Contributing Monkie Sarma Melngailis
Published on September 14, 2008
Red Beet Ravioli
with cashew cheese filling, tarragon, and pistachios (raw)
The colors in this dish are amazing: the bright blush of beets, the sunniness of yellow or orange pepper sauce, the summer-green herbs. When in season, experiment with candy stripe beets and try other herbs for the cashew filling. We use Sicilian pistachios that we buy at a Middle Eastern market. They’re a darker green and better-tasting than other types, especially when raw.
“Originally I tried to make red beet gnocchi using beet juice and ground up whole beets with other ingredients. They came out tasty, but our kitchen looked as if a gruesome crime had been committed. So I deconstructed the components a bit and came up with these much more manageable raviolis instead.” – SM
Recipe by Sarma Mengailis | Raw Food Real World (Harper Collins, 2005)
Serves 6 as a starter or 4 as a main course
For the filling:
3 cups cashew nuts, soaked for 2 hours or more
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/4 to 2 teaspoons salt
2 green onions, white and 1 inch green, minced
3 tablespoons minced tarragon
2 tablespoons minced parsley
In a food processor, blend the nuts, lemon juice and zest, yeast, and salt until smooth. Transfer the filling to a medium bowl and fold in the onions, tarragon, and parsley. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice, if needed. The filling should have the consistency of ricotta cheese. Store it covered in the refrigerator if not using right away; it tastes best if you bring it back to room temperature before assembling and serving.
For the pepper puree:
3 yellow or orange bell peppers, cored and cleaned
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 green onion, white part only
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts (plus 2 tablespoons, if needed), soaked 30 minutes to 1 hour
1 small pinch ground (or fresh) turmeric (optional, for added color)
In a Vita-Mix or high-speed blender, blend all the ingredients until smooth. If the sauce is too liquid, add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of soaked pine nuts. Place in a squeeze bottle or other cover container and refrigerate if not using right away.
For the assembly:
1 large bunch red beets (2 inches diameter or more)
2 to 3 tablespoons macadamia oil, other nut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Coarse sea salt
1 handful chopped pistachios, preferably Sicilian
1 teaspoon pistachio, other nut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
1 small handful fresh tarragon leaves, torn or left whole
Freshly ground black pepper
Micro-greens for garnish (optional)
Step 1 Using a mandolin, slice the beets very thin (about 1/16 inch or less). Make stacks and cut into 2-inch squares. The size doesn’t matter much, as long as they are all roughly the same. You should have at least fifty slices. In a medium bowl, add the beet slices, macadamia oil, lemon juice, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Toss to coat: there should be enough oil and lemon juice to coat all of the slices, but not so much that they are dripping liquid.
Step 2 Arrange half the beet slices flat on serving plates. Place a generous dollop of the filling on each slice. Sauce the plates with the pepper puree, using either a squeeze bottle or just spooning it over the beets and filling (this way some of the sauce will be inside each ravioli). Top each ravioli with a beet slice, pressing down gently.
Step 3 In a small bowl, toss the chopped pistachios with the oil and a pinch of sea salt. Sprinkle each ravioli with the pistachios and top with the tarragon. Grind a bit of black pepper over the plates and garnish with micro-greens, if desired. We use beet micro-greens at the restaurant — they’re pretty and delicate.