fava bean on top of it, then place two beet towers on top of the salad and spoon the vinaigrette on top of the beet and salad.