Beet Pasta with Crispy Chicken and Baby Fennel Salad

Beets have the most incredible color. If you have ever been part of the Rainshadow CSA, you have spent some evenings with pink hands just from processing the veritable abundance thereof. They have mastered the art of growing them, and that means they always have perfectly turgid tender stems which I happen to think are equally delicious. Do yourself a favor and don’t toss them, because they are one of the greatest vegetable sources of iron. They are also high in calcium, magnesium, carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin K.

Important as well, they are rich in fiber. Gut inflammation is implicated in (arguably all) chronic diseases, and fiber helps to feed the bacteria in the gut to produce more byproducts that keep inflammation at bay. The less inflammation there is, the more able the villi of the intestines are able to absorb the vitamins and micronutrients. Very cool if you ask me. I actually used the greens in the (I always have) leftovers version of this dish, but here is the day one root version for you to enjoy.
Beet pasta with Crispy Chicken and Baby Fennel Salad
(Serves 4)
2 cups dry pasta of your choice
1 bunch red beets, diced
½ cup cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
8 cups salted water
Fennel Salad:
1 bunch baby fennel bulbs, shaved
1 egg
1 cup avocado oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
1 lemon, juiced
Fennel Vinaigrette:
1 cup fennel frond tops
½ cup fresh tarragon leaves
½ cup avocado oil
¼ cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
Crispy Chicken:
4 chicken thighs, pounded thin
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 Tbsp. Franks Red Hot sauce, or similar
Salt and pepper to taste
Avocado oil for pan searing.
3 scallions sliced thin for garnish


  1. Bring salted pasta water to a boil. Add pasta and beets and cook to al dente (about 6-7 minutes). Strain and set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add all the ingredients of the fennel salad (except the fennel!) and blend with a stick blender or similar until you have a thick, creamy aioli. Toss with fennel and set aside.
  3. Also while pasta is cooking, mix together all the ingredients of the fennel vinaigrette and blend with a stick blender or similar. Set aside.
  4. To make the chicken, have one dish with egg, franks and a few grinds of both salt and pepper. In the other dish have panko for dredging. First dip in egg wash and then dredge in panko and cook in a skillet with enough avocado oil or lard to coat the pan on medium heat until golden brown on both sides.
  5. When the chicken is done, add the pasta and beets back to the pasta pot and toss with cream and lemon over medium high heat until hot and incorporated.
  6. Plate beet pasta, top with crispy chicken, and baby fennel salad.
  7. Spoon the fennel vinaigrette around the edge and garnish with fresh scallions.