Beet Walnut Pesto Rotini

Friends, I had high hopes this week. In my continuing quest to keep the baby, but lose the weight, I committed to find that perfect healthy baked good. I went to great lengths. Squares, bars, muffins. Whole wheat flour, spelt flour, rice flour. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds.

I am sorry to report that my experiments in baking have gone awry. I am saddened, but not altogether surprised, to admit that no amount of chocolate or peanut butter can hide the presence of chickpeas in a muffin. In fact, the originally delicious peanut butter chocolate muffin ends up tasting like it has been dipped in hummus. Not good.

Fortunately for us all, I have a great recipe to fall back on – one that does not involve chickpeas in any form. It does involve beets. But they are not hidden in a brownie, or whipped into a ganache. They are loud and proud and in your face. And they are delicious.

I was late to the beet love-in. Sure, I read all those locavores and hippies waxing on about heirloom varieties and lush beet greens, but I just didn’t buy it. Beets looked like bloody pulp, and from what I heard, they tasted like soil. I might as well just dig into the chickpea muffin.

But then I got beets in my CSA box a couple of summers ago, and decided to try the roasted beet and goat cheese salads everyone was raving about. Whoo boy. I got on that beet bandwagon real quick.

So when I saw this recipe, I couldn’t resist. Doesn’t it look fancy and dramatic? Something you could serve at a dinner party and say, off-handedly, ‘Oh, this old thing? I picked up the recipe from Chef So-and-So in New York,’ and people would believe you. But the truth is, it’s dead easy. AND you can double batch it and freeze it in single portions in the freezer. AND you can even take some out a few steps early and serve it to baby. (Baby M likes it – but be forewarned – beets are best served to baby when both of you are covered in those toxic materials suits. And maybe put some plastic on the floor. And the walls.)

Rotini With Beet Walnut Pesto


1 pound red beets with greens, scrubbed

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil

Coarse salt

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Bulb of garlic

Red-pepper flakes

12 ounces whole wheat rotini

1/2 cup goat cheese (you can substitute low-fat ricotta if you are counting calories, but the goat cheese does give it an extra edge that I think completes the dish)


  1. >Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle beets with oil and season with salt. Wrap tightly in foil.
  2. Cut top off garlic and brush with olive oil. Wrap tightly in foil. Trim greens off of beets and set aside. Put both the beets and garlic in the oven and roast until tender, 1 hour. Peel and chop beets once cool.
  3. Pulse beets, walnuts in food processor or blender until smooth. Squeeze in half the bulb of roasted garlic and season with salt and red-pepper flakes. Blend until mixed.
  4. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup water, and return to pot.
  5. While pasta is cooking, saute beet greens in one tablespoon olive oil and two cloves of the roasted garlic. Season to taste.
  6. Toss with beet mixture, adding pasta water until creamy. Serve with goat cheese, sauteed beet greens, and red-pepper flakes.

Serves 4


If serving to baby, take out beet puree before adding in walnuts and red pepper flakes.

You will be left with a little extra roasted garlic. Toss it in soup, or spread it on toast the next day. It’s delicious!

2 Responses to “Beet Walnut Pesto Rotini”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] to the earthiness of the beets and they look pretty, too. That’s how I came up with my Beet Walnut Pesto Rotini, but you can easily toss the greens and the beets with some goat cheese and pine nuts for an easy […]

  2. […] tried this Pumpkin Spice dip recipe from Super Healthy Kids, and while I said that I would never venture to make another dessert that had chickpeas in it, this one is not bad. Plus it’s great fway to get picky toddlers to gobble up their fruit […]

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