The Napoleon invasion on this blog continues! But there won’t be any Napoleonic wars; on the contrary, this post is a joint project by Carol of Cooking For The Time Challenged and myself. Carol is a talented blogger, a creator of fabulous recipes, but most of all, a great parent. A while ago, I posted a recipe for Eggplant Napoleon (to see it, please click here). As creative as she is, Carol immediately cooked up something delicious called Lentils Napoleon. After an exchange of comments and ideas, a momentous decision was reached: we will do a joint post (neither one of us has the slightest idea about the logistics of it!) featuring two different vegetable Napoleons. Since I have since posted my “tried and true” Dairy Free Beets Napoleon (to see the recipe, please click here), I have taken the structure of it and incorporated Carol’s idea of beans as a filling. My “partner in crime” together with her very talented teenage daughter Raizel has created something spectacular – please click here to see her Zucchini Tofu Napoleon – so, Beautiful People, you get two for the price of one!
Small young beets are the best for this. Don’t peel them, but scrub them well under running water. For instructions on baking young beets, please go to my Dairy Free Beets Napoleon post (click here).
While the beets are baking, we can make the creamy filling. Well, as creamy as any beans can get. On the spur of the moment, I decided that lentils will not provide a color contrast with beets. And what a lucky coincidence: I have just started cooking yellow split peas for a soup (stay tuned for this one!). As I was about to throw them into the food processor together with garlic and cilantro, it occurred to me that walnuts, used in Eggplant Napoleon – the starting point of this Napoleon invasion – might not go so well with split peas. So I tasted, and didn’t like the combination. Next, I performed a similar taste test on almonds, and it was great! In they went, to be pulverized into a paste together with the first three ingredients.
I prefer to process ingredients together with spices and seasoning. I think they blend better this way, but then it’s only my opinion. Before I pressed that button, I added cumin, cinnamon, light wine vinegar, and salt and pepper. Whirrrl! And don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl.
This is as creamy as it gets, but it should be very soft and well blended. Your beets should be ready by now, too.
Slice your beets paper thin. I don’t have a mandoline veggie slicer, but I have a nice set of ceramic knives that slice like a dream. When my husband is not at home to do the slicing, that is.
Start assembling by layering slices of beats with filling. Build individual stacks as tall as you want. I made mine of one beet each, which was 6 to 8 layers. Don’t worry about your “Leaning Tower of Pisa” collapsing; the bean paste will securely hold it together.
You should end with some filling on top and sprinkle some cilantro on it. You could serve individual portions, like I did, or, if you have larger company, arrange them on a pretty platter on a bed of baby lettuce, or something equally fresh and crispy looking and light green. Now, I know it looks beautiful, but then, my cat figurines will make anything look beautiful! But it also came out delicious, as my husband enthusiastically confirmed.
Thank you, Carol, for an opportunity to partner with you and to benefit from your creative approach to cooking, parenting, and ultimately, to life! I can’t help but include this song:
- 2 – 3 small young beets
- 1 cup split yellow peas, cooked (1/2 cup uncooked)
- 1 -2 large garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro and more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon light wine vinegar
- A pinch of cumin
- A pinch of cinnamon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350. Scrub beets under running water, pat dry. Bake tightly covered for 1 hour. Remove, put aside to cool.
- Rinse split peas, cook according to instructions on package.
- Place cooked split peas in food processor, add the rest of ingredients. Process until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides to make sure it is well blended.
- Slice beets paper thin. Assemble individual stacks by layering split pea paste between beet slices.
- End with filling on top, garnish with cilantro.