GIF Tutorial: How to Prepare & Cook Beets
Beneath a beet’s rough exterior lies a jewel-toned veggie, bursting with fiber, vitamins, and powerful antioxidants. Whether you pick intense red, mild golden, or candy-striped Chiogga beets, you’ll find that these tasty tubers make a sensational addition to salads, sandwiches, soups, and more.
Coax the earthy sweetness out of beets with these simple cooking techniques:
Start by Preparing Your Beets
Step 1: Slice off the beet greens (if attached) with a sharp knife and save them for later.
Step 2: Scrub the beets under running water with a vegetable brush.
Step 3: Carefully cut off the ends of the beets. Remember beet juice can stain your hands, wooden and plastic cutting boards, and kitchen towels.
Step 4: Peel off tough skin with a vegetable peeler. If you’re roasting beets whole, you can skip this step.
Then Choose Your Cooking Method
1. Leave It Raw
Shred the peeled beets with a box grater or thinly slice with a sharp knife or mandoline.
Ways to Use Raw Beets:
- Make salads shine. Shredded or spiralized beets make a colorful addition to salads, veggie wraps, and sandwiches.
- Drink your veggies. Put raw beets through an electric juicer for a vibrant, rich, homemade juice blend.
- Capture the color. Beet juice can be used as a natural dye for frosting, cookies, pickled eggs, or textiles.
2. Roast In Foil
- Wrap each individual beet, whole and unpeeled, in a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Bake at 450°F on a sheet pan, or directly on the oven racks, for 30-40 minutes, until tender. The beets should be easy to pierce with a knife.
- Once they’re cool enough to handle, you can rub off the skins, wearing latex gloves (to prevent stains on your skin).
- Peel the beets, then chop them into bite-size pieces.
- Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs (rosemary, sage, and marjoram all work well) on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Shake the baking sheet several times during cooking to help prevent sticking.
Ways to Use Roasted Beets:
- Compose a bistro-worthy salad. Roasted beets, walnuts, and goat cheese are a classic combination
- Turn up tacos. Roasted beets make a tasty addition to vegetarian tacos, especially breakfast tacos with beans, cheese, and sour cream.
- Make a Middle Eastern side dish. Shred roasted beets and add a few tablespoons of creamy tahini, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, and a handful of chopped Italian parsley.
3. Boil or Steam
- Bring a full pot of salted water, plus a teaspoon of white vinegar, to a boil. Alternatively, place a large steaming basket over a pot of water and bring to a boil.
- Add whole, unpeeled raw beets carefully into the boiling water or steamer. Cover and lower the heat.
- Simmer or steam between 35 to 60 minutes, depending on their size.
- The beets are done when they can be pierced easily with a knife. Remove skins as described in the whole roasting method.
Ways to Use Boiled or Steamed Beets:
- Punch up potato salads. The deep sweetness of beets plays nicely with fingerling potatoes, bell peppers, and asparagus.
- Pack a jar of pickles. Combine 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup sugar and a few dashes of salt and gently boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1/2-1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns and a few dried bay leaves. Once cool, pour the whole mixture over a pound of sliced, boiled beets in a jar (add water if necessary to fill liquid to the top) and chill. Pickles will be ready in 4-7 days, and will keep for a few months in the fridge.
- Brighten up your bagel. Thin-sliced boiled or steamed beets make a lovely addition to a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon.
Don’t Forget the Scraps
Remove beet greens from the thick stalks and soak them in a bowl of cold water, swishing to remove sand or dirt. Then, spin greens dry using a salad spinner.
Ways to Use Beet Greens:
- Sauté greens in olive oil with garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes for a side dish.
- Toss them into a frittata, pasta, or anywhere you’d use wilted spinach or arugula.
- Add to a roast pork or eggplant parm sandwich.