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Mar 11, 2012 05:58 AM

Help make my family love beets!

My kids are wonderfully diverse eaters at 6 and 4 years old. However, I find myself only cooking the same produce over and over because my husband only likes: brocolli, corn, winter squash, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, peas, icbeurg and romaine lettuce, I include a vegetable side dish with every meal but when he's home, I tend not to branch out. I cook veggies as basic as possible, meaning I don't believe in adding "cream" or "cheese" to entice the kids to eat. I've been luring him to try new things for the sake of the kids and one thing I think he would love that I have NEVER brought into the house is beets. He was traumatized as a child by repeated meals with canned beets that he HAD to finish before bed. I was explaing to him that beets, when prepared correctly, taste nothing like those from a can. I love them but have forgotten about them because of his strong resentment. I am confident I can win him back to team beet, but I have ONE shot....I need help from Chowhounders!! Hit me with your best beet can contain NO onions though, THANK YOU!

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  1. That's quite a challenge, kmlmgm. One tip that I'd give you is to try roasting your vegetables. My family is older than yours, although we have grandchildren aged 7, 4 and 1. A few years ago, we discovered that vegetables other than potatoes, onions and carrots (our moms had roasted these with roast beef on Sundays) could be roasted with amazingly tasty results. Now, in a separate roasting or sheet pan, we regularly roast any combination of potatoes, onions, carrots, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, celery, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, turnip or rutabaga, asparagus, green beans, zucchini, etc.
    Often we'll roast one vegetable solo, such as asparagus or cauliflower. My daughter found a great recipe for roasting cauliflower dusted with coriander, cumin, salt and pepper, which is a wonderful appetizer/snack.
    Mostly, we toss the veggies in olive oil and then season them after arranging them on a sheet pan. They can be seasoned simply with salt and pepper or start experimenting with your favourite herbs and spices. Cutting up a couple of garlic cloves into small pieces is a tasty enhancement, too, especially when you bite into one of these little nuggets.
    Our most common roasting veggie is potatoes, which we cut in wedges (along with a couple of sliced onions) and dust with salt, pepper and paprika. Turn them over once or twice and cook until they look good.
    If you try beets in this style, it's probably better to roast them in a separate pan, unless you want everything to take on a purple tone...we've done that and it's kind of weird, but doesn't really affect the taste. I think it's best to peel the beets first, so that when they are finished roasting, you don't have to remove the nicely caramelized outer part. I usually keep small beets whole, but you would want to cut larger ones before cooking.
    Anyway, good luck with your project. I'm sure there are lots of great recipes out there, but this is a really simple way to treat lots of veggies.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Yongeman

      Roasting beets is a marvelous way to cook them! Peel them while raw, cut them up into cubes (I like them small, about 1/2"), toss them with olive oil, salt & pepper, then roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. They caramelize beautifully. A touch of acidity provides a great balance to the sweetness -- a nice vinaigrette, a chopped up orange, some lemon juice, etc.

      I particularly like roasted beets with a garlic-anise seed vinaigrette that I got from one of Deborah Madison's books, though that might be too much for the kids. Grind 1/2 tsp of anise seeds in a mortar, add a garlic clove and some salt. Grind together, then add sherry vinegar, and whisk in olive oil. Strong flavors, but divine.

      1. re: Yongeman

        Yep. Roast them. I've converted many "beet-haters" with a roasted beet.

      2. To convert a beet hater I'd use this salad recipe. Per boil the beet whole, unpeeled. Chill, peel and cube into bite size pieces. Add some freshly squeezed orange juice and some orange zest. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. Before serving add thinly sliced shallots and pinch of white pepper powder.

        1 Reply
        1. re: raisa

          Very similar - I cut raw beets into bite-size pieces (really, a wide range of sizes) and drop the pieces into a boiling mixture of half white vinegar and half water, plus a good shot of sugar and a pinch of salt. Take off the heat immediately, and serve chilled. These keep for weeks, they are ready almost immediately, they "crunch" real good, and they are seriously yummy pickles.

        2. Oven roasted beets is to die for!

          1. Oven roasted; thickly sliced; dressed with yoghurt and chives.

            Or, grated raw beetroot, dressed with balsamic (or an oil/orange mix)

            1. Simmer diced beetroot in chicken stock for 30 minutes and then use the dice and liquid to make risotto. Beautiful look and taste.

              Another method:


              Onion free risotto and stock may however leave a flavour gap, so provide plenty of grated Parm.