Beets | Ingredients Spotlight
Four Ways To Rock the Beet This Season
Despite being chock full of nutrients and possessing some beautiful colors, beets sometimes get a bad rap. They are incredibly versatile - they can be roasted, pickled, juiced, sliced in salads, and even added to your favorite desserts - making the possibilities of beet goodness endless. Whether you're a beet connoisseur or on the fence, here are four ways to rock the beet this season:
1. Choose a Beauty
Besides the classic “beet red,” there are a variety of beet colors, including candy-striped. The colors are good indicators of sugar content with the reds being the sweetest. Whatever the color, avoid beets with soft, moist spots or shriveled, flabby skin. The taproot, which extends from the bulbous part of the beet, should be slender. It’s also a good idea to pick equal-sized beets so that they will cook evenly. If the leaves are attached, they should be small, crisp, and dark green,
2. Roast or Boil Like a Champion
For roasting, you’ll need:
Extra virgin olive oil
A sharp knife
Vegetable scrubber and/or vegetable peeler
Step 1: Cut the Bulbs from the Stems: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice off the beet stems and greens, reserving them for another use (more on that below!).
Step 2: Clean the Beets: Because beets are a root vegetable, they're pretty dirty, and need to be cleaned before use. A vegetable scrubber is super helpful in removing the grit. Don’t have a scrubber? You can also peel them like you would a potato.
Step 3: Prepare for Roasting: Lightly brush the beets with olive oil and wrap each individually in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 to 60 minutes. You’ll know they are ready when a fork slides easily through the center.
Step 4: Peel the Beets and Enjoy: Once you’ve let the beets cook for a bit, unwrap the foil. If you used a vegetable peeler, you’re ready to slice and enjoy. If not, place an unwrapped beet on a paper towel and gently rub it back and forth. The peel should come right off. Now that your beets are roasted, we recommend this Roasted Beets with Wild Arugula and Walnut Pesto recipe from Chef Curtis Di Fede.
For boiling, you’ll need:
A large saucepan
Step 1: Prep the Beets: Gently rinse your beets with water. Cut off all but 2 inches of the green stems (this prevents the deep red beet juice from seeping into the water!)
Step 2: Boil Your Water: Fill a large saucepan with water, and set over high heat. Bring water to a boil. Stir in salt, and add beets.
Step 3: Boil then Enjoy: Boil until beets are fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Drain, let cool, and rub off skins under cold water and enjoy!
3. Double Dip
Beet and goat cheese are very much like peanut butter and jelly - delicious on their own, but magical when paired together. Using your roasting skills from above, whip up some tasty roasted beet dip with goat cheese. It's as pretty as it is delicious!
Creamy Beet and Goat Cheese Dip
4 medium-sized beets, trimmed and peeled
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
7 ounces goat cheese, plus 1 ounce extra for garnish
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons almond milk cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Toasted baguettes, crackers, veggies for serving (an olive loaf works great)
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place peeled beets on a baking sheet and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
Roast beets at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until beets have softened. Remove from oven and let cool. (Strapped for time? Skip the roasting and look for Love Beets at your local grocery store!)
Add cooled roasted beets, cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Puree until smooth.
Serve dip immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge until you need it. Garnish with extra goat cheese andserve with your favorite toasted baguette slices, crackers or carrots. Enjoy!
4. Don’t Neglect the Stems
Who doesn’t love a good 2-for-1? Like the beet, the leafy greens are also versatile - they can be sautéd, boiled, roasted, or eaten raw. We recommend separating the greens from the roots as soon as you bring them home as it will extend the life of the root to about two weeks. The greens will stay fresh for about a week. Here are some ideas on how to use them:
- Sauté the greens up with garlic and bacon for a yummy side dish
- Like chard or spinach, they work great in hearty salads or in smoothies
- Using a food processor, add beet greens to your favorite pesto recipe to pack in even more nutrients