Here in California beets are plentiful this time of year. The most common variety is red beets, but other kinds include yellow, orange or golden, and Chiogga beets, which have a pink and white striped flesh. Beets are an excellent source of folate, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. Beets are also low in calories and are fat-free. One cup of beets has about 58 calories, 0.2 grams of fat and 3.8 grams of dietary fiber.
Beet greens are nutritious and tasty to eat, too. They are rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium, and a good source of calcium, iron and copper. But they do have 13g of carbs, so baking them brings out a tremendous amount of flavor. Beets are typically prepared with sweet and sour flavors. In this recipe, roasting brings out the sweetness and a balsamic glaze adds the piquant notes.
When selecting beets, look for firm, round beets with a slender tap root and a smooth surface. If the beet greens are attached, be sure they aren’t wilted. Beets with a hard skin, or flabby feel to them, are a bit old and should be passed on.
You can store beets in the fridge for a couple weeks, however the beet greens (which are also very nutritious and tasty) should cooked as soon as possible because they will only keep for a couple of days.
To prepare beets, scrub gently and rinse well. Leave at least one inch of stem. Do not trim off the bottom root. To preserve color and nutrients, do not cut or peel before cooking them in liquid. Once beets are cooked, they can be easily peeled. Best way to peel the skin is after they’ve been baked. Wrap them in foil and place in the oven for an hour. After they cool you can remove the skin easily.
Below is a recipe that helps to add some zest to your beets by roasting them. You can cook them a number of ways, but roasting does bring out the flavor. Adding other veggies, like onion or carrots adds color and flavor.
- 4 beets, peeled and cut into cubes
- 3 small red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 1½ teaspoons rosemary
- 1 pinch sea salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Combine beets, onions, olive oil, and seasoning in a bowl until beets are coated, and arrange on baking sheet so that they don't touch.
- Sprinkle beets with salt and pepper.
- Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until onions are tender.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar over vegetables.
- Roast 5 minutes longer or until vinegar is the consistency of syrup.
- Gently toss vegetables before serving