Springtime Poppy Seed Beet Pasta with Mint Ricotta

While it has been not quite a consistent spring yet, the past few days are finally finally feeling like spring and it’s glorious. Based on the current weather predictions, I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s here to stay. I decided I needed a fun spring-inspired pasta and I was still inspired by that magenta color of my recent beet juice. I decided to put the two inspirations together and came up with this: poppy seed beet pasta with mint ricotta.

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In my pre-vegan, early dating days with R I wanted to make him a nice, inventive dinner one night. Back then, inventive was something that took longer than 5 minutes to whip up. I found a recipe somewhere online for a browned butter and poppy seed beet pasta that was topped with goat cheese. I hate goat cheese, so I had replaced it with a brie. That wasn’t the best decision. The pasta looked amazing, but it was so rich neither of us could eat very much of it.


This time around I wanted something hearty but light. Clearly there would be no browning of butter. Or brie. Instead I decided to use a touch of Earth Balance margarine, and I revamped my standard ricotta recipe with a springy twist with some fresh mint.

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I must say, it was a win. I wasn’t quite sure how the minty flavor would work with roasted garlic and beets, but it was just the right amount of wrong to be right. The ricotta was light and airy and was a perfect contrast to the earthy flavor of the beets.


The beets can be a bit of a pain, the whole roasting and peeling process is a bit of a pain, but it’s mostly down time so as long as you’re planning on being home anyway. I found it a great time to clean up the kitchen and do other odd jobs. And it also gave me an excuse to roast garlic as well – and I’m always super excited to have roasted garlic laying around, so it was really a win win. Especially when I mixed the roasted garlic into both the beet sauce and the ricotta. It gave everything a richer flavor that was terrific. And luckily, my fingers were only magenta for a small amount of time afterward.

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I decided to go with a fusilli pasta so that all the puréed beets and poppies would get all into the crevices and make sure the sauce got all over the pasta. I have to say, it was a great choice. I also went with a brown rice pasta the dish is also gluten-free and celiac friendly.

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We ate it warm out of the pan but then I also took it as leftovers for lunch at work, and I have to say, this is one of those pastas that works hot or cold. I was too lazy to use the microwave at work and resorted to the cold thinking it wouldn’t taste good – but it was actually still delicious cold too. If you’re looking for something a little different this spring – you should definitely give this one a try.

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Springtime Poppy Seed Beet Pasta with Mint Ricotta

  • Servings: 4 main courses
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

What You’ll Need for the Pasta Sauce

  • 2 cups uncooked fusilli pasta
  • 4 small to medium beets
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 roasted garlic clove
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Earth Balance (or any other vegan margarine)

What You’ll Need for the Ricotta:

  • 1/2 block tofu, pressed
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 tablespoon white miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • dash salt
  1. Start by roasting the beets and garlic. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in tin foil with a little bit of olive oil. Cut the tops off the garlic cloves, and add a bit of olive oil and toss everything into the oven. Roast the garlic for about 35-45 minutes and roast the beets for an hour until you can pierce the skin with a fork.
  2. When the beets are done, toss all the ricotta ingredients into a food processor and pulse until everything is well incorporated.
  3. Boil the water for the pasta. Add the pasta and a dash of olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together. Boil until the noodles are cooked al dente.
  4. After the beets have cooled enough to handle, remove the skins. When the beets are fully cooked the skins should peel off relatively easily. Purée the beets in a food processor until they’re pretty much mush.
  5. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the margarine and then add the poppy seeds. Then add the beets and mix well. When the beets and poppy seeds are all mixed together, toss the pasta in with the sauce and mix together until the pasta is covered with sauce.
  6. Top with the ricotta and a couple of extra mint leaves just to make it look pretty. Enjoy!



3 responses to “Springtime Poppy Seed Beet Pasta with Mint Ricotta

  1. Pingback: 23 Clean Eating Recipes - Generations of Savings·

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