Roasting any vegetable brings out its natural sugars and when it comes to beets, no veggie on the planet has more sticky goodness to exude. Tender and sweet, roasted beets have a milder flavor then their raw counterparts and create the most delightful aroma in your kitchen when roasted.
If you love beets, roasting them is a MUST. If you are on the fence, these steps are worth trying. If you are just not a fan, take notes anyway, as you may find your family adores them.
As a root vegetable powerhouse, beets have outstanding nutritional benefits that make them an excellent food choice for pregnant and nursing moms.Give them a try in salads (especially with goat cheese), put some in your morning smoothies, or add them to your favorite pot of chili for the perfect hint of sweetness.
Step One: Wash
Place your beets under running water and use your fingers or a vegetable brush to remove any loose dirt. If purchased with the leafy tops still attached (highly recommended) be sure to give them a rinse as well.
Step Two: Cut
Cut the top (stems) and bottom (long root) off of each beet. Rewash and save the beet greens for salads, soups or a quick sauté with garlic and olive oil. These slightly bitter greens are similar to kale and can be used the same way. The long beet stems can also be used for pickling.
Step 3: Cover
Place each beet in the center of a piece of tin foil large enough to cover the entire beet. Drizzle each beet with a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt (optional). Cover the beets and place in a preheated oven at 400 degrees.
Step 4: Roast
Let the beets roast for 50 minutes (cook time will vary based on the size of your beets). You can check to see if your beets are ready by placing a knife or fork through the center of the beet. If it goes through the beet smoothly (like butter) then your beets are done. Remove your roasted beets from the oven, and allow them to cool in the tin foil.
Step 5: Peel
Remove the beets from the foil. Using gloves or a paper towel, rub down the sides of the beets to remove the skins. They should peel away easily. You can also remove the skins while running the beets under water. This can be a great alternative to stained fingers if you do not have kitchen gloves or a paper towel available. Leave the beets whole, or cut them as desired (sliced, chopped, grated, minced, etc.). Cover and place in the fridge.
Ok, I am sneaking in an extra step.
Step 6: ENJOY!
Tip: Beets will keep up to five days in your refrigerator and freeze well. If freezing, cut as desired (I find cubed beets to work best), place in an airtight container and store in portion sizes that make sense for you and your family.
Other uses: Do you have issues with acidity? If so, a homemade beet puree can be a great thickening substitute for tomato paste. Place equal parts roasted beets and orange lentils in a sauce pan with water (use the same amount necessary for cooking the lentils alone). Bring to a boil and simmer. Once the lentils are cooked, run the cooked mixture through a blender. Freeze the paste in ice cube trays and take out to use in sauce or stews.
Recipes using roasted beets: