You know how recipes seem to cycle through the blogs, appearing almost simultaneously on the same day. One minute all the blogs have banana bread/banana muffins/banana cupcakes, etc., and the next they're all about peanut stew/peanut soup/peanut pie. Then, every so often, there's a run of beet burgers/beet loaf/beet balls. I've found myself contributing to the surfeit of many such confluences — but never to the ones involving beets. I don't love beets, and I don't hate them. I will eat one or two slices of baked, boiled or pickled beets if they are being served, but I almost never prepare them myself. I like borscht; I like raw beets as part of fresh juice; I like raw grated beets, but sadly, most beets that we bring into the house thinking we might use them, end up in the compost.
Last week I was home alone, and thought it would be a good idea to make a main-dish loaf of some sort that I could eat from all week — just heat and add vegetables — and not have to cook much. As I planned what would go into it, I remembered the beets languishing in the fridge, and decided I might as well make a beet loaf once and for all. I didn't look up any recipes* because I was afraid that seeing a long list of ingredients that I had to find and measure would make me change my mind, and besides, I had my own list of ingredients that needed to be used up. For example, I had the end of an expired bag of TruRoots sprouted beans, some rather old millet, and the last five remaining mushrooms from a box on the verge of being tossed, as well as a giant jar of mushroom powder that I try to add to as many things as possible. Because I didn't use a recipe, and didn't accurately measure most of the ingredients, you should consider my recipe a guide. The loaf was so good I really couldn't believe it, and I made so much there was plenty left when my husband got home from his travels — he loved it, too. It could easily go into sandwiches or into tacos or nachos or under mashed potatoes for shepherd's pie. Or you could freeze the leftovers for a night when you don't have time to cook. Yesterday I formed some of the leftovers into a burger and sautéed it in a little oil — delicious with sriracha. You could use any beans you want — lentils would be good, and probably any grain, though I recommend trying millet for its taste and texture.
Beet loaf (guidelines) About 12 servings
- 1 cup dry TruRoots sprouted beans, cooked and drained (or lentils or other beans)
- 1 cup dry millet cooked in 2 cups water for 20 minutes, then allowed to sit, covered for at least 20 minutes, fluffed with a fork
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 large mushrooms, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 smallish beet, peeled and grated
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 piece fresh ginger root, chopped,
- 1 Rapunzel no salt added bouillon cube, mashed into hot beans
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (more if you really like liquid smoke)
- hemp seeds (opt.)
- sunflower seeds (opt. but adds a nice crunch)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon mushroom powder (opt.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- herbs and spices as desired (I used crushed red pepper)
- Sauté onion until almost soft. Add mushrooms and cook until soft. Add carrots and beets and cook until wilted.
- In a food processor, place beans, bouillon, cocoa, garlic and ginger and buzz until well-combined.
- Add half the millet and half the sautéed veggies and buzz until well-combined but not puréed.
- Place the bean mixture into a large bowl with the remaining millet and veggies and mix.
- Mix in ketchup, liquid smoke, hemp seeds (if using), sunflower seeds (if using), mushroom powder (if using), salt, pepper, herbs and spices to taste.
- Press into an oiled 10" x 13" baking dish. Glaze the top with a thin layer of ketchup.
- Bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve with gravy.