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Please help with recipes for fresh beets

sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 02:00 PM

I have never cooked with fresh beets before and am looking for some good recipes. Any ideas other than just adding them to a salad? Thanks in advance.

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  1. m
    MakingSense RE: sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 02:21 PM

    I love them absolutely plain. Just baked or boiled. Then diced with some sweet onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Warm, room temperature or cold.

    The greens make a wonderful frittata. Sauté a bit of onion in some bacon drippings (I'm Southern) then sauté the chopped greens until well wilted, add the beaten eggs, cook until set, flip to cook the other side. Great lunch after the farmers' market.

    1. JoanN RE: sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 02:51 PM

      I, too, adore beets. Here's a link to a terrific recipe. It's Jamie Oliver's Seared Carpaccio of Beef with Roasted Baby Beets, Creamed Horseradish, Watercress and Parmesan. I make it with steak, even leftovers, and whatever greens are available. It's very forgiving and very, very good.


      1. fayehess RE: sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 02:57 PM

        You made me think of a warm beet salad that I used to do with roasted beets (just peel, cut into small cubes, toss with olive oil and salt and roast at 350 until tender), roasted potatoes, (same tech, different sheet pan), roasted string beans (just the stem end taken off), roasted onions in slices, all tossed together and served with your favorite blue cheese or a gorgonzola and some toasted walnuts. fayefood.com

        1. c
          classylady RE: sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 03:48 PM

          Beets with orange sauce and also harvard beets. Summer soup of cold borscht with sour cream, or beets just cooked and eaten plain.

          1. kramos RE: sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 04:03 PM

            There are some great recipes on CHOW for beet crisps: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10850 and two awesome sandwiches, one with smoked salmon and dill yogurt: http://www.chow.com/recipes/10910 and a grilled cheese sandwich with goat cheese: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11101

            1. Megiac RE: sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 04:08 PM

              I love them baked. I cut off all but an inch of the stems, poke them with a fork once or twice, wrap them in foil, and put them in a 350 degree over for about an hour. After that the peels come right off. If I want them warm, I quarter them and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or I throw them in the fridge and cut them up later for salads and the like.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Megiac
                Bat Guano RE: Megiac Dec 4, 2007 06:15 AM

                This is what I do too, except I don't poke them - try not to break the skin at all, or some of the juice leaks out during cooking.

              2. v
                violabratsche RE: sunshineinaz Dec 3, 2007 05:57 PM

                I agree completely with MakingSense, about the beet greens. People here, at the farmers markets, have the greens removed! So, I go around to the booths at the end of the day, if I'm in the area, and ask if what they do with their beet greens. I usually some home with a shopping bag full of them, for free. I shred them and put them in soup, and I've even braised the stems. It's ALL good.

                Now, maybe someone can answer me an historical question about beets. A retired friend was telling me that his mother would say "Beets are Cheats", meaning that they were void of any nutritional value. Does anyone know where this myth would have come from?


                7 Replies
                1. re: violabratsche
                  Gio RE: violabratsche Dec 4, 2007 04:53 AM

                  Beets have tremendous nutritional value. But don't take my word for it. Here's a link to the nutrition value breakdown from the site: World's Healthiest Foods....

                  1. re: Gio
                    JoanN RE: Gio Dec 4, 2007 05:18 AM

                    But they're also very high in sugar (highest of all vegetables), sodium, and carbs and a no-no on nearly all weight-loss and lo-carb diets.


                    1. re: JoanN
                      MakingSense RE: JoanN Dec 4, 2007 08:05 AM

                      Beets do have high sugar content. That bag of bargain sugar at your supermarket is beet sugar - if it's not labeled "cane sugar," that's what it is.
                      But beets have less than carrots and parsnips, and they add variety to the winter table. It's not as though you eat 1/2 pound of them, so a moderate serving shouldn't make them a forbidden food.
                      Just hold the sweet dressings and cut back on the olive oil. All they really need is a squeeze of lemon juice, onion, salt and pepper for a low-calorie salad.

                      1. re: MakingSense
                        JoanN RE: MakingSense Dec 4, 2007 08:43 AM

                        According to The Complete Book of Food Counts you're right about the parsnips, but not the carrots. The carb grams per 1/2 cup of each raw is: beets, 6.8; carrots, 5.6; parsnips, 12.1. Is my info out of date? or just plain wrong?

                        1. re: JoanN
                          MakingSense RE: JoanN Dec 4, 2007 11:46 AM

                          Looked at a couple of books. Carb counts were all different depending on how they were cut - diced, sliced, raw, whatever - but were so close it doesn't matter much. Better to get your carbs from high fiber vegetables than bread, pasta, cookies, even white potatoes. Lord, even an extra 6 grams of carbs from some parsnips? I'm going to eat my veggies, thank you!
                          I'm not sure if this matters to diabetics. Maybe they have to count small amounts like this.

                        2. re: MakingSense
                          Gio RE: MakingSense Dec 4, 2007 08:54 AM

                          Quite honestly, when I roast beets fresh from the farm, I don't have to season them at all - with anything. I just slice and serve. They are naturally sweet. But, I believe they are considered one of the important vegetables one ought have in the diet. Isn't there something about the deepest colored vegetable and fruit being the healthiest? Of course, we probably only have them about once a month.

                          The following is from the Mother Nature dot com site: http://tinyurl.com/2flfyv

                          Nutritional Highlights (Beets
                          Beets (root, raw), 1 cup (135g
                          )Calories: 58
                          Protein: 2.2g
                          Carbohydrate: 13g
                          Total Fat: 0.23g
                          Fiber: 3.8g
                          *Excellent source of: Folate (148mcg)
                          *Good source of: Potassium (442mg), and Vitamin C (6.6mg)

                          There is a looong list of beet benefits.

                          1. re: Gio
                            MakingSense RE: Gio Dec 4, 2007 11:49 AM

                            I like the lemon, salt and pepper because it really highlights the sweetness. But then, like a good Southern girl, I squeeze lime on my papaya, put salt on my watermelon, pepper on my cantaloupe, etc. Makes the sweet even sweeter.
                            You're right about deep colored fruits and vegetables. Supposedly, the darker the color, the more vitamins. Suits me fine!

                  2. l
                    Lisbet RE: sunshineinaz Dec 4, 2007 04:38 AM


                    Harvard Beets

                    2 pounds medium beets, tops removed
                    1/3 cup sugar
                    2 Tbl cornstarch
                    1 tsp salt
                    1/4 tsp black pepper
                    1 cup cider vinegar
                    1/4 cup water
                    3 Tbl butter

                    Boil beets in skins in covered, large heavy saucepan of lightly salted boiling water 40 to 50 minutes until tender. Drain, quick chill in ice water, then peel and trim off stem and root ends. Slice beets thin and put aside.
                    Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in pan and slowly blend in vinegar. Add water and butter and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 5 minutes until mixture thickens and becomes translucent.
                    Return beets to pan and turn gently in sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer beets 10 minutes. Either serve immediately or chill in refrigerator overnight.

                    Personal Note: This is a delicious side dish. Is always an accompaniment for a holiday meal in our house. Good cold, too.

                    1. p
                      polish_girl RE: sunshineinaz Dec 4, 2007 10:01 AM

                      Beets are quite big in Poland, but there is one very old and traditional recipe that I frequently serve in the US. It's also a traditional condiment served at Easter with various cold meats.
                      Bake a few beetes in their skins, until fork tender (you can boil them too, but when baked they are sweeter), let them cool, take off their skins and grate them fine (I suggest using kitchen gloves-otherwise hands stay red for a few days!). Put grated beets in a large bowl, add 1-2 tablespoons of prepared horseradish (or grate your own fresh), a teaspoon of caraway seeds (you should soak them in hot water for a few minutes), add a bit of salt, 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, as well as a little bit of lemon juice or good vinegar. They should taste sweet and sour and a bit spicy. Mix everything well and put in the fridge for a few hours. It will keep for at least a week. It truly is wonderful!

                      1. o
                        osmom RE: sunshineinaz Dec 4, 2007 11:29 AM

                        We get a lot of beets with their greens in our CSA share. No one in my family will eat them in soups or salads except me, so I've had to get creative. This is something everyone seems to love:

                        Cook 1 lb of beetroot in their skins. (I use a pressure cooker). When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and place the beets in a food processor with two cups of unsweetened apple sauce. Process until smooth. Add water until the mixture is pourable.

                        Pour the pureed beets onto dehydrator trays and smooth out with a spatula. Dehydrate for 8 to 12 hours; the leather should be pliable, but not wet/sticky or crispy. Cut into strips and enjoy.

                        The fruit leather never lasts longer than a day around here. I call it "Ruby Red Leather" -- so far, no one has asked what makes it ruby red.

                        1. t
                          The Perrer Assassin RE: sunshineinaz Dec 4, 2007 11:43 AM

                          I've always liked Mark Bittman's Beet Roesti recipe:

                          "Showcasing the sweetness of beets is an attractive alternative, wonderfully exploited in this roesti, a dish, created about ten years ago by Michael Romano, the longstanding chef at Manhattan's Union Square Café. It's a thick beet pancake, cooked slowly on both sides until the beet sugars caramelize and a crunchy, sweet crust forms that, I swear, is reminiscent of crème brûlée. A touch of rosemary added to the mix does not diminish this sweetness at all, but simply adds another dimension."


                          3 Replies
                          1. re: The Perrer Assassin
                            fayehess RE: The Perrer Assassin Dec 4, 2007 12:20 PM

                            I can't wait to try a Beet Roesti!! Thanks for the tip. If anyone is on a diet, I wouldn't worry about eating fresh beets (especially if you eat the greens as well)--Americas didn't gain their extra 20 pounds a person in the last twenty years on beets. fayefood.com

                            1. re: fayehess
                              MMRuth RE: fayehess Dec 4, 2007 12:24 PM

                              I love that idea too ....

                            2. re: The Perrer Assassin
                              Chris VR RE: The Perrer Assassin Dec 4, 2007 12:41 PM

                              I agree, I'm a big fan of this recipe.

                              Friends I served it to recently liked it as well but suggested that a bit of balsamic vinegar might add an interesting depth to it. I'm planning to try that next time I make it.

                            3. s
                              sunshineinaz RE: sunshineinaz Dec 10, 2007 06:44 AM

                              Thanks everyone for all your great recommendations!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sunshineinaz
                                galka RE: sunshineinaz Dec 11, 2007 08:00 AM

                                one more: a very traditional russian version of a potato salad called vinegret: boil together till soft and then cool three or four of each: beets, carrots, potatoes. Dice all and then add: flash boiled frozen peas and dill pickles. Onions and parsley are optional.
                                You can dress with olive oil or mayo.

                              2. r
                                RGC1982 RE: sunshineinaz Dec 11, 2007 08:30 AM

                                I had some at one of Mario Batali's restaurants a few months ago. They were served with walnuts and some kind of cheese -- I think goat cheese. Just amazing.

                                1. c
                                  chemchef RE: sunshineinaz Aug 19, 2008 12:53 PM

                                  Here's one nobody mentioned, and its made me a die-hard beet-convert!
                                  Ginger Beet Salad:
                                  Steam beets. When cool enough to handle, slide off skins. Dice and place in a bowl with a splash of soy sauce, rice vinegar, salt and pepper and grated garlic and ginger. I never measure and this salad (which I tried at the farmer's market last summer for the first time) always turns out delicious. I'm sure that you could add other things (diced green onions come to mind), but I like it as is.

                                  1. j
                                    Joebob RE: sunshineinaz Aug 19, 2008 05:54 PM

                                    The NYTimes just had some beet recipes that still can be found in the Health section e.g., beet and beet green rissotto.

                                    1. t
                                      torty RE: sunshineinaz Aug 19, 2008 06:47 PM

                                      I scrub them, snip off the long tails and toss directly on the grill with the heat off to the side so they are essentially roasting. Leave until easily pierced. As others have said this is one vegetable with so much earthy flavor I eat them with no seasoning, not even salt, just warm after peeling. The extras, if any, get made into a quick pickle. Current recipe is warm up a bit of balsamic and white vinegar in a jar (nuke- I know...), stir in some orange marmalade and some salt, few peppercorns, toss in sliced or chunked peeled beets alternated in layers with onion slices pulled apart. Cover and shake gently. Leave a few days before tasting. OH- as for peeling- I like to don some food safe disposable gloves to eliminate the need to scrub the fuschia coloring off. Also lets me handle them pretty warm.

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