entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: mod green pod

by Grace Bonney

today’s in the kitchen with belongs to designer nancy mims of eco-friendly design company, mod green pod. if you’re new to the site, via new york magazine, each friday we share a recipe from one of our favorite designers. today i’m thrilled to share one of nancy’s favorite recipes, beet risotto. if you’re looking for a way to take advantage of spring’s green markets or just create a meal for vegetarian guests, this is a fantastic weekend meal. nancy has included some gorgeous photographs, as well as the full recipe instructions- click here for the full post, or just click “read more” below. [thanks, nancy!]

*from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Why I chose this recipe:

I visit Boggy Creek Farm, an urban organic farm just outside downtown Austin, each Wednesday morning. Wednesdays kick off my meal planning for the week, based on what seasonal treasures I find at the farmstand. This time of year, we eat LOTS of gorgeous leafy greens and root veggies. One of my family’s favorite late-winter/early-spring dishes is this risotto. (Even my 6-year-old and 16-month-old gobble down seconds of this dish, so those of you who are wary of beets should try it!) This recipe uses both the beets and the beautiful, delicious and nutritious leaves. Right now, Boggy Creek has 3 different varieties of beets. I couldn’t make up my mind about which color I wanted for this dish, so I went for all three. The color was so impossibly vivid, I couldn’t help but arrange the raw slices in a pattern before shredding them for the dish (see above). This dish is hearty enough to be the main course, with a fresh salad of winter lettuces, or it works as a beautiful side.


5 to 6 cups broth*
3 TBSP butter
1 onion, diced
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
chopped parsley
chopped basil
beets, peeled and grated (about 1 ½ to 2 cups)
3 or 4 cups chopped beet greens
salt and pepper to taste
zest and juice of 1 lemon
freshly grated Parmesan

for the cream:
grated horseradish (either fresh or jarred)
crème fraiche

Heat stock and leave at a simmer on the stove. Heat the butter in a large pot. Saute onions on med to med-low heat until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and stir constantly until rice is thoroughly coated, for 1 minute. Stir in the white wine until it is totally absorbed. Stir in a few tablespoons of minced parsley, the basil, and the grated beets; stir until mixed. Pour in about 2 cups of stock, stir and cover with a lid for a few minutes until the stock is totally absorbed.

While the first round of stock is being absorbed by the rice, make the horseradish cream by stirring the horseradish into the crème fraiche; add salt to taste. The amount of horseradish is up to you.

Remove lid and add the beet greens, stirring until they are thoroughly incorporated and beginning to wilt. Begin adding the remaining stock in ½ cup increments, stirring constantly after each addition until thoroughly absorbed before adding the next. When most of the stock has been used, begin tasting the rice, which should be slightly al dente when it is done. The starch from the rice should make the whole dish creamy, as well. At this point, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the lemon zest and juice.

Serve the risotto in a bowl and top with some of the horseradish cream, a generous spoonful of Parmesan, and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

(Recipe from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.)

*note about broth: you can use veggie broth to keep it a vegetarian dish, or use chicken broth, for a heartier version. if going for the chicken, homemade broth, it’s best to use a good, organic chicken that has slowly simmered to bring out all the good minerals in the bones.

About Nancy:

After working as a freelance textile designer and selling over 1400 prints to the fashion industry, Nancy co-founded Mod Green Pod with her sister-in-law, Lisa Mims. Nancy designs Mod Green Pod’s prints and oversees the company’s branding. Creating products that appeal to both her personal style and support her love of organic agriculture gives her great satisfaction. Living and working in Austin, Texas, Nancy finds endless inspiration at the intersection of the large creative and environmentally-conscious communities in her hip, green city.

Suggested For You


  • Okay, so I am in LOVE with beets! I love how they look, how they stain things, how they make purple out of everything that comes out of you ;) and beet GREENS are to die for! (Try this: wash/chop – toss them in oil with salt/pepper/minced garlic and roast them at 400, turning frequently, for 10 minutes – yumtastic!).

    Extra cheers for featuring an italian dish (my husband is from Rome) and for the fabulous sliced beet color study photo!

  • Wonderful timing, Nancy! Needed an inspirational meal for this evening to surprise the other half. We both LOVE beets + risotto + horseradish…..! How did you know? Your fabulous photos will certainly be shared over dessert!

  • When Deborah Madison wrote us to give her blessing to use this recipe, she said, “Beets, I’ve found, are possibly the most controversial vegetable around. When people write about them in my classes I can’t believe the things they say! Poor beets!” I’ll admit I’m against the dirty little vegetable, but Nancy’s photos were so good, I was tempted to try the recipe out…

  • I was a little leery when design*sponge first brought on the recipes/food styling from designers: I thought, isn’t this going to get gross? What are we doing, playing with our food? Somehow, though, it’s really working. The quality styling and photography are so delightful to us readers, and the impermanence of everyday meals is a nice contrast to, say, megabuck sofas. The textile design style photo using heritage varieties of beets captures the best of this column. Who knew arranging dinner’s ingredients into a colorful, photogenic pattern could be so witty, fashionable, and fun?

  • thank. this sounds so good,I love beets and can’t wait to try this!
    and Meredith I cook mine this way to and sever over pasta.

  • Mod Green Pod is so great! I’ve been doing a project for school about artists studios and I recently shot in their Boston studio. The fabrics are so cute.

  • I am a fan of traditional risotto, but this had such a wild look I had to see if the flavors matched…and they do! Deelish! I made my cream with ginger instead of horseradish, which was a satisfying substitute. After abandoning beets at 2 years old, I am back on the beet train!

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