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Beet Purée and Fruit Salad w/Caramelized Onion & Ginger Recipe

This is an emotional post. It requires attention to detail and understanding of culinary growth.

I  hate beets. Really, I do. As a child, Mami used to juice for the 5 of us and force two glasses of the unbearable concoction before ordering us off to school. I swallowed with much resistance and talked to myself, remembering that my telephone chat allowance weighed heavily on my sips.


There has to be truth to the idea of being repulsed by something due to an early traumatic experience. Clearly that was the case with me and beets. I thought the same would be true for eggplant, as I vividly remember one Sabbath afternoon, while in the company of friends, pitching a fit because the eggplant lasagna tasted like medicine. I was so done. Fortunately, I got over that. Perhaps because it wasn’t a daily meal requirement. And today, I love me some berenjena. Especially the way Italians make it.

I wish I could say the same for beets. I’m not sure what it is about the root vegetable, but it’s always been something I’ve abhorred them. Yeah, abhorred.

I know they’re replete with vitamins and great health benefits, but their inconvenient properties offer nothing but added  dislike.

However, as a professional, I have to be open-minded to eating foods that don’t excite me. I took a leap of faith about two years ago and started playing with beets. Every part of the cooking process was accompanied with sounds of the vintage juicer. Painful.

But, I went forward with my meal and entertained Mami’s jokes.

The first effort resulted in a fantastic salad with  roasted beets cut into cubes and tossed with a robust blue cheese, tangerines, garlic, honey and mint. I was actually impressed and hence the curiosity of what else I could do with the deep-pigmented  vegetable was earthed.

And both Mami and Papi loved it. Reason enough to get over my distaste.

Unfortunately, a lot of that excitement was wishful thinking.

It wasn’t until last week that I gave beets two thoughts. When the 5 Star Makeover cooking group announced that beets were this month’s choice ingredient, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Not only had I missed participating for two challenges, but my return would be a borderline crime committed against my taste buds.

I then got giddy.

I remember making a commitment to myself to eat healthier, leaner and incorporate more vegetables in my diet in one of my first posts of the year. And, so again, I went forward with my meal.

I wasn’t particularly inspired by anything other than to make something that required a minimal amount of beets. Something super simple, but tasty. It instantly occurred to me to make a purée. How could that go wrong? No, right?

Lacking tremendous excitement, I approached this with a slight amount of laziness. I won’t lie. I washed one real well, cut it in half, sliced it and slapped it on the grill. I embraced the skin and left it on there even after it was cooked.

The purée kind of just happened. I transferred the thick slices into my processor and added apple cider, sugar (I went for honey, but it was so solid, I didn’t want to give it time to seep downward in the bottle), sea salt and a light olive oil I purchased in Spain back in 2007. I reserve that one for special occasions.

I pulsed it for about 2 minutes until it thickened up. The skin helped.

I scanned my kitchen and took no time conjuring up a simple salad. Apples, pears, and for a topping, red onion and ginger. Oh, and walnuts, because I felt it needed one more element of crunch.


I find myself a liar!!  The end result was amazing. Hello!!! I loved it. And so did my guinea pig friend who’d never had beets. Everything about it worked. The texture, balance of flavors, simplicity and even colors. The only thing I think I’d change or add would have been tangerines and possibly a bit sweeter. I even thought that perhaps some thin slices of Manchego cheese would complement it all very nicely.  To that end, I adjusted  the recipe to reflect the sweet point I would have preferred.

I have a new found respect for beets, my friends. They showed off a surprisingly lovely aroma while grilling. That positioned me to be more open to enjoying them rather feeling obligated because it was a challenge.

In the end, I turned up 2 1/2 cups of purée which I’ll repurpose and continue pairing with other things. I don’t suspect it’ll take me long to devour, which is a good thing considering I’ve overcome a masked fear of a simple vegetable;  and who knows how long that’ll last!


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Beet Purée and Fruit Salad w/Caramelized Onion & Ginger


  • 1/2 large beet, roasted or grilled
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple, sliced
  • 1/2 Bosc pear, sliced
  • 4 tbsp. light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup red onion, julienned
  • 1 tbsp. walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • sea salt to taste


Using large stove top skillet, grill beets for 15 minutes or until al dente. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to food processor. Add apple juice, olive oil, sugar (or honey) and salt. Pulse on low to medium setting for 90 seconds or until beets are smooth, showing only a slither of texture. In small skillet, melt butter and cook onions and ginger until both are softened without brewing or becoming translucent.

To plate, use pastry or rubber brush and spread one tablespoon of beet purée onto plate. Place one slice of apple on middle of plate. Layer pear and then apple until desired height. Top with onion and ginger mix. Sprinkle walnuts on top.

Serves 2.

Chef’s notes: A bleu cheese crumble or Manchego slice would work well with this salad. Tangerines are also an option for added fruit and color. 

60 thoughts on “Beet Purée and Fruit Salad w/Caramelized Onion & Ginger Recipe

  1. Beets, growing up, were from a can. Yuck! Now, as I roast them on the regular, I eat them all the time. Love love love! This Beet Purée is singing to me. Beautiful!

  2. I’m so glad that this challenge helped you to like beets a little more 🙂 Your puree is terrific and pairs so nicely with all the ingredients in this salad, I particularly like the addition of ginger. The plating is just gorgeous!

  3. So glad you ended up loving this dish! I can see how this gorgeous creation would end up converting you. I love the components you chose and I think your idea of adding a bit of Manchego would be perfect!

  4. I am with Chris… I had canned beets as a kid too and hated the smell… thought it was just nasty. It took a long time to win me over… a salad with fresh horseradish set me on the beet path once again (although I have an English friend who still gags with parsnips he was forced to eat in school). Glad you conquered your fears and made a great dish! Love the sweet beet puree!

  5. Chris: We had them fresh and I still just loathed them. It’s great when you can outgrow dislikes.

    Rosa: Thanks! I thought you’d like something like this. I think I can get used to it.

    5 Star Foodie: yes! thanks! I loved it… really. At first, I squirmed but it all worked out.

    Joan Nova: Awww, thanks. It was fun making and eating!

    Faith: I’m going to try the Manchego with it this weekend and update the post with a note!

    Deana: ooh wee… I can’t even imagine what canned must taste like. eek! And the horseradish inclusion sound super interesting. I can see how the balance would work well and get you started to liking it. Parsnips in school! It’s no wonder why we’re way behind on the health scale!

  6. Beets get such a bad rep. We both love them, and they def rock out juices. But hey, everybody has something they don’t like. You pulled together a pretty dish though. The colors really pop.

  7. Love at first Beet! You can make someone love Beets all over again. The colors do really pop! Great combination of flavors. Pears all time favorite fruit. I love the “grilled” beets! Must share that with the real “Chef” in my life.

  8. Lovely recipe, Bren! I loooooove beets. I can’t believe you of all people don’t like them. I enjoy them in so many different foods. Thanks for the inspiration. I think pumpkin would enjoy this. I think I’ve done well in getting him to eat veggies.

  9. Uchi: Thanks!

    DuoDishes: They sure do, but I have a reason for not liking them as much as other veggies. I will say that their color is now very, very attractive to me and I’m looking forward to making other fabulous dishes with it. The salad was a hit. I won’t lie! 🙂

    Joi: Yes, grilled beets! The chef in your life could appreciate that.

    Angela: Yes! I’m quite tickled… I’d make this again. Simple enough and embodies every most components I enjoy.

    Simone: I think he will, too.

    Michele: Yes girl… never been a fan though I’ve played with them a few times. I think you’d really like this if you love beets so much. And pumpkin might eat this for sure. Simone said the same thing! 🙂

  10. I don’t like beets either. I remember when I tasted the puree by itself and was not excited. Then I tasted your complete dish and I was like “WOW DUDE!” Your combination of flavors was genuis. Can’t wait to eat it again.

  11. I’m glad you decided to be creative with beets. Beets help defeat cancer and is loaded with antioxidants. We all need to include beets in our diet and you showed us one way to make it 100% “YUM”.

  12. Evelyn: Wow. thank you. very kind. I’m glad I’m partially over my dislike!

    Laz: Muchisimas gracias.

    Mercedes: Try it out when you have some time to play around. You may even really impress your friends.

    Dullah: I’m with you. The purée alone wasn’t smoking’ enough to enjoy on its own but it’s magnificent with other components. Your “wow dude!” is very exciting and inspiriting to play more!

    Healthy Appetite: Hey stranger! Nice to see your name pop up! I’m glad you like the recipe. The health benefits are reason enough to incorporate into our regular diet.

    Peru Delights: Wow! Look at you. That’s great to hear. You’re not alone.

  13. I’m not a big fan of beets – me saben a tierra! (it is all in my head) so I think this might be a good way to go. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. Sorry to be so late with my comment. I love anything beets!! As a matter of fact, if my memory doesn’t betray me, I think I even liked the juicy concoction my father made me drink as a child…a health, family tradition you were to become a victim of with the years and that you still hate so much! 🙁 Berenjena, on the other hand…I don’t know, not even the way Italians make it…and I love everything Italian. That being said, I can see why your readers are so excited about your post on beets; you make it sound really good and, as usual, the pics are incredibly inviting. Kudos to you for overcoming your distaste for the crimson veggie and sharing a good recipe.

  15. Yoly: I thought the same way!

    Helena: hahaha. que comico pero te entiendo. this was definitely the way to go! not too intrusive or bold.

    Comiendo en LA: why, thank you!

    David: no worries. just glad you’re here! i know you do, that’s why i figured this would be up your alley. and i had no idea abuelo had you drinking beet juice in Cuba! ¡Que interesante! and how come i did not know you didn’t care for eggplant? news to me! i might be able to change your mind on that one! trust me, if was able to be converted, there’s hope for you.

  16. I have never met a beet I liked (and until today thought I never ever would). But since you have given this your stamp of approval, I’m willing to give it a try. Also because the entire dish looks so dang gorgeous!

  17. I love what you did with beets, one of the things that people just don’t know what to do with or never thought it’d be appetizing. Great recipe!

  18. I love beets, and have a delicious beet salad you should try, then decide if you completely dislike them….. Maybe your new salad will make you a beet lover of not only puree, but actual beets too!


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