Savory Beetroot Walnut Spread

Beetroots are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beetroots also contain vitamin B folate which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

This beautiful and colorful spread is super yummy, highly nutritious and very easy to make. It’s wonderful with seeded baguette, wholegrain crackers, pita chips, and veggies too. It’s even more delightful with a glass of fruity red wine such as Pinot Noir.

You can enjoy it as spread on sandwiches, pizza or flatbread and more. Let your culinary imagination go wild!


3 medium red beetroots
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/5 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon rind (zest)
1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
Few fresh dill sprigs


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Peel beetroots, wash and pat dry with paper towel. Chop into medium size pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Line a pyrex glass baking dish loosely covered with parchment paper and spread beets in one layer. (Using a Pyrex glass pan accelerates the cooking time, but you can also use a baking sheet.) Remove beetroots from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes.

In a food processor, combine roasted beetroots, walnuts, seal salt, olive oil, cumin seeds, and garlic cloves. Process until roughly smooth. Add Meyer lemon rind and juice and process 3-4 more times. Place the mixture in a bowl and garnish with crushed pistachios, a few shreds of Meyer lemon zest and a drizzle of olive oil.

YIELD: About 10 servings

SOURCE: Chef Ellie Lavender of Lavender Design + Cuisine is a vegan Mediterranean personal chef, culinary instructor and artisan chocolatier. Her next cooking and wine pairing class is A Taste of Spain on Your Plate on Saturday,  April 7, 2018.

Fresh Parsley Pesto

While most are familiar with basil pesto, parsley makes a fresh tasting condiment too! Parsley is one of the most popular herbs used in cooking or garnishing. Parsley comes in two varieties — flat leaf (also called Italian parsley) or curly leaf. Parsley is high in vitamin K and has anti-inflammatory properties. Toss parsley pesto with hot pasta and some garlicky, toasted breadcrumbs. It’s also delicious served with poultry or drizzled on vegetables or rice.


2 cloves garlic, germ* removed
2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
Course salt
1/4 cup walnuts, raw or toasted (but toasted offers more flavor)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Optional, but nice: 1-2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice, or 1/2 teaspoon zest


Place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese in a food processor bowl. Process until mixture forms a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste for seasoning, and adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Add Meyer lemon juice or zest to taste, if using.

*If the garlic has begun to sprout (the green ‘germ’ in the middle of the clove), remove it. Otherwise, it causes an unpleasant bitter-hot garlic flavor.

YIELD: About 2 1/2 cups

Meyer Lemon Compote

Use this warm sweet-tart relish with lamb, fish, pork or roasted chicken.

3 Meyer lemons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, sliced
2/3 cup white fruity, floral wine (i.e., Riesling or viognier)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2/3 cup dried dates, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup mint leaves, chopped

Cut the pithy ends off the lemons so that you can see the flesh. Slice thinly into 1/8-inch rounds, removing seeds as you go. Slice the rounds into quarters so that all pieces are about 1/2-inch. Set aside.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and then add the shallots. Cook the shallots and until very soft, about 6 minutes. Add wine and simmer until liquid is reduced by one-third. Add sliced lemons, sugar and dates, and simmer until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in all the mint. Serve immediately.

YIELD: 1 1/2 cups

Pomegranate Orange Salsa


5 large pomegranates, seeded
5 large oranges, peeled and trimmed into segments
1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped
5 green onions, ends trimmed thinly sliced
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
3-4 tablespoons fresh jalapeno chili minced, seeded
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Break pomegranate into large chunks. Immerse chunks in a bowl of water and break apart to release seeds. Discard membrane and skin. Drain seeds; pat dry.

Cut orange segments into chunks and place in mixing bowl. Add pomegranate seeds, and the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Serve or cover and chill until the next day.

Serve with grilled fish or with tortilla chips.

Yield: 12 servings

Tropical Kiwi Salsa

This colorful sweet and sour salsa is exquisite over grilled sea bass, halibut, or Dungeness crab cakes.


4 kiwi, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch dice
2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1/4 inch dice
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
1-2 teaspoons sugar or honey


Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving for flavors to marry.

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled onions make a delicious topping for salads and sandwiches, or served as a relish on a cheese platter.


1 lb. red onions, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
1 cup white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns, lightly crushed
2 pinches dried thyme
5 whole allspice berries
5 whole cloves
Pinch of chile flakes (optional)
Large canning jar with lid


In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, and seasonings until boiling.

Add the onion slices, lower the heat, and simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool completely.

Transfer onion mixture to a large jar with the liquid. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Pickled Strawberries

These pickled strawberries are bright, crunchy and versatile. They are a delicious addition to salads. They are great coarsely chopped, tossed with fresh herbs and served with seafood or use as an accompaniment on a cheese plate.


1 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
6 ounces ice
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 star anise
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 ounce fresh ginger, sliced
1/2 cup lime juice
1 basket of strawberries cut into quarters


Place white and red vinegar and sugar-salt-spice ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Transfer the liquid to a container and add the ice. Cool the mixture completely.

Once chilled, add the lime juice then strain the pickling liquid over the strawberries pressing down on them gently to submerge. Allow them to pickle until desired flavor is achieved.

SOURCE: Recipe from Kendra Baker, The Picnic Basket

Fall Pomegranate Compote

This tangy relish is a tasty alternative to overly-sweet cranberry sauce at the Thanksgiving table.

2 medium pomegranates, seeded, about 1 ½ cups
1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small mixing bowl, gently combine pomegranate arils and remaining ingredients.

YIELD: Makes 1 ½ cups

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of

Spicy Pomegranate Relish

Versatile! Use as a relish with pork, lamb, chicken or turkey — or serve as a fresh salsa with corn chips!

2 medium pomegranates, seeded (about 1 ½ cups arils)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped, green jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small mixing bowl, gently combine pomegranate arils and remaining ingredients.

YIELD: Makes 1 ½ cups

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of

Easy Pickled Beets

Tangy pickled beets are always a welcome treat with a meal or served on a salad.


8 medium fresh beets
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons whole cloves
1-1/2 teaspoons whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt


Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 inch. Place beets in a large sauce pan. Add water to cover beets. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 25-30 minutes or until beets are tender tender. Drain beets and allow to cool.

Peel beets and slice into uniform sized slices. Place in a bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, cloves, allspice and salt. Bring to a boil; boil 5 minutes. Pour over beets. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Drain before serving.

Beets will keep well for up to two weeks in the fridge.

YIELD:  6-8 servings