Let’s start out by saying that beets get a pretty bad rep. Ask any hard core beet-hater what beets taste like, and you’re sure to get an answer like: mud, earth, wood, dirt. I’m here today to make a case in defense of the poor beet. Contrary to the descriptions above, when cooked properly, beets have a sweet, almost sugary quality, that holds up well with a multitude of other sharper ingredients. They are perfect and healthy addition to salads or sandwiches, or can be simply eaten alone with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
When choosing beets look for ones with rich deep colors. I usually prefer red beets, but golden beets are delicious as well. Look for whatever looks best that day at your local grocer. Make sure that there is no marring or cuts on the surface of the skin. The stems and leaves should be intact and a dark green color with red veining. The leaves can be used as a “greens” substitute in recipes that call for spinach or swiss chard, or can be added to green smoothies.
My absolute favorite way to cook beets is to roast them. Let’s be honest, roasting anything makes it so much more flavorful and complex. Heck, I’m tempted to oven roast the greens next time I’m making beets and turn them into crunchy chips, similar to kale… New blog post, anyone?! They take very little prep work and virtually no cleanup, as they roast in foil packets. Note to self though… Beets STAIN! So unless you don’t mind having beet red fingers, wear protective gloves!
I encourage you to give beets a second chance next time you see them! They’re easy to cook and come power packed with a healthy punch of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
- 1 bunch red or golden beets, usually 3-4
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 375. Use a wet paper towel to wipe any dirt or grime from the surface of the beets, and cut the top and bottom to make a flat surface. Do not peel.
- Lay a medium sized piece of aluminum foil out on a flat surface and put a small circle of olive oil in center. Place bottom end of cut beet on top of olive oil and then drizzle olive oil over the top and around the sides. Top with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Bring four sides of foil together to make a tight packet around the beet. Place the packets on a baking sheet and roast in oven for approximately 45 minutes, depending on the size.
- Beets will be done when a knife inserted in the center of the top meets no resistance.
- Once beets are cooled, peel the skin off with your hands. Skin should come off easily.
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