Roasted Beets, Two Ways
There are so many ways to cook beets: steam, boil, roast, microwave. What is really the best way? After trying quite a few methods over the years, I have settled upon two that produce perfectly cooked beets.
In my opinion, roasting brings out the robust flavor of beets, allowing for a certain creaminess while maintaing just the right level of al dente. I choose between the two methods below based on how many beets I want to cook and whether or not the sizes are uniform. Both allow for easy prep and quick peeling after cooking. There is little cleanup and the beets may be prepared for immediate use or stored in the refrigerator for use in your favorite side dishes and salads later on.
To keep the red of the beets from staining your cutting board, chop on a dinner plate. While the first recipe offers a simple prep tip for eating right away, I have several salad recipes that I will share in the weeks ahead. When making a simple salad featuring these beautiful root veggies, use your favorite greens and mix with feta or blue cheese and walnuts, pecans, and/or pumpkin seeds. I have a much-loved dressing I look forward to sharing, but your favorite balsamic vinaigrette or my standby basic balsamic work beautifully!
This recipe may easily be doubled to cook two pounds of beets. SImply add one cup of water to a 9×13-inch baking dish and proceed as directed. Use the beets immediately or reserve for use in your favorite salads and side dishes.
- 1 pound beets
- 1/2 cup water
- Options if serving immediately: olive, walnut, or avocado oil; kosher salt and freshly ground pepper; fresh chives, parsley, or dill: grated orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Wash and trim the beets, saving the greens for a salad or sauté, if desired. I leave the rootlets and a small bit of the stem end.
- Place beets in an 8×8-inch or similar size baking dish, add 1/2 cup of water, and cover tightly with foil.
- Bake until the beets can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, about 45 minutes for small beets, 1 hour for medium beets, or 1 hour and 15 minutes for large beets.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can easily handle them. Slip off the skins and discard. Serve whole or cut into slices, wedges, or cubes for use in other recipes.
- If serving immediately, toss peeled beets with a tablespoon or so of your oil of choice and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and any herbs of choice.
This is my go-to method of cooking when I have just a couple of beets to roast or when I have purchased several bunches at the farmer’s market and the sizes are quite varied. With this technique, one packet of beets may be removed even if a second requires additional cooking time. Cleanup is extremely easy, too!
- Beets, any amount
- Olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Wash and trim the beets, saving the greens for a salad or sauté, if desired. I leave the rootlets and a small bit of the stem end and do not dry the beets after washing.
- Wrap the beets in aluminum foil, keeping a little moisture from washing the beets and drizzling with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil before sealing. If beets are not consistent in size, group and place in individual foil packets with other similar size beets. I wrap three to four medium size beets together, more if the beets are small, and two if the beets are large. This way, the beets will cook in about the same time, but if there is a vast difference in size, the beets can easily be removed from the oven as they are done.
- Place the packet(s) on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven until cooked through, approximately 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size. The tip of a knife or a skewer should easily pierce the beet, yet you should feel a hint of firmness towards the center.
- Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then peel and slice, dice, or cut into wedges.