Ask a Chef: Tal Ronnen

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Tal Ronnen’s inaugural cookbook, The Conscious Cook, holds true to his MO: create visually stunning meatless dishes that are as satisfying as they are healthful. We asked the chef who dreamed up the recipes for Oprah’s three-week vegan cleanse which veggie he turns to when the weather outside is frightful. Here’s what he said.

See alsoBlueberry-Beet Smoothie

I love beets, and I look forward to using both red and golden varieties every winter. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is to boil them with a bit of white balsamic vinegar, which doesn’t compete with their natural flavor. Once the beets are cooked, I like to slice them paper-thin with a mandoline and stuff them (like a pocket) with cashew cheese. Or I roll them up with a tofu ricotta, which I batter for vegan tempura. Diced beets also make a nice addition to a composed salad. One tip is that you can keep the skins on until the beets are cooked, when the skins are easier to remove. Also, the beet greens are highly nutritious, so don’t throw them away. I blanch them, then sauté them with olive oil, salt, and pepper—very simple, very much like the way I would cook collard greens or kale.