Big. Bold. Beautiful. Beets are robust root veg that have deep red and purple colors and equally deep flavor. They are packed with strong earthiness and surprising sweetness making them a truly unique tasting vegetable. If you normally avoid beets I encourage you to try them once or twice. The earthy flavor gives beets that comfort food feel, but as a veg they leave you feeling fresh and healthy.
Be sure to use both the beet root and the beet leaves. Beets are the same species as swiss chard, but beets are grown to have large roots, where chard is grown for the leaves. This means you can use the beet leaves just like swiss chard. I find the beet greens can have a milder flavor compared to swiss chard so there is no reason to avoid eating them.
Start with separating the beet root from the leaves leaving about half a quarter of an inch of stem still attached to the beet. The beet and leaves are prepared separately and the beet will last longer in your fridge if it is not connected to leaves.
Give the beets a good wash in running cold water and leave them to dry. You should trim the beets more than what is shown in the photo as you will get more stalks to eat later.
Wash the leaves in cold water and give them some time to dry.
For the greens, just treat them as you would swiss chard. Simply remove the stems, cut the greens down to bite sized pieces and saute with you favorite seasonings.
For soups and slaws, you will want to trim the beet stem and little tail then peel the whole thing.
For roasting you could leave all the parts attached and remove them once the beets have finished roasting. When I am roasting beets I wrap them in foil and save some of the cooked beets in my fridge. If you are cooking for a family you can really use any covered cooking vessel. Using foil or a lidded vessel allows for steam to build up which is what helps make the skins so easy to remove from the beets. I have the beets trimmed in the photo because I hadn’t decide how I was going to cook with them, but feel free to leave the tail and tops on as I mentioned.
Depending on the method you use to cook a beet, the flavor profile will be slightly different. Raw and boiled beet have a similar flavor; forward sweetness and hearty earthy notes. Roasted beet is still sweet but the earthy flavors are more intense.
If you are looking for the dead easy approach then roast your beets. Cover the beets either with a lid or foil and roast them at 375F (40min – 1hour+). You will know they are done if your knife slides easily into the beet. You could eat them with the skin on, but when you roast the beets covered, the skin literally just slides off.
Once roasted, the beets become beautiful and glossy. They are great finished with some form of dressing or with some other vegetables. I wouldn’t bother seasoning the beets before roasting because you will be peeling off all the seasoning. Wait until you have removed the skin then season your beets.
I normally just have the roasted beet as a side with some meat and greens. However, beets have a strong flavor so you can make them the centerpiece of a meal. I have enjoyed roasted beet on whipped goat cheese with dill and vinaigrette.
For the greens just cook them quick and easy. I have cooked them with some rendered bacon and a little onion and garlic. I wouldn’t over complicate the greens, just enjoy them sauteed with some basics seasonings.
Lastly beets have a strong physical structure so they are excellent for soups and pickling. If rainy weather ever gets you in the mood for some soup I would suggest finding a borscht recipe online. Top borscht with some sour cream and dill and you will have a bowl of soup that satisfies the stomach and soul. For pickling there are about a thousand different recipes online. I suggest following a simple recipe , then change some ratios once you have given them a try.