beet parfait

parfait-in-front-of-lanternsIn French, the word “parfait” means perfect, and in both my adult life and childhood memories the name for this dish doesn’t seem too far off.



Today was Mother’s Day in America, and it’s been a few years since I haven’t been able to celebrate that with my mother on this earth.  Each year gets easier, but of course, of course, the nostalgia slips in whether or not I want it to.  I didn’t even think I’d do a Mother’s Day post today, until my memories took me back to grocery shopping with my mom.

While many things in life did make her uncomfortable, being a mom certainly wasn’t one of them.  She thrived at that, and I am forever, forever grateful and I hope have inherited her kindness through her very many gestures of love.  One of these many gestures was always making sure we had a lunch ready before we left for school each day.  No matter what, there would always be two brown paper bags ready for us with a few ziplock baggies inside and hopefully a cookie or something sweet.  We would go to the grocery store right down the street and shop for fresh sliced sandwich meat together sometimes.  Because that always tasted better.

beef-parfait-on-roofThis is where I get to the parfait: the little deli section of the supermarket not only hosted some actually very tasty deli meats that they sliced fresh to the thickness of your choice, but it also had a few cold salads, coleslaws, etc.  I adored grocery shopping with my mom because it meant that if I gave her big enough eyes, she would let me get a small deli container of the jell-o parfait.

cubed-beets-on-knifeyogurt-tablespoon-for-beet-parfaitFor those of you who don’t know what jell-o parfait is, it’s quite simple: it’s just cubes of red jell-o (I don’t even remember what flavor), but it’s red.  It’s mixed with whipped cream, and probably some vanilla or something.  And it tastes like, just, I don’t know why, but something so good because of the texture of the cubes and the creaminess of the whipped cream.  It’s like if a marshmallow decided to be a little less sweet, get super gooey and then hug a block of jelly that got so happy it turned into a cube so that you could swish it around a little bit in your mouth before “popping” it.  But way less sweet than a marshmallow.

So, that’s what I remember about parfaits, and I thought of it today because, well, it’s Mother’s Day, and also I remembered I had a leftover roasted beet in the fridge.  And that color sparked that memory and I was like, “Hey, 30-year-old me, you probably wouldn’t even like jell-o parfait anymore, but couldn’t you do something very similar with the texture of the beet and that organic coconut yogurt in the fridge?”  (How boring we get when we get old.)

beet-on-cutting-board-wholebeet-parfait-with-spoon-in-kitchenSo I experimented, and it’s actually really, really good.  I mean, if that’s what I would have gotten as a kid instead of the jell-o, maybe 2017-6-year-old me would been writing the same thing in 2041.

Oh, that’s a scary number.

Without further adieu, here’s this ridiculously healthy version of my young self’s grocery store favorite.  Growing up in a small town isn’t so exciting, so bear with me as this was the highlight of my day for quite a few days as a wee Bubble Child.  🙂


beet parfait

Serves 1-2
Prep time 5 minutes
Dietary Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Condiment, Dessert, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold


  • 3/4 cups vanilla yogurt of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt but I imagine a greek vanilla yogurt would be delicious!)
  • 1 beet (steamed or roasted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 or 1 tablespoon agave nectar (if you use sweetened yogurt add agave nectar to taste, if unsweetened you'll probably want to add a whole tablespoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Step 1 This is so easy. Start off by mixing together your yogurt, salt, vanilla and agave nectar in a medium mixing bowl. Taste it for sweetness and add more agave nectar until it's to your liking. Go slow, as agave nectar is pretty dense!
Step 2 Now you can get your hands dirty (or wear gloves): cut your beet into about 3/4" cubes and gently fold into the yogurt mixture until you get the marbled effect you want. I personally didn't want to mix it too much to leave a little bit of the white color.
Step 3 Eat, and tell your mom you love her. 😉

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