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. Think 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, a low-ish and slow cooking process 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
You an use small or large beets – the size doesn’t matter since you’re going to slice (or chop) them.
Prep the beets while you preheat the oven.
First clean your beets. You can peel them if you want. 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! However, I usually skip the peeling and, instead, scrub them vigorously with a coarse sponge or a vegetable brush (fair warning: it may become stained permanently pink!)
Next, remove the leafy tops and the root. Don’t throw away the top! You can use those beet greens in a frittata.
Cube or slice the cleaned and trimmed beets, and toss them with a little olive oil and some salt. If I’m making these just for me, I go with small cubes (about 1/2″ square) for the fastest bake time. If I’m making them for a salad or to spread on a platter with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar (they’re also great with crumbly cheese and chopped walnuts), or really any other time I’m trying to make them pretty, cut them into (approximately) 1/4″ slices. The tradeoff for the prettier presentation is that they may take slightly longer to cook, so plan accordingly!
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a nonstick pad and drizzle it lightly with oil. Transfer the prepared 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.
- 6-7 whole beets
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or oil of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional: dusting of garlic powder, fresh ground black pepper, paprika, cumin or chili powder
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with a nonstick pad or tinfoil lightly coated in nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Rinse, then scrub the beets with a brush or coarse sponge. Transfer to a plastic cutting board (if you use wood/bamboo, it may become permanently stained). Use a sharp knife to cut off the step and root ends of each beet, then chop into 1/2" cubes or 1/4" slices (which are prettier, but take longer to cook).
- Transfer cubes to a large mixing bowl and toss with oil, then salt (and other spices of choice, if desired).
- Spread the beet cubes in an evenly-spaced layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes or until beets are slightly crisp around the edges and tender in the middle. Again, remember that if you sliced the beets into discs or larger cubes, your bake time might be longer.
- The reason this recipe doesn't call for peeling the beets is because I don't bother. After scrubbing the heck out of them and then roasting them, I don't notice the skin and it doesn't bother me. If you don't want to eat the skin, feel free to peel them while still raw. The easiest time to do this is when they are still whole, so you can grip each beet by the roots.
- Store completely cooled beets in an airtight container for a week or more in the fridge, or up to 6 months in the freezer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 beet
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 92 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 235mg Carbohydrates: 7g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 5g Protein: 1g