Give Beets a Chance!
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Sweet, colorful and versatile, beets are experiencing a definite comeback, appearing in salads in other dished on restaurant menus everywhere! Beets, whether roasted or boiled, pickled or puréed, add a distinctively sugary shock of color to any meal.
Choose Beets for your health
Beets are a good source of folate. Deep red varieties are also rich in anthocyanins, which may reduce cancer risk. For extra nutrition, don’t neglect the beet greens, which contain beta-carotene, calcium and iron.
Selecting, preparing, and storing
When it comes to beets, bigger is not always better. Choose the tiny “babies” or the smaller adult variety when you can; anything over two inches or so in diameter can have an unpleasantly woody texture. Look for beets with smooth, unwrinkled skin and a firm, hard feel. Buy beet bunches with the green tops still attached: They should appear bright and not wilted. Remove greens from beets and store separately in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To maximize nutrition, flavor and color, cook beets with their skin on. Remove tops and the long bottom root to within 1/2 inch of the beet “globe.” Wash carefully and steam in a covered pot, or wrap in foil and bake at 350° F, for 45 to 90 minutes, depending on size.
Try to choose beets of approximately the same size to keep cooking times even. When they’re easily pierced with a knife, they’re done.
Let them cool a bit, and use a paper towel to help you slide the skins off (and to prevent your hands from getting stained red). Cooked beets can be frozen, either sliced or diced. Steam the tops as you would any other green.
What to do with beets
Beets complement all courses, from soup to dessert. You can even cook them in advance and keep them refrigerated to save time.
Sweet Beet Slaw
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
- 2 small to medium-sized red beets, peeled and grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 8 to 10 radishes, julienned
- ½ small head red cabbage, thinly shredded
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- 2 rounded spoonful’s dill pickle relish
- Preheat a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons.
- Once you see the oil ripple in the pan add the grated beets, season with some salt and pepper and cook stirring every now and then until they are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the beets to a bowl and let them cool down a bit. Add the mustard and the vinegar to the beets. Whisk in the remaining extra-virgin olive oil in a slow and steady stream.
- Add the fresh dill, radishes, shredded cabbage, red onions and relish and toss to combine, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve now or the next day.
Roasted Beet Salad with Blue Cheese and Nuts
(This is modified from a Martha Stewart recipe. Beets and blue cheese make a great pairing.)
- 4 medium beets (1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed and unpeeled
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
- ¼ cup toasted pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Individually wrap 4 beets in foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with a paring knife, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool. Rub beets with paper towels to remove skins and cut into small wedges.
- Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and mustard; season with salt and pepper and stir in parsley. Toss beets with dressing. Serve topped with blue cheese and walnut pieces.
Crispy Beet Fries
- 2 large red beets (1 1/2 pounds), peeled
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
- Cut beets into 1/2-inch-thick sticks; toss in a medium bowl with oil, salt and pepper. Working in batches if needed, carefully transfer the beets to the fryer basket; cook, tossing once, until golden brown and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate; repeat with remaining beets, if needed.
- Meanwhile, combine feta, oregano, parsley and lemon zest in a small bowl. Spoon over the cooked beets and serve immediately.
Honey Roasted Beets and Carrots
- 4 medium beets
- 4 large carrots
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 450°. Wash and peel the carrots and beets. Chop the vegetables into even 1/2-inch pieces. Add the beets and carrots to a sheet pan and toss with olive oil and salt.
- Spread the vegetables out on the pan and roast at 450° for 20-25 minutes or until they are tender. The cooking time will vary based on the size of the vegetables.
- Meanwhile, in a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Whisk in the honey.
- Remove the beets and carrots from the oven and pour the honey butter mixture over them. Toss until they are well coated.
- Return to the oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon for serving.
Baked Beet Chips
- 3-4 medium sized beets, cleaned
- 1-2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a sharp knife carefully slice the beets relatively thin like chips, about 1/16th of an inch thick, (you could also use a mandolin). They should curl up slightly when you cut them.
- Lightly pat the beets with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Sprinkle them with a little salt and let them sit for about 10 minutes to remove additional moisture. Then place them into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
- Place the beets in a single layer onto a couple of a baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Make sure the beets are not overlapping. This will most likely require cooking in a few batches.
- Bake in the middle rack of your oven at 400 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes until super crispy. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Check the beet chips while they are cooking and make sure to remove any that are done and place them onto a paper towel lined plate or pan to cool. Allow the rest of the beets to cook and then cool as noted for extra crispy chips.
- Remove, serve warm. Serve with a dip of your choice, like a homemade ranch!