Beets: Three Ways to Cook Them

Here are three simple ways to prepare this nutritious and delicious vegetable that can be used to make meals the whole family will love.

Three raw beetroots with greens attached.

In this installment of my series on preparing delicious vegetables, I present to you the beetroot.

Do yourself a favor and check out my other posts on Spaghetti Squash, Sweet Potato, Acorn Squash, and Butternut Squash if you share my enthusiasm for vegetables.

Beets

Beets have always looked very different in my head than they actually are. Unfortunately for me, my mind had a very different picture of what a beet would taste like and I imagined a tough, crunchy root that tasted like what it would be like to land face first in a pile of dirt rather than something sweet and delicious.  

I hadn't even tried one yet, but the strange appearance of this root vegetable covered in dirt (which looks a lot like a carrot, by the way) was giving me the creeps.

Ten years later, I'm here to share everything I've learned about beets, including three different recipes for preparing them. today with you

So, howdy, beet novices!  

While they may look intimidating, they're actually quite simple to prepare. And neither raw nor cooked, they have the earthy flavor you might expect.

Beets are what?

The beet plant's taproot is commonly referred to as a beet. Because of its highly developed storage organ, the taproot, a central root from which other roots sprout laterally, has been cultivated as a vegetable.

Beets are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from soups and salads to cocktails and dips.

Beets have multiple uses besides being consumed, including those of a non-toxic food coloring and a medicinal plant.

Bunch of red raw and whole beetroots cleaned and scrubbed ready for cooking.

Beets Are Good for You!

Beets are incredibly healthy and one of the healthiest foods you can eat. You can't go wrong by eating more of these tasty ruby red roots, which are also known as "superfoods."

Then, why do beets promote good health?

  1. Nutrient-dense and low in calories Beets are an excellent source of essential nutrients for your body because they fill you up without overloading you on calories. As an illustration, consider the following: a 3 Only 44 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 20% RDI of folate, and 16% RDI of manganese can be found in a 5-ounce serving of beets.
  2. It aids in maintaining a healthy blood pressure Nitrates found in abundance in beets are metabolized in the body to nitric oxide. As a result of its vasodilatory effects, nitric oxide is useful for lowering blood pressure.
  3. The fiber content of beets is high. We all know that fiber plays a crucial role in digestive health and warding off problems like constipation.
  4. Low in fat and high in water content, beets are a healthy addition to any diet. Beets, thanks to their high water and fiber content, are a great addition to any diet, but especially so for those aiming to shed extra pounds (though I wouldn't dare attribute weight loss to any single food).

Market-ready beets: where to look and what to look for

There is a wide variety of beets available, each with its own distinct appearance. While some stores only sell beets by the bunch, others sell them in "bulk bins," which contain only the beetroot and none of the beet greens.

Use this as a rule of thumb for selecting the highest quality beets every time, no matter where you shop.

  • Choose beets that have no visible bruises or other damage. Keep in mind that we are discussing beets; as a result, a beetroot in the exact shape of an apple is likely to be quite rare.
  • Beets with a larger diameter will take longer to cook and be more difficult to slice. Because of this, you should aim for beets that are somewhere in the middle of the size spectrum.
  • Get beets with the greens still on them if you can. An excellent gauge of newness
  • Wrinkled beets are signs of dehydration, so you should avoid eating them.

Pot filled with water and 9 medium raw beets.

Beets: A Cook's Guide

Now that we've established that beets have a ton of health benefits and are actually pretty delicious (read: they don't taste like dirt), it's time to learn three simple ways to prepare them.

Before you can cook with beets, you must first prepare them.

  1. The greens from any beets you bought should be removed and stored for later use or thrown away. Instead of slicing the beetroot in half, you should remove the greens while leaving about an inch of the beetroot uncut.
  2. You should wash your beets. If you have a tool for cleaning produce, use it.

#1 | Beets that have been boiled

My preferred method of cooking is boiling. In my experience, this is the most foolproof way to ensure perfectly cooked beets every time.  

First, you'll need a big pot. For all of your beets and water, it needs to be a sufficiently sized container. So, get out your pot, put in your washed beets, and cover them with water by about an inch or two. Achieve a full boil over high heat. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer as soon as the water boils. You want your beets to be tender, but not too soft or mushy, so simmer them until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Time required will range from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beets.

Beets should be cooled quickly by being placed in an ice water bath as soon as they are done cooking. When they have cooled, remove the skin immediately. Yes, the skin should (if the beets were cooked long enough) peel right off. Finish by rinsing them, and then dig into your perfectly cooked beets.

You can enjoy the leftovers with your favorite toppings by storing them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Boiled, fulled cooked beets in an ice bath.

Beets, steamed

Beets can be steamed just as easily as they can be boiled. Although similar to boiling, this method prevents nutrients from escaping from the beets into the surrounding water because they are not completely submerged.

First, put your steamer basket into a large pot. As the beets cook, the steam should circulate under and around them, so fill the pot until it's just below the steamer basket. Put the cleaned and cut beets in a pot, and cover it with a lid that fits tightly. In order to make a simmering sauce, bring water to a boil. Be sure to steam the beets until they are tender enough to pierce with a fork, but not so long that they become mushy.

To peel beets, remove them carefully from the heat and wait until they have cooled. Use cold water to clean up, and then put the leftovers in a sealed container to chill in the fridge.

Raw beets in a large pot with a steaming basket.

Three | Beets, Roasted

Roasting beets, which is also a simple method of cooking these fantastic vegetables, is, according to some, the best way to preserve their flavor. For myself, I take no side. There is not much of a difference in flavor, in my opinion. But if I'm already going to the oven to bake some potatoes or roast a chicken, then roasting beets seems like the most natural extension of that.  

Beets require an oven temperature of 425 degrees Fahrenheit to roast properly. Before wrapping in foil, wash the beets thoroughly and then add a little olive oil. Roast the beets for 45-60 minutes, or until tender. Take the beets out of the oven, carefully remove the foil, and wait until they have cooled before peeling. After eating, wash with cold water and refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container.

Cooked beets in foil beets sliced in two in foil

Is it necessary to peel beets before using them in a recipe?

No In fact, you don't have to peel your beets before cooking with any of these techniques. Unless you're planning on eating your beets raw, you should probably just leave the skin on.

Do beets need to be cooked before eating?

Yes absolutely

In contrast to popular belief, raw beets are just as tasty when cooked. Raw beets, which are sweeter and perhaps crunchier, are delicious in salads like the Kohlrabi, Beetroot, and Apple Salad and the Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad. Also, the juice of raw beets can be extracted by pressing them.

There should be more beet-based dishes.

Please let me know how it goes if you try any of these methods for cooking beets. Sweet beets are a personal favorite of mine, and I enjoy hearing about your other thoughts, feedback, and favorite recipes as much as possible.

Beet and feta salad on a small grey salad plate.

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A close up of fresh beets
Chef: Profile photo of chef Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon Said: Jessica Randhawa
Discover three simple ways to prepare beets and use this adaptable vegetable to make meals that are colorful, nutritious, and delicious for the whole family.
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  • Remove the beet greens' stems and chop them, leaving about an inch of the green intact. Scrub each beet thoroughly to remove any dirt.
  • Be sure to fill a large pot with water before adding beets. Simmer after bringing to a boil. Beets require between 30 and 45 minutes of cooking time to become fork-tender. To stop the cooking process, carefully place the beets in an ice water bath. After they have cooled, you can remove the skin and wash them in cold water.
  • Remove the beet greens from the stems, leaving a 1-inch piece of green uncut. Prepare the beets by scrubbing them clean.
  • Place a steamer basket inside a large pot and fill the pot with water until it is just below the basket's rim. Put the beets in a pot with a lid that fits tightly, fill it with water, and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 30–45 minutes, or until beets are easily pierced with a fork. Take out the beets and set them to cool before peeling and rinsing them in cold water.
  • Put in the 425 degree oven. and put the rack in the middle of the oven. Remove the beet greens' stems and chop them, leaving about an inch of the green intact. Scrub each beet thoroughly to remove any dirt.
  • Wrap each beet individually in a sheet of foil large enough to accommodate the beet and a drizzle of olive oil (about 1/2 teaspoon total). Place the beets, individually wrapped in foil, on a large baking sheet. Roast for 45-60 minutes, or until fork-tender. Beets should be peeled after they have cooled down after being removed from the foil.
However, the serving size and nutritional data are based on one medium beet (roughly 1 cup), so the total amount prepared will vary depending on how many beets you choose to cook.
Calories: 35 kcal | Carbohydrates: 7 g | Protein: 1.3 g | Fat: g | Trans Fats: g | Cholesterol: mg | Sodium: 63 mg | Potassium: 266 mg | Fiber: 2.3 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 25 IU | Vitamin C: 4 mg | Calcium: 13 mg | Iron: 0.6 mg

(The nutritional data provided is an approximation that will change depending on how the dish is prepared and the brands of ingredients that are used. )

Updated pictures and text were added in February 2019 to this post that was first published in April 2017.

In Regards to Jessica

Profile photo of chef Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon

The Forked Spoon's executive chef, photographer, and recipe developer is Jessica Randhawa. While exploring the cuisines and cultures of Asia and Europe, Jessica found a newfound love for the kitchen and an appreciation for travel. Countless websites, including Yahoo, MSN, USA Today, FeedFeed, and others, have featured her recipes. The University of California, Berkeley awarded her a Bachelor of Science degree.

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