Beets are not only delicious and super-nutritious, they are beautifully colored and a feast for the eyes. From the deep purple to the golden yellow variety, they are sweet and earthy, and brighten any salad or other recipe you want to use them in.
As I was growing up in France, my mother would buy pre-cooked beets at the farmer’s market, and it’s not until I moved to the US that it occurred to me that you could buy raw beets and cook them yourself!… I thought there was some complicated magic the farmer performed behind closed doors to produce this sweet goodness that was ready to peel and eat as is…
I first gave a try to canned and jarred beets but found them disgusting and very far from the taste I was used to. I then quickly researched cooking methods, and experimented on a few bunches of raw beets until I found the best method for me: simply roasting!
Other methods include boiling or steaming, but I find they lose some of the taste and nutrients, whereas roasting locks in the flavors and concentrates the sweetness. Plus it’s super easy.
They keep very well in the refrigerator once cooked (a week), and freeze well too.
Of course, you can also eat beets raw, shredded or sliced very thin. It’s a whole different animal then, crunchy and not as sweet as the cooked version, but equally interesting.
My favorite way to eat beets is with a simple vinaigrette, a bit of shallots or red onion and a bit of parsley or chives. Another classic combination is to toss them together with bitter greens such as Belgian endives or arugula, fruit such as an apple or pear, cheese such as feta or blue cheese, and nuts such as walnuts or pecans. Or you can try this kale, mushrooms farro and beet recipe.
Tip: If you buy a bunch of beets with leaves attached, make sure you save the greens and eat them too (a quick saute in olive oil is my favorite).
Give it a try!
- 1 lb red beets raw
- Preheat oven to 375 deg F.
- Scrub beets clean, leave 1/2" of the stalks and cut the thin root if it is too long.
- Wrap each beet in aluminum foil.
- Place aluminum packets on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. If your beets are larger than 2" diameter, you may need to increase the cooking time to 1 h 15 min or more.
- At the end of the cooking time, turn off the oven. Let the beets cool in the oven for about 1 hour. They will continue to soften in their packets.
- Once the aluminum packets are cool enough to handle, you can either use the beets now or transfer them to the refrigerator in their foil. Make sure your foil packets do not leak any liquids before doing that, and place them on a plate or in an airtight container to prevent any leaks in your refrigerator.
- When ready to use, unwrap and peel. The peel should come off very easily with your fingers. (I recommend using gloves to handle beets otherwise your hands might be stained for days…)
- Use in your favorite recipe…