I just adore beets. Those gorgeous colors, that deep earthy sweetness, and the fact that they come with a free bunch of greens attached!!!! YES please. In all honesty, I really used to be disgusted by them, though. I thought they tasted like dirt. Thankfully my taste buds aren’t petulant babies anymore. Beets are abundant at our local farmer’s market throughout fall, winter, and spring. After a long hot summer, I’m dying to welcome them back.
I usually find three varieties at our market- red (Bull’s Blood, Detroit Wonder, Cylindrica), pink with white rings inside (Chioggia, Candy Stripe), and yellow or golden. They all taste a little different. The golden and chioggia types taste milder and sweeter. They are delicious raw, sliced paper thin on a mandolin (chioggia are especially gorgeous this way, as you can see all the vibrant stripes).
Beets can be roasted, pickled, steamed, eaten in salad, added to hummus, and so much more. Cut into cubes and roast with squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, rosemary and garlic for an easy side. Slice them thinly on a mandolin, and bake with olive oil and sea salt for crispy chips.
An easy way to prep the whole bunch at once: cut off stems and tail, wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour until soft. Let them cool a bit and then open up the foil and rub it against the skin-it will slip right off. Compost the skins and rinse off and reuse or recycle the foil.
Treat beet greens like any other hardy green (kale, chard, etc) and saute.
At the market, choose beets that feel firm with fresh and green leaves. The best, freshest beets will have a sort of sheen to the skin. When you get home, wash them and cut the greens off, or they will continue to draw moisture and flavor out. I store the roots loose in my crisper drawer. Cut the leaves off of the stems. Compost the stalks and store the leaves as you would any leafy green- I either wrap loosely in a slightly damp kitchen towel, or in my storage bags from The Swag (they work really well).
All that said, let’s get cooking. Here are a few recipes that we especially enjoy using beets as the star.
citrus and beet winter salad (serves 4 as a side)
2 large beets, steamed or roasted, peeled and sliced into wedges (see roasting instructions above if interested)
1 small chioggia or yellow beet, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin
2 oranges, skin and pith removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise, seeds removed
1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup of roasted pistachios (sub any other toasted nut or seed)- roughly chopped
1/3 cup of pomegranate arils
1 small shallot, finely chopped ~ 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme OR 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped very finely
1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
a handful of leafy bitter/spicy greens, like arugula, radicchio, or endive
flaky sea salt for finishing
opional: Urfa Biber chili flakes (I had them around, they are black flakes with a mild heat and deep flavor + they look beautiful on food) black sesame seeds would do the trick too to pop the colors.
Place shallot and ACV in a small mixing bowl. Let sit 2 minutes, then whisk in the oil, sweetener, herbs, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust as necessary.
Spread the greens out over a large plate or serving platter. Arrange the roasted beets, oranges, avocado on top. Tuck in the raw sliced beets around the sides and in empty spaces. Sprinkle on the pomegranate arils and drizzle dressing over the salad evenly. Sprinkle the nuts and a few pinches of flaky salt over and serve immediately.
We like to serve as a side with a nice creamy soup, like butternut or carrot + some crusty bread + the beet greens (sauteed with olive oil, shallot, lemon, and nutmeg).
+4 more recipes that can’t be beet
crushed and crispy beets with yogurt : this is a delicious recipe. I skip the second step of pan frying to make it easier. Coco yogurt with a few teaspoons of lemon and pinch of salt mixed in is an easy swap for the labneh.
french “peasant” beets : I’ve made this recipe quite a few times, subbing miyoko’s vegan butter (TJ’s has the lowest price on this or you can make your own! this is miyoko’s recipe and it’s really easy + no plastic) and a cashew cheese for the goat cheese called for. A great dinner with a green salad and some crusty bread.
fudgy chocolate beet cake with avo frosting : GF/V, rich, dense, packed with healthy plant foods, and tastes like perfect cake. I made these in cupcake form once to send with my son to a SAD eater’s kid’s birthday party, where I knew they’d be serving chocolate cupcakes. They looked exactly the same and my son didn’t eat crappy corn syrup and hydrogenated oil laced cupcakes. WIN!
ginger+star anise quick pickled beets : so easy + silky, sophisticated flavors. A perfect dinner party starter along with some roasted almonds and some crackers and nut cheese.
Now go buy some beets and eat them all the ways 🙂 Tag me on Instagram @mamaeatsplants so I can see all your beet-y creations!
xx love to you