Chef Daniel Asher of Root Down and Linger channeled his Eastern European roots and his love for beet borscht when he reinvented the vibrant soup into a savory “cheesecake.”

He blends cashew butter, miso, and tart lemon juice with earthy, heirloom beets and coconut oil to create an organic, vegan “cheese.” He offsets the silky texture with a crust constructed of dates, almonds, chives, and pistachios mixed with a dash of curry. He pulls it all together—and balances the richness—with a light salad of quick-pickled sea beans, fiddlehead ferns, and squash blossoms topped with fresh hearts of palm, edible flowers, and a fig-balsamic, lemongrass, and sea salt vinaigrette. The depth of flavors, textures, and colors makes this one of the most complex and satisfying small plates I’ve ever experienced.

Asher debuted this dish at the June 25th DineWell for LiveWell reception before offering it at Root Down’s Raw Night a couple weeks later. The combination (which is now served with local garden greens) has been such a hit that the small plate is now on the regular menu.

1600 W. 33rd Ave., 303-993-4200

Image courtesy of Travis Broxton