Donna’s Beets with Walnut Chutney


A little taste of some of my pandemic cooking (hope you all are well).

Not survival food, but food for the soul.

Very nostalgic making this one. Beets with walnut chutney. This was one of my favorite dishes that they chef (Donna) would make at Southern Dharma Retreat Center when I worked there as Retreat Manager for the year 2010.

We were a staff of four hosting silent, contemplative retreats throughout the year. We worked in a remote holler in Pisgah National Forest. One of my varied duties was helping Donna in the kitchen for lunch and dinner. I also made breakfast and became quite the muffin master (and discovered how much of a morning person I am not).

I reached out to her a month ago for the walnut chutney ingredients/recipe. So glad I did.

I realize that, when I make something to eat, I often have learned that technique, recipe, or ingredient combination from a friend, a previous boyfriend, a family member, or from a country I have visited.

Food is that way. It connects us all in remembrance and flavor.


Beets with Walnut Chutney
Serves 4 people as a side dish

Take 3 medium-sized red beets and cut off tip and tail.  Place in water and bring to a boil.  Take it down to a simmer and let cook for about an hour.

While that is cooking, prepare the chutney.

2 cups walnuts (or better yet, crispy walnuts)
1/3 cup walnut oil (or sesame oil)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tbsp sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
freshly ground pepper
salt to taste

– chop walnuts, coarsely
– in small bowl, mix all ingredients

Test beets with a fork.  The fork should easily pierce the beets.  When beets are done, take them off of heat, and pour out hot water.  Add cool water.  Let sit a few minutes.  Rub your fingers on the beet peel/skin and remove.  Cut the beets into small cubes.

Combine beets with walnut chutney and enjoy!



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