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Apr 6, 2009 06:25 PM

Help! I am trying to like beets but struggling. Healthy ideas?

I have never been a big fan of beets but as I am undergoing medical treatment at the moment, I have been told that one of the best food I can eat to help the process is this very colourful root. I made some rostis which were ok but now I'm racking my brain for healthy beet-based dishes where the distinctive taste of them is not too prominent.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions you might have!


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  1. Roast beets are the way to go. Couldn't be easier and brings out their sweetness:
    Preheat the oven to 375F,
    Trim off the greens if there are any,
    Scrub them as you would a baking potato,
    Place them (whole) in a small roasting pan - 8"sq. - 9"sq., etc... whatever you need to fit,
    Add a couple tablespoons water,
    Seal pan tightly with aluminum foil,
    Roast for about 1 hour or till a paring knife easily pierces through.

    When cool enough to handle, take 2 paper towels and rub the skin off,
    Slice and serve drizzled with EVOO & seasoned with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Most times I don't even do that... just slice and serve plain...they're that sweet!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      I would absolutely agree that roasting is the way to go, but I think that the method above steams rather than roasts. Roasting is a dry heat method and intensifies and caramelizes the sugars in the vegetable. Steaming is a valid way to cook beets but if you're looking for something a little more palatable to a not-so-big beet fan, go with uncovered, dry roasting. In fact, there are some roasting methods that have beets covered in salt or at least roasted on a bed of salt. Dry salt, hot oven... can't get any drier than that.

      To make things simple, I like to peel and quarter beets BEFORE roasting. Sounds a little unorthodox but it eliminates any post-cooking preparation and it lends itself nicely to roasting with other veggies. I often do a sweet potato, turnip, beet vegetable roast. Trim up, peel down, and quarter or slice all the vegetables appropriately. Toss in olive oil, salt/pepper and in the oven they go. Roast until they're done. Take some fresh thyme or rosemary or any fresh green herb and toss with the finished vegetables.

      1. re: Gio

        Easier yet, I just rinse any dirt off the skin comes off anyways, just wrap in a piece of foil. I drizzle with a little oil, s/p and bake. No pans no clean up 1 hr at 350-375. Check after 45 min. Like a potato, fork tender. Remove cool and the skins will peel right off. Now what to do?

        Salads; olive oil, s/p; warm or cold; a orange vinaigrette; or roast with other vegetables with is great; I have tons of recipes.

        chilled with dill, warm with bacon onions and vinegar. I even make a beat pasta. A salad with blue cheese, arugula or spinach is great with fennel.

        I have a roasted mushroom and beet salad with cabbage which is great.

        They are also wonderful roasted and chopped in a sauce of white wine and rosemary over pork loins or chops. I have also chopped them with apple and pears and stuffed in chicken breasts or pork chops which is quite good.

        Beet soup is very good.

        Chilled beets with a honey vinaigrette is great topped with a gorgonzola and marscapone blend, chopped walnuts on a mixed green salad.

        So many options. I have hundreds of recipes. What do you like?

        1. re: kchurchill5

          Would you please share your mushroom, beet and cabbage salad recipe please?

          1. re: PumpkinHead

            It is take off from a Chinese salad I had but also from something I enjoyed over lettuce once ... So I combined both and really enjoy it. It combines crisp cabbage, with my favorite mushrooms and beets all lightly roasted and a little tang with a light Asian dressing.

            About 3 cups napa cabbage (I prefer napa)
            10 medium size crimini mushrooms roasted
            NOTE: you can use rehydrated shitakis as well as then thin sliced or julienne but not roasted but tossed in the marinade as well.
            3 medium size beets roasted
            1 small fennel bulb roasted (If you don't like fennel) and onion would be ok
            5 scallions chopped

            In the oven roast the beets, cabbage, mushrooms and fennel. All the veggies get this mixture ... 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons soy, 1 teaspoon ginger, salt and pepper. Beets I wrap in foil since they will take 45 minutes at 400. I usually cut the fennel and mushrooms in half, and the cabbage in large wedges and then toss but keep the beets whole in foil. I put all the veggies even the beets in foil on the cookie sheet. Obviously the beets can stay in longer the mushrooms, cabbage and fennel only take15-20 min. Sometimes I take out the cabbage first, then the mushrooms and fennel You want them roasted but still firm. After roasting the skin will peel right off the beets and then you can dice or julienne, depending how you want to present it.

            In a large bowl add the cabbage, the roasted mushrooms julienne sliced, fennel also thin sliced, scallions and beets. Then add the dressing and toss.
            Dressing: 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/8 cup sesame oil, 1/8 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon additional soy sauce (optional)

            It is light and crisp, but a hearty flavor being roasted

      2. Roasted, yep...really great...truly: any roasted or grilled veggie is really great, I'm finding out. Would your medical treatment rule out pickled beets? I've seen some recipes for pickled beets that call for low amounts of salt -- personally, I would just leave the salt out completely since the pickling liquid involves vinegar..well, and sugar. So, the sugar may not be good for your medical treatment either, I don't know. Aunt Nellie's makes a jarred pickled beet that is low in sodium if store-bought is acceptable. Fresh would be best though, I'm sure. Just throwing out an idea here--not everyone likes vinegar-y flavors.

        1. If I remember correctly, the NYTimes had a recipe last week for beets with a garlic-walnut sauce that was delish.

          22 Replies
          1. re: Joebob

            Made that recipe - very good but then I like beets. Also good (and visual) is avocado butter on roasted beets. Another great way to eat beets is shredded like slaw and dressed with a vinaigrette (I like to add pickled onion).

            1. re: alwayscooking

              shredded is great, forgot all about that. Again I love beets

              1. re: alwayscooking

                Shredded, with a little sour cream. Great salad

                1. re: purple goddess

                  Or shredded with fage yogurt! Umm

                  Other vegetables that blends with and neutralizes some of the earthiness of the beets are carrots and potatoes - either as a part of the slaw or roasted/boiled and then mashed together.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    I second the shredded beet salad idea, but mine uses RAW beets. I don't know if the recipes above are cooked or raw. It's shredded beets with some kind of cheese (Manchego?) and lemon. I'll be glad to post the recipe if anybody's interested.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      I'd love the recipe as I only really like beets when they are raw.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        I would like that recipe too -- thanks :)

                        1. re: oakjoan

                          I have a couple, raw shredded and cooked shredded, both. Completely different and still both are great!

                        2. re: alwayscooking

                          shredded beet salad with shredded pears....fresh mint...yum!

                        3. re: purple goddess

                          I done sliced with sour cream and dill, but not shredded. Next time. I make them a lot. Love them

                          1. re: purple goddess

                            add chopped prunes for extra yumminess

                          2. re: alwayscooking

                            The sauce would go great on a whole buncha things, e.g. fried fish.

                            1. re: alwayscooking

                              Bought some beautiful golden beets at our Growers Market yesterday. Roasting sounds great. What exactly is avocado butter? Unlike OP, I'm not looking primarily for healthy :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Avocado, half again the amount of butter (or more), a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and salt to taste (I use unsalted butter). Optionally add cilantro and/or chili powder (mixed, chapotle, paprika, etc). Smother on french bread or vegetables. It's very pretty with beets - I'd omit the chilies.

                                1. re: alwayscooking

                                  I make a sauce with sour cream avacado, 1/2 and 1/2 with cilantro, lime, cumin and a little chili powder. Great on fingerling potatoes or even just baked potatoes, also great on coleslaw, but never tried beets. Sounds interesting.

                                  I use it in a tomato salad with thin sliced onions, cucumbers and tomatoes, just a light coating which makes a great almost Mexican flare, but a nice salad.

                                2. re: c oliver

                                  A followup. I did a "hybridization" of several recs. I peeled the uncooked beets and cut into approx. 1/2" cubes, put in a foil pack with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and cooked at 375 (bumped the heat up at the end as I was also doing Vidalia onions in a second pack and figured I need to). Made avocado butter (omg, is that ever good?). The beets came straight from foil pack into a bowl and then the butter. As someone wrote, they really did taste like very good, sweet, summer corn. I gotta go with Karl S re peeling first. Not having to handle hot beets, much less all the color mess, was such a great idea. Have a few more and will be heading out for more. This is a REAL keeper. Thanks. all.

                              2. re: Joebob

                                And they had a recipe a few weeks ago (Mark Bittman?) for Mexican marinaded beets which I made and loved as much as the usual roasted version. Very very easy and full of flavor.

                                1. re: coll

                                  Here is that Mexican marinated version: (this link has me on a beet sprrrrreeee!)


                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                    Thanks for finding the recipe , I couldn't for the life of me. Luckily I wrote it down as soon as I tasted it and it will be made again shortly, as I just got a bag of blood oranges. But I just used Tropicana the first time and it was great!

                                2. re: Joebob

                                  Here is that recipe for bees with garlic-walnut sauce. I think I will add feta. I usually do the foil-roasted beets and serve with lemon juice, gorgonzola, and tamari-toasted walnuts. So this will be slightly different. :)


                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                    ha, I mean a recipe for beets, not bees. Buzzz!

                                    1. re: foxy fairy

                                      Reporting back on the New York Times recipe with garlic-walnut sauce:


                                      I just reread the thread and so many beet dishes include walnuts. This is different because the walnuts are ground into the dressing!

                                      (in case you can't open the link, as it was a little tricky) -- For this recipe, just roast four beets in foil as described here. Then heat six cloves garlic in olive oil, until they begin to soften. Then add some chopped walnuts (I had about 1/3 cup, recipe calls for more) and cook a few more minutes. Squeeze juice of one orange. In a mini-processor blend the walnut, garlic, and oil into a paste, and then blend in the juice. Add salt and pepper. Cool the beets, unwrap, and chop. Combine with dressing.

                                      The texture here is fantastic, and the flavor is also very very good! I will make this again. I didn't have feta around but I think it would give it that little kick to make it fantastic!


                                  2. Beetroot chips - grease/oil a baking tray and slice beets thinly, then bake them till they're as crispy as you want them to be (don't burn them!)

                                    1. Paula, Like me, it sounds like you're not too crazy about how beets taste and you're looking for recipes that somewhat disguise their "unique" (kinda sweet, yet vaguely dirty, musty, parsnippy...) flavor. Roasting intensifies their "uniqueness". I do NOT recommend beet soup unless you really are a glutton for punishment! How bout' a little grated in with some potatoes for a very colorful latke? If they're fried, how bad can they be? I'm interested to hear more suggestions as beets are way-y-y down on my list of favorite veggies. Even below eggplant and olives (!) , but above okra. adam

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: adamshoe

                                        My beet soup FYI, is very flavorful and NOT just beets. A very mild and sweet flavor. Not the normal chilled red cold beet soup. There are many variations which are very herbed and mild

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          kchurchill5 -- could you post the recipe for your beet soup? Sounds intriguing. thanks!

                                          *foxy fairy*

                                          1. re: foxy fairy

                                            This first one if my favorite, all the vegetables make it very comforting and beet gives it a little tang.

                                            The second one has tons of ingredients that make it hot, sweet and spicy. I got this from a friend who made it for me a couple of years ago and I loved it.

                                            Soup #1
                                            1 large sweet potato (peeled) and 2 medium white potatoes (peeled) chopped, 2 onions and carrots chopped, 1 parsnip chopped, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 can chick peas drained not rinsed, 2 medium zucchinis chopped, 1 jar or can of pickled beets (15 oz) chopped, 2 cans of about 30 oz of vegetable broth but you can use chicken too, 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley and dill, chopped, salt and pepper, olive oil

                                            Saute carrots, onions and garlic about 5 minutes, then add potatoes and broth and cook until soft. Add the zucchini, chick peas, seasoning and cook a few more minutes. Add the pickled beets before serving. The carrots and sweet potato give it that sweet flavor and the beets a little tang.

                                            Soup #2
                                            2 cups of roasted beets chopped very fine (in a food processor but not a total puree), 2 cups onions chopped, 1 medium carrot shredded, 1-2 jalapenos seeded and diced (depending on heat), 2 teaspoons fresh ginger minced, 1/4 cup un-cooked rice, 6 cups vegetable broth, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoons fresh parsley / dill, / corriander seeds ground, 1 tablespoon cumin and honey, 1/2 teaspoon tumeric and ground red pepper or ground thai chilies, salt, olive oil. Greek yogurt for a garnish

                                            Saute onions and carrot in olive oil until soft then add the jalapeno, ginger, all the seasonings (except for the honey), and rice. Slightly saute and then add the broth and cook until the rice in done. Puree with the immersion blender until smooth. Add the coconut milk, beets, honey and heat until warm. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt. Adjust your spices according to your heat tolerance.