Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. Healthy – a good source of fiber, Vitamin C and other beneficial nutrients, low in fat and low calorie – and sweet, they’re delicious hot or cold. Great just after cooking as a hot side dish with a few herbs, they’re also nice chopped into or on top of salads, or puréed into soup.That’s the good news.
But the other news is that (red) beets stain everything they touch. Unless you want to use beet juice for dye or need to make your hand look gruesome for Halloween, you might shy away from making them.
Don’t let the prospect of beet juice stop you – here’s how to cook beets with a minimum of fuss. The method is simple: peel and halve each beet, sprinkle the halves with juice or another liquid and whatever herbs and seasonings you wish, then put them back together and bake them in a tightly closed piece of aluminum foil at a high temperature. When they come out of the oven, you can discard the foil and your beets are ready to eat.
Tips on storing, preparing, and eating beets:
- Beets last for weeks in the refrigerator if you store them (without their greens) in a closed container of water. I learned that trick from Anthony at the farmers market near my house. I stored the beets for this recipe for almost 3 weeks that way.
- Beet greens are delicious and healthy, but not the subject of this post. If your beets came with long greens attached, cut them off and use them more quickly – they don’t last as long as the root.
- I use an easy-to-clean cutting board, but you can use wax paper or paper towel underneath the beets as you cut them to minimize the mess even further.
- I don’t know how to say this politely, but don’t fret when you pee several hours after eating beets. They temporarily turn your hand red if you touch them and their temporary effect on your pee after eating beets is the same.
- You can cook them in the toaster oven, just like my stuffed portabella mushrooms.
I love cubed beets on top of salad, with feta or goat cheese and chopped walnuts.
How to Cook Beets the Easy Way (with Oranges)
Servings – 2 Cost – $3
- 2-3 beets (depending on size), with ends cut off, peeled and halved
- 1 navel orange, sliced
- Olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Cutting board
- Large knife
- Vegetable peeler
- Aluminum foil
- Small pan or cookie sheet
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut off the ends and peel the beets. Carefully halve them using a large knife (rather than a small one) so you can cut all the way through without getting stuck.
- Cut the orange into ¼ – ½ inch slices.
- Using one of the orange end slices, sprinkle a few drops of juice onto each beet half. Follow with a few drops of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Re-assemble each beet with an orange slice in-between. Place the beet on a piece of foil and tightly close it. Place all the packets of beets on a small cookie sheet and cook for 30 minutes.
- Open the packets very carefully to avoid burning yourself with the steam that has built up inside. If you’re interested in minimizing mess, pick up the beet halves with a fork. Eat them whole or cube the halves to use in salads or with grains such as barely or farro. Save the juice to use in vinaigrette salad dressing.
Now, wasn’t that easy?