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Beet & Carrot Casserole with Ginger Masala

By Siri Ved Kaur

I’ve been working late a lot of nights the last couple months… Thank God it is work that I love! And when I get home some time around 7 PM, I really don’t feel like cooking or doing much else except kicking back, maybe some reading, writing, watching TV, and playing Spider or some other mindless game.

So Sunday afternoon has become my food prep & cooking time. I shoot for making 3 different dishes, and enough to last for 3 days of lunches/meals for my hubby and me. Last week it was mungbeans & rice with veggies (always a hearty healthy choice!), a big batch of baked tofu, and a beet & carrot casserole. These three things go great together, and on their own are easily dressed up with a chopped salad or other veggie dish.

There are some die hard beet haters in the world, perhaps because like me as a kid, all they ever had was canned beets. I didn’t even know what a beet was! To me it was some dark reddish purplish sliced thing out of a can; the same way spinach was some green slimy thing out of a can…always drizzled with white vinegar, courtesy of my mom. I don’t think I ever saw these wonderful veggies in their natural fresh form until I moved into a yoga ashram in 1971 (but that’s another story). Enough said. I challenge any beet haters out there to give this simple, satisfying, and outstandingly delicious casserole a try. You just may turn into a beet lover. I did!

Beets are one of the most potent liver detox foods you can eat. If you take beet juice, limit it to no more than 2 ounces at a time, mixed with other juice (like celery or carrot). And remember to chew your juice, swishing it around in your mouth; this is so important for your body to fully digest and realize the nutritional/therapeutic benefits. Have you heard that saying, “chew your liquids and drink your solids”? Think about that for a minute.

Besides being good for your liver, eating beets is a great way to see how well your elimination is coming along. Your urine, shortly after eating beets, will be pink. Your stool will be beet red/purple. Because it is so obvious when those beets find their way out, it is easy to tell how “on time” and well-functioning your elimination is. As Yogi Bhajan used to say, it’s not so important what you eat, but it is most important that it is eliminated within 24 hours.

I pressure cooked 3 whole skins-on nice sized beets for 10 minutes. Then I quick released the steam and added 4-5 scrubbed carrots and pressure cooked a few more minutes. While the beets and carrots were cooking, I heated up a couple tablespoons of ghee, and sauteed some finely chopped ginger and green onions, added some freshly ground black pepper, and my “ginger masala” was ready to go.

Once whole beets are steamed until tender firm, the skins slide off quite easily. I used a hand grater to grate my beets, but if you are making a bigger batch use a food processor. My carrots this day got a little too soft to grate, so I cut them into pieces instead. Grated, sliced, chopped… is up to you.

Then it was a simple matter of adding some chopped cilantro and gently mixing them together. I say “gently,” because I love the colors to remain distinguishable and bright (if grating both the carrots and beets, remember to mix sparingly).

Add a little bit of salt or lemon juice to taste, and you can eat this up right now. So delicious! But I do enjoy beets & carrots with just a little cheese melted on top. I used a mild organic Jack, and it was perfect.

Bake in a preheated 400 oven for about 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is bubbly (or just put under the broiler until bubbly and golden), Garnish with a little more chopped cilantro or parsley and presto!

Beet & Carrot Casserole with Ginger Masala

Yield: 4-6 servings
Preparation Time: 35 minutes

I had purchased whole beets without the greens. If you use bunched beets, you can chop and steam the greens and mix them in with everything else. Veerrrrry tasty!

3-4 beets (about a pound)
5-6 carrots, scrubbed
2 tablespoons ghee or butter (or whatever mild flavored oil you want)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger (peeled)
1/2 bunch (or more) green onions, chopped
black pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or so)
3-4 ounces mild cheese, grated (optional)

Chop off greens from beets and keep beets whole, with 1/2″ of stems still intact. Pressure cook beets at high pressure for 10 minutes. Quick release steam and add whole scrubbed carrots. Pressure cook about 5 more minutes and then quick release steam, remove lid (if you have chopped beet greens, add them now, quickly put lid back on, and let steam a minute or two longer), and let cool down a bit.

(If you don’t have a pressure cooker, just steam the beets and carrots whole. It will take about a half hour to cook the beets, and depending on size of carrots, about 10 minutes to cook the carrots. Just be sure not to over cook).

While the beets and carrots are cooking, melt ghee or butter in a fry pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add ginger and saute, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped green onions and freshly ground pepper (a few grinds of the pepper mill).

Remove peels from cooled beets and slice off root tips and stem ends. Cut off stem ends and stringy tips from carrots. Coarsely grate (use largest size grater) beets and carrots (separately) into a 1-1/2 quart size casserole dish. Gently combine beets, carrots, most of the chopped cilantro, and ginger masala. Cover with grated cheese and bake at 400 or broil until cheese is bubbly and a little golden. Garnish with reserved cilantro.

Enjoy with some baked tofu on the side. Deelish!!

This recipe is from From Vegetables, with Love: Recipes & Tales from a Yogi’s Kitchen available through KRI.

©2015 Siri-Ved Kaur Khalsa

Siri Ved Kaur Khalsa has been a part of the 3HO/Sikh Dharma community since 1971, when she served as Yogi Bhajan’s personal cook for several years. She has authored three cookbooks (Conscious Cookery - 1978, From Vegetables with Love – 1989, and From Vegetables, with Love: Recipes & Tales from a Yogi’s Kitchen - 2015) and written numerous columns for Beads of Truth, Aquarian Times, YogaMint, and HealthWorld Online. Mother of three grown daughters, she now resides in Bakersfield, California with her husband, Gurujodha Singh. http://consciouscookery101.com/