Beets: How to Roast Them and Cook Their Tops

beet-bunches

Ever since I first ate my favorite roasted beet and goat cheese salad at an Italian restaurant, I’ve wanted to figure out how to cook beets. I’ll admit that I’ve bought a few beautiful bunches of beets from the store that ended up going bad in the fridge while I tried to figure out what the hell to do to them.

beets-raw-prepped

Roasting beets is actually pretty easy. I used two bunches, one red and one golden. There’s not much difference in taste, but the yellow ones look pretty served beside the classic red ones. Basically, you just chop off the tops, put the beets in a pan or dish with a little water, cover with foil, and roast for about an hour and a half. The yellow ones will stain with some of the red color if they’re cooked together, so if you want to show off their golden tones you’ll need to roast them in a separate pan. (All mine went in the same dish and as you can see in the picture below, the finished yellow ones look sort of like peaches.) When they’re done, a butter knife should pierce all the way through the center and slide easily back out. Let them cool down to room temperature, then either peel them or rub off the skins.

cooked-beets-in-bowl

I cut these into bite sized chunks to add to salads and other dishes, but they’d look nice sliced  and arranged on a serving dish. Toss them about a tablespoon of good quality olive oil, just enough to barely coat each piece. Season with sea salt to taste, I used two pinches.

Store in a glass container in the refrigerator (they might stain plastic) and serve cold or at room temperature.

While the beets roasted, I cooked the tops pretty much the same as I would any other greens.

beet-green-on-saucer

Both recipes are below. What’s your favorite way to cook beets?

Roasted Beets
6 beets
water
1 TBSP olive oil
Sea Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut off the tops, wash the beets, and then put them in a pan or dish with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cover with foil and roast for 1-1/2 to two hours. They’re done when a butter knife can easily slide through the center. Cool to room temperature and peel.

Either slice or cut into chunks. Toss with olive oil to coat and a sea salt to taste. Serve room temperature or cold. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.
Makes about 8 servings

Beet Greens
Leafy green tops from 6 beets, cleaned and coarsely chopped
3 TBSP olive oil
1/2 onion, about 1/2 a cup, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
Red wine vinegar
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup water

Sauté the chopped onion in olive oil for about three minutes, until soft and transparent. Add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds more, then add the beet greens. Stir to combine with the oil in the pan. Add water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, until tender and cooked down. Season with a few splashes of red wine vinegar, a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, and taste to see if you need to add more salt or pepper.

{Variation: Non-vegetarians could add bacon or a little ham.}
Makes 4 or 5 servings

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