I have always enjoyed beets. But for some reason, I have totally gotten into them lately. Maybe its just that they are in season, inexpensive, and just so darn delicious! They are amazing grilled. Roasted in the oven makes them sweeter! They can even simply be boiled, cooled, peeled, sliced, and chilled. They can then be enjoyed in a salad.
First, let’s chat about the nutritional value of a beet. Beets are a root vegetable like a carrot. They are in season right now. They contain significant amounts of folate and vitamin C. Beets are also rich in niacin, vitamin B6, iron, potassium and magnesium. In other words, beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals. And bonus! The red color is a fabulous antioxidant! (Gentle reminder…antioxidants are great for cell rejuvenation, which can help our organs function better and keep wrinkles at bay!).
Now, onto getting the beets from the garden or market to the table. If you grab beets in the grocery store, look for firm round beets with nice green stems and leaves. When you get ready to cook them, wash them up and cut off the greens. Do not throw those greens away though! Chop them up and toss them into a salad. If a salad is not on the menu that day, wrap the greens in a damp paper towel and put them in the fridge. They will make the most flavorful addition to your next salad! Promise!
OK. Back to cooking the beets. The beets can be peeled, cut into quarters, and spread out onto a baking sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on then, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss into a 400 degree oven until tender, about 35-45 minute, depending on the size of the beet. Check doneness with a fork.
Beets are also fantastic on the grill. Simply grill them on a little pan or some foil. Again, just wash, peel, and quarter them, add a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss them on. Close the grill lid and let the grill do its job. I have also tossed beets onto the grill in a pouch made from tin foil. I literally made a loose pouch around the beets out of tin foil and placed on the grill.
I have served beets right off the grill. I have also added a little crumbled goat cheese and walnuts over the top of warm beets. I have taken leftover beets and added them to a cold lettuce salad. Some mandarin oranges are also a great addition to a salad of greens and beets. Sweet surprise…I have gotten fresh ravioli stuffed with beets at the farmers market. 3 minutes in boiling water, a little parmesan cheese or a simple white sauce over the top, and call it a big huge yum!
Any way you cook them, beets are packed with flavor, nutrition, and antioxidants. As you can see below, I have grilled them with summer squash. The colors together are fantastic and make a beautiful presentation. Get creative or go easy and simple. Any way you decide to prepare beets, it will be a winning dish.