Eat-The-Whole-Vegetable Tarts (Hello Beets + Beet Greens + Beet Stems!)
One of our favorite tricks to minimize food waste is to make sure we're using all of a vegetable. Heard of nose-to-tail cooking, where none of an animal gets wasted? There's also root-to-leaf cooking, where you make sure every edible part of a vegetable gets cooked, consumed and enjoyed. This is a great thing to do for root vegetables like beets, radishes and turnips, which have delicious leaves and stems. Buy these root veggies with their greens and you're totally getting two vegetables for the price of one. If you throw out your beet greens, you're wasting money!
Of course, once you've come around to the idea of eating the whole entire beet or turnip, what next? You can always separate the roots from the leaves - cook the roots the way you usually do, then save the leaves to add to a salad, grain bowl, smoothie, or any of the Hero Recipes. Or you could make them into an Herby Green Sauce or Creamy Green Dip. The stems could get thinly sliced and steamed or sauteed until tender and then also used in any Hero Recipe. Butt sometimes the stems can be tough, in which case you could pickle them or compost them, we won't judge (as long as you tried and used the rest of the vegetable, ok? :)
Anyway, I wanted a recipe where you could use up the entire vegetable in one fell swoop. I also happened to be craving some kind of Hot Pocket-esque pastry and had a box of puff pastry that had been hanging out in the fridge for a leetle bit too long. The result: these delightful curry-spiced puff pastry tarts packed with all the bits from a bunch of turnips and a bunch of beets. I'm proud to say that no vegetable parts were wasted in the making of these savory pastries.
They're basically just mini individual servings of this Savory Tart, but they look cute, don't they? Keep in mind that once you have the root+stem+greens mixture all cooked (spiced or unseasoned), you could use that mixture in most of the Hero Recipes. For example, the bottom photo in this Grain Bowl post has a scoop of the leftover cooked veggies from this recipe that didn't fit into the tarts. Experiment and enjoy!
The Rough Recipe
These tarts took about an hour, and were a good appetizer for four people. Vegetarian, although they would be delicious with bacon too.
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 puff pastry
- Some kind of steamer setup - I used my Instant pot, but also have a steamer rack that I just put into a large pot
- A large skillet
- Olive oil
- A sheet pan, with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat if desired
- A bunch of beets and a bunch of turnips, greens attached
- A few cloves of garlic, maybe half an onion if you want, minced
- Spices of choice - I used curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper, but you could use whatever you like
- Optional additions: some fresh herbs, other leafy greens, crumbled cheese, bacon bits, mushrooms, peas - you could probably toss most roasted vegetables onto the tart and they would be tasty
Remove your puff pastry from the fridge or freezer and let thaw. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Set up your steamer with an inch or two of water. While the water heats up, remove the stems and leaves from the roots and set aside. Dice your roots into small pieces (I didn't peel them) and add to the steamer. Steam until tender, about 10 to 20 minutes.
As your roots steam, thinly slice the stems and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the stems, and minced garlic and onions if you have them. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the stems are mostly tender, then add the greens and stir to combine. Cook until the stems and leaves are both wilted and tender, adding more olive oil if necessary.
Add your steamed roots to the skillet and stir everything to combine. Lightly sprinkle your spices of choice over the top (I think I used a teaspoon each of curry powder and turmeric) and salt to taste, then stir to combine. You should have a delicious, flavorful beets+turnips+stems+leaves mixture.
Lay out your puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and use a sharp knife to cut roughly three-inch squares. Put a large scoop of the beets+turnips mixture into the center of each square, then do your pastry shape of choice. I folded up the corners, but you could also make a turnover or a triangle or a danish-shaped tart - it's totally up to you. Any leftover beet+turnip mixture can be refrigerated and baked into an omelette, added to a rice bowl, stirred into some pasta, or smeared on toast, among many other delicious things. Put your mini tarts onto your sheet pan, bake until golden brown and flaky, about 25 minutes, and enjoy!