How to make healthy choices every day

Heart Beet Rawvioli with Pesto Oil

I don’t often get personal here on the blog, at least when it comes to talking about my private life, but something has happened that I simply can’t avoid mentioning.

My wonderful, thrill-seeking husband had a bad hang gliding accident and broke not one, but both of his arms. Walking into the hospital a week and a half ago and seeing him in casts from wrists to shoulders was a bit of a shock, and then learning of the extremely lengthy rehabilitation process that I will be such a huge part of, was intimidating. The man is literally a baby again. He can’t feed himself or drink on his own, he can’t put on his clothes or tie his shoes, he can’t pick up the phone, write an email, take a shower, or brush his teeth.

Between shifts at the restaurant, I’ve been living at the hospital, feeding, bathing, and dressing him. Despite the emotionally trying week it’s been for him, and myself, we’re just so grateful that he is okay. Nothing is permanent. He will be back to his old motorcycle racing, hang gliding self in a few months’ time (I’m trying to convince him to at least stay out of the air for a while, anyway). We are laughing through the challenges and experiencing our partnership expanding into new territory – nothing like a good sponge bath to bring you closer to your loved one! I am overwhelmed with tenderness and devotion to this man, which is why this week I was compelled to create something just for him. Call it an early valentine, a declaration of love, a just-because-you-mean-the-world-to-me edible gift. My heart beats with so much passion for him, so of course, Heart Beet Rawvioli it is.

Raw beetroot ravioli is not my original idea, and I’m sure many of you have seen it done before. But it’s been on my to-make and to-eat list for months now and I felt that this was my window of opportunity. Lucky you, now it’s yours too.

Beet it!
Beetroots have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. They have a cleansing effect on the liver and can be used to treat liver maladies, kidney stones, and disorders of the gallbladder, stomach, and intestines. Beets aid digestion and the lymphatic system. They combat anemia, tone the blood and help build red blood cells. [1]

Beets also contain special types of pigments, called betalins. These pigments have been shown to support the body’s detoxification process (specifically, in Phase 2) by stimulating specific enzymes to “hook-up” with unwanted toxic substances to be neutralized and excreted. If you are exposed to toxins in your daily life (pesticides from non-organic food, pollution, body care products etc.), or simply looking for extra detox support, add a couple servings of beets to your diet every week. [2]
I know that with all the pain killers, antiemetics, sleep aids, and general anesthetics my husband is being pumped full of, (let’s not even mention the hospital food) he certainly needs all the detox help he can get!

As gimmicky as it may seem, this dish totally won me over. I’ve never tried any version of raw “pasta” and “cheese” before, as I can be slightly cynical when it comes to taking a really delicious food and giving it a raw makeover. But, somehow this just worked for me; I found brilliance in the balance. The earthiness of the beet contrasts extremely well against the sweet pine nut filling. Their respective textures are also complimentary, as the rich, creaminess of the “cheese” absolutely needs to be cut with something light and crispy. The beets manage to do just that. With the drizzle of Pesto Oil to finish things off, the meal as a whole, lacks for nothing.

Since Copenhagen is drowning in beautiful beets at the moment, I chose the candy-striped beet route – who can resist a face like that? If you’ve never sliced into one of these varieties before, be prepared for an epic, aesthetic mind trip. They are the true psychedelics of the vegetable kingdom.
If you cannot find candy-striped beets, use the good ol’ red variety – they work just as well.

Heart Beet Rawvioli

Serves 4

3 – 4 large beetroots (red, golden, or candy stripe beets)
juice of ½ lemon
1 ½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
Pine Nut “Cheese”
Pesto Oil
extra virgin olive oil, smoked sea salt, and chives for garnish

1. Begin by cutting the ends of the beets, then peel them. Using a mandolin slicer or a very sharp knife, slice the beets as thinly as possible (this can be fiddly, so take your time.) When you have a bunch of slices, use a cookie cutter to make heart shapes. Alternatively, stack the beet slices and cut the rounded edges off to turn them into squares.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the juice of half a lemon, one and a half tablespoons of olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt. Add the prepared beet slices and toss to coat. Marinate for 1-2 hours.
3. Place about a teaspoon of Pine Nut “Cheese” on one beet slice, then top with another. Repeat until you have the amount of Rawviolis you desire.
4. Drizzle some Green Pesto Oil and extra virgin olive oil over top. Garnish with chives and smoked sea salt.  Serve immediately.

Pine Nut “Cheese”

Makes about 1 cup

1 cup pine nuts, soaked
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 Tbsp. minced chives
2 tsp.  nutritional yeast
zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
a couple pinches of smoked salt, to taste (regular sea salt is fine)

1. Soak pine nuts in water for at least 1 hour. Drain and rinse well.
2. In a food processor, place all ingredients and blend on high to mix. The consistency should be somewhat grainy and thick – like a heavy paste similar to goat cheese. 

Pesto Oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. minced chives
1/3 cup packed basil leaves
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. agave or raw liquid honey
pinch of sea salt

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend on high to mix. The pesto oil should be quite fluid and runny.

When I brought these to the hospital the other day, even through the morphine-induced brain fog, my darling man coherently praised the Rawviolis. Yes, he thought they were made out of cabbage, but we’ll forgive him for that and blame the drugs.
If you have someone special in your life that needs a fresh, delicious, nourishing meal, put your heart on a plate and serve these up. After all, food is love.

Sources: [1] Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at

77 thoughts on “Heart Beet Rawvioli with Pesto Oil”

  • Kinda weird that you didn’t bother to credit Sarma Melngailis, who published this recipe on Epicurious in 2009. What’s up with that?

  • What a beautiful post Sarah! I’m sending you and your hospital lots loving thoughts for a quick recovery. Thank you for sharing another wonderful recipe. I’ve made raw beet ravioli many times before but each variation offer some new flavour delight.

  • Made this tonight for the first time. WOW! Exceptional. The flavour is spot on. Looking forward to sharing it with others.

  • Hey, that recipes looks perfect for this hot weather! And so nice colour, so powerful… 🙂
    Will try it for sure next days, thanks for sharing!!

  • I live in Nicaragua and brought down precious few pine nuts. They aren’t here. But I substituted garbanzo beans and they were excellent. Also limes for lemons and finely chopped onions for chives. The beets here are WONDERFUL so this was a fun way to use them. Thanks. Always trying to eat local and healthy where the diet is mostly rice, beans and cream!

  • Beautiful post and wishing a speedy recovery to your man. I was in a very similar boat at the end of last year when my love broke both wrists and I was (still am) pregnant with our first born baby. I viewed it as excellent baby training. Not to say that it was easy but I learned a lot from the experience and it made me feel really good to be able to unconditionally love and support another human being. I often made him juices loaded with pineapple and ginger and MSM was a great joint supplement to aid with the healing. With recipes such as this one and your sweet nature he’ll be back in full action in no time! Take good care of yourself too! You are wonderful! Thank you for the inspiration to slice and cut beets into hearts- simply beautiful! xxo

    • Hi Joanne,

      I haven’t tried that but I bet it would be delicious! I’d recommend a white or yellow miso however, so as not to overwhelm the delicate nut flavour. Thanks for the suggestion – I’m definitely trying 🙂

      Best, Sarah B

  • I made these tonight for an early Valentine’s Day! There were SO delicious, and so beautiful. I feel like a professional chef when I cook your concoctions. My boyfriend called me a food artist! Thank you, Sarah!

  • Hi Sarah,
    I am one of your newest fans…
    I am slowly making my way through your AMAZING blog…and then I reached this post…OMG what a nightmare! I used to hang glide…and stopped because…well my good friend and instructor had a really bad accident…which I witnessed…and I was never the same…and at the time I was a single mother of four children…can you imagine if I had a crash like your husband…anyway…I am off track…I hope he is healing well and able to enjoy the holidays…he should be out of his casts by now…I can only hope for your sake. Happy holidays.

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  • It’s my first time on your blog, and I’m hooked! Love the great recipes and fantastic pictures.
    I have a quick question: where do you find nutritional yeast in Copenhagen? Thanks for your time!

  • I hope your husband is doing well! Thank you for sharing your talents, skills, and now a part of yourself! I will be praying for the both of you!

  • I noticed these “polkabetor” just by chance in the store and remembered about this recipe! Of course I bought couple of them to try this. I have to say I didn’t expect this dish would be SO tasty. Just now my boyfriend’s finished his portion and he is more than impressed! Thank you Sarah, as always.

  • This brings warmth to my heart. Soon this will be a distant memory where you get to say, remember that one time when you broke both your arms…

    Heart Rawvioli…brilliant

  • These boys and their toys – I can totally emphathise with you. My husband has a similar adventurous spirit. I wish your husband a speedy recovery and remember to look after yourself as well. I would expect that with a wife making such beautiful nutritious food for him as such he will be back on deck soon.

  • I’m so soory to hear about your husband’s accident! I wish him a speedy recovery. On the plus side, the beets look beautiful! I only have eaten raw beets in juices, perhaps this is the time to try them uncooked!

  • What beautiful food! It sounds like your husband is getting the treatment he needs 🙂 With hopes of a swift recovery – Sigrid

  • Hi! I hope your husband will be feeling better soon and be able to feed himself again. Best wishes to the both of you in this though time. My father went to something similar recently with breaking both his legs and needed a wheelchair for 6 weeks. looking back, the time went by pretty quick, you will see.
    best wishes carla

  • Dear Sarah,
    Love this post, love your blog!
    All the best to you and your loved one, I am sure all this nice and healthy food will lead to a fast recovery 🙂

  • How to get rid of Fruit Flies

    Hi Sarah, I feel like I’m constantly looking for interesting things to read about a variety of subjects, but I manage to include your blog among my reads every day because you have compelling entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more amazing material coming!

  • dear Sarah!
    all the best to your better half+very quick recovery…
    the heart-salad looks just amazing! I love raw beetroot too, a recipe I have learned this summer is: grinded beetroot, garlic, lemon juice and walnuts…I added few chickpeas sprouts….:-)

  • Sending you many blessings and love for fast healing. I love this recipe – the beets look so beautiful. I am thinking about making this for Valentine’s day next year. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Best to your husband. However, beets…I must say, I am not a picky eater with anything…anything…but beets. They just taste revolting to me…earthy, yes, but also strangely metallic. Just can’t stand them, and I’ve tried them every way you can imagine…candied, raw, sauteed, disguised in cakes, etc. It’s weird. If only they tasted like your gorgeous photos! I wonder if it’s a genetic thing, because I like absolutely everything except beets. Thoughts? Have you ever run across a non-picky eater who can stomach anything but beets? Cheers!

  • I don’t think that I have ever seen a more beautiful way of serving beets (or really any food for that matter).

    All the best for a healthy recovery for your Mr.!

  • This is so beautiful. Beautiful meal and beautiful post. Your husband is lucky to have you! Sending well wishes his way. Thank you for sharing. I’ve been hearing about ‘raw’violis for a while. There is a vegan cafe near me that serves them and I have yet to try them. Now I can make them! Even better!

  • Mmmm, this looks and sounds wonderful. I’m a little shy of beets, but this makes me want to get some and give them a try again. I will be saying a prayer for you and your husband. It sounds like you’re handling his accident really well, I love to hear of real and beautiful love between husbands and wives, and I hear that in your words. ♥

  • I just cringed when I read your post. I, too, have broken both arms (at the same time). My son was 3 mo. old. I was trying to prove that my dance background was just as strong as pre-children and fell backwards in an audition!! I was breast feeding! It was all terribly embarrassing (esp. to my ego!). My husband had to do EVERYthing (as I’m sure only you understand). We had to fly in my MIL to help. You all will laugh about it but it might be awhile! Good luck to you!

  • Your hubby might be a “sight for sore eyes”, but these Heart Beets are gorgeous! Accidents happen, and you can’t BEET yourself up about it, but nevertheless, we’ll be ROOTing for his speedy recovery!

  • Our thoughts are with you guys. I am sure your love will grow even stronger through this, even though I can imagine that you have some tough weeks ahead of you.
    Much love.

  • I’m so sorry about your husband’s accident; gosh, it sounds like it could’ve been worse! YIKES. He’s grounded. Literally. Your food is always so beautiful; this is especially lovely. Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery and rehab for your hubby. xo.

  • Wow, even the images in this post are delicious. I am so excited about your pesto cheese – I too am cynical about such ventures but this looks genuinely enjoyable. Best wishes to your poor husband!

  • Love this idea and wanted to take time to let you know I have cooked many of your recipes and loved them. It is one of my favourite food blogs. Here’s to a speedy recovery and to love – the greatest thrill of all!

  • Happy and healing thoughts to you and your husband!! I’m so glad to hear he will be okay. How scary, though. Can’t wait to try this super healthy and cute dinner. I’ve never even heard of raw beet ravioli! What a good wife you are!

  • My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband. As it’s gong to be a long road, don’t forget to take care of yourself too. The beet dish is gorgeous and I’m sure it was a comfort to you both.

  • So sorry to hear about your husband. I’m sure with your care feeding him all the nutritional goodness, he’ll be back to himself in no time. This dish is making my mouth water!

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s accident – I can only imagine how terrifying it was to first see him like that. I haven’t commented here before I don’t think but I love your blog and look forward to every post. I just wanted to stop in and let you know that – and to show support in such a challenging time. Best wishes to your husband on a speedy, gentle recovery!

  • Sorry to hear read about your husband. I hope the healing process is smooth. What an amazing way to celebrate your love with this dish!

  • Wow – glad to hear everyone is ok although this will definitely be a rough time for both of you. With delicious food like this, I am sure your hubbie will heal up in no time. 😉

    Beet ravioli have been on my hit-list, too, and yours look so gorgeous! Can’t wait to try it out. 🙂

  • Lots and lots of love from me to boost you both<3 Life is funny that way.. bad things happen and then you just have to make the best out of it! Seems like you really do! I am sure that your attitude will speed the healing process tremendously <3

  • Sounds like an awful accident! What a wonderful wife you are, sticking by your husband’s side and being an amazing partner. That rawvioli looks to die for, I love the hearts. Best of luck to you and a quick recovery for your hubby! xoxo

  • Wow, this was such a touching read. I’m sending all sorts of positive thoughts and wishing your husband a fast recovery. He is lucky to have you!

  • Sarah, I wish you and your husband all the best luck. Yesterday we had very bad storms here in the North of Italy and my boyfriend, coming back from work, finished out of the road. Fortunately he is fine but it made me scare a lot. I felt some empathy in reading your story. I loved how you made this simple recipe so personal. Plus, I once ate raw ravioli made with apple slices and beetroot pure in the middle, but never like yours! I am going to try!!

  • What a beautiful post Sarah! I’m sending you and your hospital lots loving thoughts for a quick recovery. Thank you for sharing another wonderful recipe. I’ve made raw beet ravioli many times before but each variation offer some new flavour delight.


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