If you learn my simple trick for how to roast beets, you’ll never look at those funny root vegetables the same way again. Properly roasted beets are a far cry from those soggy tasteless pink slabs that come in a can. Roasted beets are sweet, rich, tender, and an incredible addition to salads – or great on their own! They’re naturally gluten free, paleo and vegan.
I’m updating some of my old content, and in doing so, was reminded of this old recipe with, well, let’s just say the photos didn’t do it justice. If you think you’re a beet hater, or you’ve only had beets from a (*gag*) can, or maybe you’ve never bothered to try a beet, I’m here to change your mind.
Give Beets A Chance!
Like many ugly root vegetables (I see you there, turnips), beets get a bad name. It’s a tragedy because, inside their rough, root-y, wire-y, knotty exterior, beets hide a tender meet whose sugars caramelize into something wonderful in the oven. Nature’s candy, you might say.
Then again, you might not. Because everyone knows raisins are nature’s candy.
Roasted Beets Are Not The Same Species As Any Other Cooked Beets
The trick to not detesting beets is to avoid eating them in any form that fails to do them justice. So basically, skip them raw, steamed, and especially – ESPECIALLY. I really can’t stress this enough – not canned.
Really, all that leaves is roasting, which is, luckily, the best way to eat a beet. I’m going to share my go-to roasted beets recipe with you. Buckle up.
How to make roast beets – the right way
The secret to perfect roasted beets is this: 350°.
Everyone who I mention this to looks at me funny. Doesn’t roasting mean 400° or higher? Possibly, depending on who you ask. Most people think of roasting and assume it must be done in a very hot oven, but it primarily means dry heat cooking of something that already has a shape – as opposed to baking in which the cooking process gives the food shape. Thing roasting beets, or a whole chicken (solid –> solid) vs. baking a cake (liquid –> solid).
In the case of beets, and other root veggies and high-starch produce like squash, lowish, slow cooking effectively removes enough of the moisture to allow the flavors to deepen, the sugars to condense and caramelize, and the flesh to become tender. If the temperature were higher, the beets would burn before they reached peak shrivel-y sweet-and-tenderness.
By the way, you can use this same method for roasted sweet potatoes.
How To Prep Your Beets
Start with small beets, if possible. They’re easier to prep. But if you only have large beets, that’s ok too!
Prep the beets while you preheat the oven.
First, peel your beets. Just use a vegetable peeler like you’d use on a carrot, and go slowly – the curves and knots on beets can make your peeler slip, and those things can hurt you!
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a nonstick pad and drizzle it lightly with oil. Transfer the chopped beets to the prepared sheet and make sure there is some space between them. If they’re too close together, the moisture each beet piece lets off as they roast will steam the ones next to it and they’ll get mushy!
Finally, roast them, low(ish) and slow, until they’re tender, sweet, and irresistible!
What to do with your roasted beets
The flavor of these is outstanding on their own, so you don’t have to “do” anything with them so much as sprinkle them with a generous pinch of good salt, and serve them as a side dish. They’re equally appropriate on Thanksgiving or a Tuesday.
You can also put them on a salad (here is my favorite salad recipe that incorporates roasted beets). They’re hearty and toothsome, providing a semi-meaty element to make a lunch salad that much more satisfying. If you’re doing a Whole30, these sweet little medallions do a great job standing in for dried fruit in salads.
But if you’re not following Whole30, these are the beginning of an amazing roasted beet salad. Toss them with some fresh baby arugula, some goat cheese, some rosemary, and a handful of toasted nuts, and drizzle it all with extra virgin olive oil and maybe a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of kosher salt, and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper for a simple, yet unexpected, side salad.
You can slice them into a longer thinner shape and make them into fries. (Make sure you reduce your cooking time accordingly so they don’t burn!)
Once roasted, beets keep really well in the fridge for a week or more, and can even be frozen. So if you don’t have a use for these yet, don’t stress. They’ll be ready and waiting!
One last thing
The original post contained the following picture which was too cute not to keep. So, please enjoy this glamour shot of my cat, Henry.
Simple Roasted Beets
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with a nonstick pad or tinfoil lightly coated in nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Peel the thin skin off of each beet, then use a sharp knife to cut off the stem and root ends. Slice the beet into about 1/2" slices.
- Transfer slices to a large mixing bowl and toss with oil, then salt.
- Spread the beet slices in an evenly-spaced layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes until softened, then flip and cook another 15-30 minutes until tender.
- Store completely cooled beets in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Pin it for later👇