Beet Mash and Pistachio Crumble Tartine


Beets are still really cool.

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October 06, 2020

Prep: 20min

Cook: 1h 10min

Serves: 4

The gist.

Start with a tangy slice of sourdough bread. Spread a smooth layer of cream cheese from edge to edge. Add a generous coating of the sweet and slightly spicy beet mash. Top with a spoonful of the basil-pistachio crumble. Finally, garnish with a fan of peppery radish slices.

If you really want to know, I’m colorblind. Blue looks like purple. Green looks like yellow looks like orange. Red looks like brown looks like dark green. I get confused a lot. The great thing about it all is that two contrasting colors that might look dull to my friends sometimes look incredible to me and make me say “woah!” The bad news is that I cannot for the life of me spot a bright red poppy in a green summer meadow. The reason I am telling you all of this is because I was just staring at the photograph I’m posting for this recipe, and for a moment felt pretty confident about recognizing the colors of the ingredients: green, red, white, brown. Then I looked out the window and saw the surrounding mountains, valleys, and sky in the morning light and my color-confidence faded. Is that field macaroni and cheese or burnt sienna? Anyway, to the recipe.

I was first introduced to vegetable mashes when reading one of Mollie Katzen’s recipe books. The dish I’m presenting today is inspired by her culinary creativity. With that said, I’ll introduce today’s tartine layer by layer, from the ground up. By the way, tartine is just a fancy French word for an open-face sandwich. Not only does it sound elegant, it also makes the title of my recipe a bit shorter ¯\(ツ)

At the base of this dish is a slice of sourdough bread. Make some or buy some, just find some bread with a strong flavor. You might want to toast the slices of bread so that all of the toppings have a solid base to sit upon.

First on the slice of bread is a layer of cream cheese. The creamy flavor blends nicely with the strong tastes of the beet mash and pistachio crumble.

Next up, the main character. I consider the beet mash to be the star of the show. Beets have a sweet earthy flavor. Alone they can sometimes taste like a mild candy bar handmade by Mother Nature herself. You’ll roast the beets in the oven. More than once have I lost patience while roasting beets. Don’t do it. Leave them in until they are fork-tender. In the recipe I say to roast them for about one hour, but it really depends on the size of your beets. If you want to make things easier on yourself, buy small to medium sized beets and you’ll find your cooking time to be closer to one hour. Large beets take forever, yes they do.

So to the sweet, roasted beets you will be adding some shallot, garlic, and cayenne pepper. This results in a sweet and slightly spicy flavor combination. Pair that with the creamy cream cheese and you’ll find that nothing can go wrong.

The pistachio crumble consists of pistachios, olive oil, basil, and a touch of salt. It all gets blended and crushed into a bright, coarse crumble that sits proudly on top of the dark beet mash. Just remember to not over-blend the pistachio mixture. You want a crumble, not a paste.

Finish the whole thing off with a few radish slices positioned in the upper corner of each tartine. I usually serve this with some soft goat cheese. Enjoy!



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Beet Mash and Pistachio Crumble Tartine

  • Prep time: 20min
  • Cook time: 1h 10min
  • Serving size: 4
Start with a tangy slice of sourdough bread. Spread a smooth layer of cream cheese from edge to edge. Add a generous coating of the sweet and slightly spicy beet mash. Top with a spoonful of the basil-pistachio crumble. Finally, garnish with a fan of peppery radish slices.


  • 500 g (1 lb) red beets
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 85 g (3 oz) shelled pistachios
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) olive oil, divided
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 7 g (1/4 cup loosely packed) basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 200 g (7 oz) plain cream cheese
  • 1 small bunch red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced and toasted


  1. Heat oven to 200° C (400° F). Wash beets and wrap them individually in aluminum foil. Place beets in a roasting pan and cook in oven for about 60 minutes, or until fork tender. Don't worry if the beets take longer as size can affect the cooking time. Rotate beets 2-3 times during the cooking period.

  2. While the beets are cooling, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add shallots and 1/2 tsp salt and fry for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne pepper and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

  3. Peel and coarsely chop the cooked beets. Combine the beets with the shallot mixture and puree with an immersion or stand blender until you have a consistency that resembles applesauce. Set aside.

  4. For the pistachio crumble, use a blender or a small food processor. Blend the pistachios, 3 Tbsp olive oil, basil, and 1/4 tsp salt until a coarse, crumbly consistency is obtained. Avoid blending to a paste.

  5. To assemble, spread a generous layer of cream cheese on each slice of bread. On top of the cream cheese, spread an equally generous layer of the beet mash. Sprinkle or spoon 1-2 tsp of the pistachio crumble on top. Add a few radish slices and serve.

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