Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beet-balls with Garlic-Basil Tomato Sauce Recipe | PBS Food

Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beet-balls with Garlic-Basil Tomato Sauce

From the Kitchen of: Ruxandra Micu
This variety of beet just so happens to be the oldest surviving one you can get. In fact, it was the most popular beet in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states as far back as the 1800s. What better way to eat beets than in meatball form? These beetballs are an unexpected, earthy twist on spaghetti and meatballs. They soak up the sauce and are sure to surprise even the most discerning beet eaters.

Course: ,


  • Beetballs:
  • 1 cup red lentils, picked over & rinsed
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 small Early Blood Turnip-Rooted Beet
  • (or other beetroot), grated
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 Tbsp gluten-free flour (or all-purpose flour) 2 eggs, beaten (or 4 Tbsp psyllium husks)
  • 2 tsp dry thyme
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1⁄2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp dry garlic powder
  • Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • Sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed and sliced 1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh dill, chopped (optional) Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Place lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cook until lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and add lentils to food processor; blend until smooth. Do not add any water. Transfer lentil paste to a large bowl. Add remaining beetball ingredients and mix
  2. to combine. Let the composition sit for 5 minutes so it will be sticky enough to shape. Scoop a teaspoon of mixture into palms and roll into balls. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving some space between each.
  3. Place a small pot filled with water into the preheated oven on the bot- tom rack. Bake the beetballs until they firm up and turn slightly golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. To make the sauce, heat olive oil in a large pan. Add diced onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about
  5. 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Add cooked beetballs to the sauce and turn to coat. Cook another minute or so for flavors to incorporate. Top with freshly chopped herbs and serve.
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