Around July when the beets are fresh and flavourful, I tend to cook them. In the winter when I eat storage beets the flavour is more mellow, and I tend use them uncooked.
One way of cooking beets is to roast them. Susan, a CSA member, once told me she cooks them on the barbeque. I like to roast my beets when I already have the oven on for other things. Cooked this way, they turned out differently from boiled beets; the flavour is sweeter. Once they cool a bit, I cut them up and tossed them with a couple of thinly sliced raw carrots, olive oil, sea salt and herbs. (Beets, dill and feta make a nice combo too!)
This tutorial for roasted beets comes from The Spruce.
- Olive oil to coat
- Feta cheese or goat cheese
- Herbs fresh or dried
- Roasted nuts e.g. walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans
- Fruits and vegetables see below for suggestions
- Salt to taste
Start with beets that are firm and feel heavy for their size. If the beets came with their greens still attached, cut off the greens, wash them, and reserve them for another use (you can cook beets greens just like other greens such as spinach or chard).
Rinse any dirt or debris from the beets—some beets may need to be scrubbed clean—and put the beets on a large piece of aluminum foil and preheat the oven to 375F.
Drizzle the beets with a bit of oil before roasting. Olive oil is a good choice, but grapeseed oil or canola oil work just fine, too. Sprinkle the beets with salt, too, if you like. Note: If you're planning on making a salad with the roasted beets, feel free to use plenty of oil here—you can use the beet-infused oil in the dressing.
To evenly roast the beets, fold the foil over them and crimp to seal the sides closed. This helps keep them moist, it also helps contain the powerfully staining juices they'll emit while roasting and make clean-up a snap.
Roast beets until tender. The amount of time this will take can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors: the size of the beets, how beets there are, if other things are in the oven, and how fresh the beets are (fresher beets cook up faster). For smaller beets, start checking them for tenderness after they've been roasting for about 25 minutes. Larger and older beets can take up to an hour.
Remove the beets from the oven when they're tender (you should be able to easily pierce them with a fork). Open up the foil packet and let them sit until they're cool enough to handle.
When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip their peels off. You can use a paring knife if you like, but you can also marvel at how easily the peels come off with just a rub of your fingers.
Serve peeled roasted beets as-is, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Or slice and use them in salads.
Roasted beets are particularly tasty with highly flavorful but creamy white cheeses; feta and goat cheese are excellent choices. They also pair well with roasted nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts, as well as fresh herbs like dill and parsley.
Beets work well with other sweet fruits and vegetables, particularly oranges, peaches, and tomatoes, which all share a tanginess within their sweetness that sets off beets quite nicely. Here is a list of 10 beet salads to try.