Minted Beets with Cumin, Lemon and Pistachios

February 24, 2010

Author Notes: This is my take on a beet recipe from Gourmet magazine a few years back. The original called for the cumin and mint, but I have played with the original ratios and added the nuts, cheese and zest. This is a simple dish to throw together, and is loved by everyone in the family. It is also excellent with shaved ricotta salata on top instead of the goat cheese. - OuiChefOui, Chef

Food52 Review: Testing OuiChef’s recipe was an enlightening exercise in how to play around with flavors and textures, and the end product offers a rich bounty of sensory rewards. The soft yielding beets are contrasted by the crunch of the toasted pistachios and the accentuated sweetness of the roasted beets requires the combined strength of tart lemon, tangy goat cheese and the vibrant mint to contrast and complement it. This is a lovely gustatory pairing, that plays on the changing seasons; the smoky autumnal cumin-scented beets are paired with wisps of light summery mint and lemon zest. - PanfusinePanfusine

Serves: 6


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, pan toasted and lightly crushed
  • 4 medium or 2 large beets (1 1/2 pounds), cleaned and trimmed, leaving 1 inch of stems attached
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint, cut into chiffonade
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios, pan toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled - or - shaved ricotta salata
  • Micro-planed zest of 1 lemon
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
In This Recipe


  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Zest the lemon and reserve the zest for service. Stir together lemon juice, toasted/crushed cumin seeds, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk in oil and let stand while roasting beets.
  3. Tightly wrap beets in a double layer of foil and roast on a baking sheet until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. If using 2 large beets, cut them in half, and place them cut side up in the foil wrap. Let the beets cool enough to be able to handle in the foil package, about 15 minutes.
  4. When beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, discarding stems and root ends, then cut into 1/2-inch-wide wedges, or dice them, as you prefer.
  5. Toss warm beets with dressing. Stir in mint and pistachios just before serving. When plating, top with lemon zest and crumbled goat cheese or ricotta salata.

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