Beets. You either love them or you hate them. I’m one of those people who just happens to love them. Besides being low in calories, they’re loaded with vitamins and minerals. I was at the farmers market the other day and was lucky enough to find a stall selling fresh whole beets. Of course, I couldn’t resist buying a bunch of the ruby-colored gems.
I’ve heard that in the markets of France, they sell fresh beets already cooked and ready to eat. We never find pre-cooked fresh beets in America which is funny when you consider how big we are on “convenience” foods out here, but I guess it doesn’t really matter because fresh beets are really very easy to prepare. They can be boiled, steamed, roasted, even microwaved! I like oven roasting them myself. Here’s how I prepare my beets:
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Trim the tops of the beets down to a half inch but leave the roots intact.
- Scrub the beets clean under cold running water. You may need to use a vegetable brush to get all the mud and dirt off but be careful not to break the skin.
- Place a sheet of foil on the counter and place the beets on one half of the foil sheet.
- Drizzle a little oil over the beets and toss to coat.
- Fold the other half of the foil over the beets and crimp the edges tightly closed. If your beets are large, it might be easier to wrap them individually.
- Place the foil packet on a baking sheet in the oven.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes (baking time depends on how big your beets are, how fresh they are, and how many you are baking). The beets are ready when you can pierce them easily with the tip of a sharp knife.
- Let the beets cool for 10 minutes and then peel. The skins should slip right off with just a rub of your fingers. If you want, you can wear gloves to protect your hands from being stained.
Cooked fresh beets are delicious with just a little butter, salt and pepper. Their sweetness also goes very well with orange juice or orange zest. But my favorite way to serve fresh beets is in a simple salad drizzled with oil and vinegar. I don’t have any measurements for the ingredients in the salad because you do everything to your taste. Drizzle as much oil and vinegar as you like, sprinkle as much feta cheese as you like, and so on.
FRESH BEET SALAD
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- feta cheese, crumbled
- fresh chives or green onions, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice roasted beets into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Lay beets on a serving plate.
- Drizzle beets with olive oil and vinegar.
- Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over beets.
- Garnish with chopped chives.
NOTE: If desired, you could also sprinkle chopped walnuts or hazelnuts over the beet salad. Yum!