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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let’s talk beets, shall we?

I will admit, there was a time in my life when beets made me, well, gag. And if I’m going to be brutally honest, that time was my entire life! That is until this past September, when I had the beet salad at Cafe Borrone (pictured). The beets were so light flavored, sweet and wonderful. And combined with creamy, heavenly goat cheese? Yum! And then, when I cooked my One-Dish Dinners meal, a similar beet salad was part of the menu I selected. I decided to give beets a chance once again and ended up happily eating them up!

Since I had avoided beets like the plague, I had never prepared them before. I was happy to discover that they are super easy to make. Just cut off the greens, wrap in foil, place on a pan and roast in a 400-degree oven for 40-60 minutes. Once they’re cooked, the skins fall of very easily. Mine had a bit of a heavier flavor than the beets at Cafe Borrone, but they were still good. And Nate was in heaven because, you see, he’s always been a fan of beets. How open-minded of him.

I will say this. If you cut them on a wood cutting board, make sure you use a board that you don’t care gets stained. I purposely chose this old yucky cutting board for the job.

My sister-in-law Cora doesn’t believe me and insists that beets taste like dirt. And, yeah, two months ago I would have joined along in her beet taunting. But no more. I refuse to beat up on beets any longer! You’re on your own, Cora. Okay, who am I kidding? Cora is probably not alone. I think there are actually plenty of people who will join in to declare that beets taste like dirt. πŸ˜‰

For those of you who DO like beets, though, please feel free to share any recipes or tips! I’m ready to do a bit more experimenting with beets!


  1. Love beets! My favorite way is to pair them with goat cheese, as well, only I mix goat cheese and cream cheese, spread it on a halved, toasted baguette, and top that with roasted, diced beets seasoned with salt and pepper. Beet bruschetta!

    There’s a supermarket near me that makes a salad of field greens, beets, asparagus spears, walnuts and feta, with a tarragon vinaigrette. That’s super yummy too.

  2. Jane, I am a new beet convert as well. Roasted like you describe is my go to way to enjoy them. But I have made beet chips, in the oven. They were lovely. You can find them here if you’re interested (

  3. Mmm, I’ve always loved beets. I love them roasted simply as you describe and eaten either warm, or tossed with a simple shallot vinaigrette and chilled in the fridge before being tossed into a salad.

    I also like braising and eating the greens. They are earthy, but I like earthy greens and it’s nice not to waste an edible part of the vegetable:

  4. 5

    Two beet stories….
    1. When my dad was growing up they had one spectacularly bountiful beet harvest in their garden. My ever-thrifty Grandma (started their family during the Depression..) fed my dad and his siblings beets EVERY NIGHT. No amount of complaining from the kids helped. That is, until the day my dad pee-ed PURPLE. He freaked out, showed my Grandma, and that was the end of their beet consumption that year. Fairly traumatic I’d say.
    2. When my mom was stake RS president she planned a beet salad for a huge luncheon. (unspeakable stuff with mayo and other unidentifiable ingredients) Naturally very little was consumed so she brought home a FIVE GALLON bucket of the horrid purple stuff. At the time we were living in one house, trying to sell the old house, and building a new house so money was VERY tight. Yep, you guessed it, mom made us eat that terrible beet salad every day. No purple pee but it was ghastly. So everytime we were sent down to the big fridge to get some beet salad for a meal we would first fill up the bowl and go dump it in the trees, then bring up a bowl full for dinner. My dad fully supported this action. Talk about damaged taste buds.

    About six years ago I had beets for the first time since the early 80s. After my many year hiatus I am back to enjoying beets (in moderation). I like them cooked with a little salt and pepper. My cousin loves them with sour cream, salt, and pepper, like baked potatoes. My kids think they taste like a cross between potatoes and corn, and yes, kind of like dirt, but they like them. I prefer the cylindrical (sp?) beets if you are growing them. If you worry about staining you can buy golden beets. The end.

    • Jane Maynard

      collette, LOVE your comment. laughed my way through!!

      and I’m looking for golden beets next! πŸ™‚

  5. 6

    Your farmor used to prepare a beet/herring salad. It was called Sill Salad. I liked it.

  6. 7

    I grew up loving beets along with many other vegetables, and am thankful that my daughter is growing up the same way. Anytime she receives beets on her plate she’ll gobble those up first before touching anything else.

    I can honestly say though I don’t think I’ve ever had fresh beets, only canned ones. After reading this I think we’ll be giving fresh beets a try this weekend, depending on what we’re able to find at the market.

  7. 8

    So you’re saying there’s still hope for my boyfriend?? I LOVE beets and he won’t go near them. I think I like them best with feta… or simply roasted with a little salt and pepper. We also had a glorious golden beet tart at Foodbuzz Festival this week. Golden beets are awesome because they don’t stain anything… I also think they’re a bit milder making them a good place to start for beet-haters πŸ™‚

  8. We had beets at a friend’s house a couple weeks ago and my husband asked why I never make them at home. I thought I hated them, too, but these were oddly tasty. They were roasted and tossed with a little melted butter and sea salt. I’ll have to give them a go — seems as though they’re all the rage in the veggie world these days.

    And I really enjoyed reading Collette’s comment. Hilarious!

  9. 10

    This is embarrassing, but I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten a beet. Sounds like I should start with the golden beets and work my way up.

  10. 11

    My favorite way to eat beets is roasted with garlic and rosemary.

    Peel raw beets and cut into wedges. Toss with olive oil, thinly sliced garlic cloves and chopped fresh rosemary. Season with s&p. Bake at 400 for 30-45 minutes, until tender. My kids love them this way (hot), but won’t touch a cold beet.

  11. 12

    I absolutely LOVE beets! I don’t usually buy them, but I did tonight on a whim at the store…I usually have them in a spinach salad topped with some goat cheese (kind of like in your picture, actually). mmm! But I’d love to try them in other ways, too.

  12. 13

    I was never a fan until I took an Institute cooking class where we made borscht. It was Fantastic! I don’t know if I like them in anything else, but I do really wish I could find beets here to make borscht. Sooooo good, full of veggies, and great in winter. Mmmm, makes me hungry just thinking about it.

  13. 14

    I tackled beets (and their greens) for the first time ever tonight on a goat cheese and beet pizza. It was awesome. I wasn’t planning to use garlic until I saw Kelly’s comment, above. I am so glad I did! The pungent garlic and onions on the pizza really offset the, um, “dirt” flavor of the beets. I will definitely be cooking with these again!

  14. 15

    I LURVE beets.

    Pickled, roasted, you name it: beets are DELICIOUS.

  15. 16
    Lindsay R

    thanks for this post, jane. i appreciate new beet ideas. i’ve been eating my beets using the following recipe for over a year, and still haven’t tired of it. ada will eat them like candy when they’re roasted like this. (cut into wedges, tossed with balsamic, olive oil, honey, and shallots and roasted). they get so deliciously caramelized. great on arugula salads or sandwiches.

    i never add the cranberries to this salad because i find it redundant with the sweet beets. for the nuts, the lightly candies pecans or walnuts at TJ’s make it really easy. plus, i can’t get my homemade versions to turn out as crispy and light and un-burned as theirs.
    also, i’ll make a meal out of this salad by throwing brown rice into it. i’m seriously hooked on this one.

  16. I love beets in my borscht, I guess that is what makes it borscht!

  17. 18

    I’m a beet fan! Seriously, looove them! Maybe it stems back to my love of the tv show “Doug”….the rock band on that show was called “The Beets”.

    And MAAAAAAAYBE one year, I’ll try that herring and beet salad. But I’m not promising HEW anything. πŸ™‚

  18. 19
    Janna M

    I don’t consider myself a beet fan yet but I did make Whoopie Pies with beets and my kids and I loved them.

    I also ate all the greens in salad that week as well.

  19. 20

    I had the worst craving for beets with my second baby girl and finally roasted them(much better than the canned I’d grown up with). As someone mentioned, they are yuuummy with olive oil vinegarette and some goat cheese and arugula. Very earthy and very rich!

  20. 21

    I’ve discovered I love beetroot. It goes wonderfully with cheese, or butter, or sage, or broad beans, or olive oil, in salad sandwiches, roasted, grated …

    Here are some of my fave beet recipes:
    Borscht. A vege version.

    A really easy marinated beetroot recipe that’s great as a snack (yes, really!) or on sandwiches/burgers

    And finally a pasta dish. This is truly incredible. Everyone I have made this for has been speechless.


  21. I’ve been eating beets my entire life! Sometimes I get creative and use them in a gourmet-ish kind of way, but most of the time I just cut up the beets in round slices, add some salad greens, drizzle on the evoo or vegetable oil, couple of drops of red wine vinegar and I top it off with either goat cheese or feta! It’s fantastic!

  22. 23
    Sarah L

    My favorite way to eat beets is roasted…but on the grill! You just wrap them in foil with a pat of butter and pinch of salt (probably just like you do for the oven) and throw them on a med-low grill until fork tender. YUMM

  23. 24

    All of the above are fabulous — they’re also great quickly pickled with coriander and eaten with smoked salmon — but for fun, make Beet Muffins! The recipe can be found on my blog….

  24. 25

    Tried cooked ‘hot’ Beetroot for the first time this evening here in Northern Cyprus- they regularly serve it chopped and pickled, cold (vinegar) as part of a Meze but this was different.. I assumed it would be bland without the vinegar.. Just seen your post coincidentally, think I am now open to trying to cook some myself, just need to invest in some surgical gloves πŸ˜‰

  25. 26
    Jane Maynard

    sorry I disappeared…LOVE all these comments! so awesome! thank you everyone for the great tips and recipes!!!! (and, of course, keep it coming!)

  26. 27

    They may taste like I just licked a dirty potato, but they do look lovely…almost tasty! It must be your amazing photographic skills and lots of Photoshop. Think you can do that with a picture of me next time we’re together (make me look lovely not like a beet)?

  27. 28

    what a lovely looking salad :O)

  28. What fun to read all these great beet recipe ideas!

    Here’s one I recently did that was delicious.

    Beet Salad tossed in an Anchovy Infused Balsamic Dressing, served on a Bed of Baby Arugula and topped with a Farm Fresh Soft Boiled Egg

    Recipe and pix here:

    Happy Spring!!!

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