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.

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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