Beets are little magic orbs of deliciousness and nutrition. They come in gold, red, white and even candy-striped. And I learned early in my daughters’ lives to feed them the light-colored beets to keep from staining absolutely everything.
Fresh beets often come with the bonus vegetable of beet greens. They taste just like Swiss chard, which is actually a non-bulbing beet. Beets are traditionally served cooked but they are also delicious in a raw shredded salad.
Beets are best stored in the refrigerator, and will last for several weeks. If you choose to harvest greens while your beets are still growing, only use about a third of the greens at a time to give them plenty of leaves to continue to feed the root.
Roasting beets gives them a sweetness that you don’t get by boiling. To roast beets, trim off the greens and set aside. Wash and put them in a baking pan with a few tablespoons of water and cover tightly with foil. Roast at 400 for about an hour. They are done when a fork easily pierces. Cool and then rub off the skins.
Crispy sautéed beets with beet greens
3 or 4 beets, any type
2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T balsamic vinegar
Few pinches red pepper flakes or ¼ t. tabasco to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Feta cheese for garnishing
Trim greens from beets. Place beets in an oven-safe baking pan, add ¼ cup water, and cover tightly with foil. Roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When cool, peel (the skins should slip off easily) and slice into ⅛” slices.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet (cast iron is perfect). Add beet slices and saute until crisp on one side (about 10 minutes). Flip and saute the other side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Rinse and roughly chop the greens. Add garlic to olive oil and saute briefly (about a minute). Add beet greens and toss to coat with oil. Saute about 2 to 3 minutes until wilted to your taste. Add balsamic vinegar and red pepper. Remove from heat, plate and top with the beet slices. Sprinkle with feta cheese and enjoy!
And here’s an easy, delicious sauce to add to your beet repertoire. Use liberally on cooked beets and/or beet greens.
4 oz. goat cheese, softened
2 T. milk or half and half
1 t. dried or 1 T. fresh dill
Whisk or blend until smooth. Add more milk as necessary to make a pourable sauce. Stir in the dill. Drizzle over beets and greens