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Packed with nutritional value, beets deserve a place at the table.

Beautiful beets are showcased so much more attractively outside a pickle jar. If they are not your favorite, put your preconceived notions aside and find out how much interest beets can bring to otherwise ordinary dishes. Whether you serve them roasted, toasted, simmered, stir-fried or boiled, the beets go on!

Citrus Butter Beets

Yield: 4 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1½ pounds beets, peeled and coarsely grated
¼ teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper Chopped green onions or chives for garnish

Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When melted, add the beets and lime zest. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes or until the beets are crisp-tender. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter, juice, salt and pepper. Garnish and serve warm.

Orange Splashed Beets

Yield: 4-6 servings
2 pounds beets, trimmed, peeled and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons grated orange zest

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Add the beets and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Fold the foil over the beets and seal tightly to make a packet. Bake 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the juice, vinegar and honey. Carefully open the foil around the beets, allowing the steam to escape. Transfer beets to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the zest and drizzle with the dressing, tossing to evenly coat. Serve warm.

Alternative: Cool slightly and serve in endive leaves.

Roasted Beets

Yield: 4 servings
1 pound beets, trimmed and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, place a large piece of aluminum foil on each of two jellyroll pans. Divide the beets evenly between the pans. Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tightly close the foil into packets. Roast in the middle of the oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until the beets are tender. Open the packets and let cool until easily handled. Peel beets and transfer to a serving dish. Add butter and serve warm.

Roasted Beet Salad with Pecans

Yield: 4 servings
1 recipe Roasted Beets (see above)
3 cups micro greens or salad greens of your choice
½ cup feta or ricotta salata cheese (cut into small dice)
1 cup toasted pecans Freshly ground black pepper Bacon, cooked and crumbled Olive oil Sherry, red wine or Balsamic vinegar

Allow Roasted Beets to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, divide the micro greens among individual serving bowls. Top with the beets, cheese and pecans. Add black pepper to taste and crumbled bacon. Serve with olive oil and vinegar.

Beet and Almond Hummus

Yield: 2 cups
2 gold or ivory beets, trimmed
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon white pepper Pita chips

Place the beets in a small saucepan and cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool until easily handled. Peel beets and place in the bowl of a food processor with chickpeas, oil, garlic, almonds, vinegar, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth. Serve immediately with pita chips or refrigerate for later use.

Beet and Rice Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

Yield: 4-6 servings
½ cup pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
4 beets, peeled and diced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup soft goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the prepared pan and roast for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Shake the pan halfway through to move the seeds around. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes. Add beets, ¼ cup of water, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 22 to 25 minutes or until the beets are tender. Stir in the zest, parsley, rice and half of the pumpkin seeds. Serve warm with a garnish of the remaining pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.

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About Author

Robin Conover

Robin Conover has spent the last 23 years documenting the people and places of Tennessee with The Tennessee Magazine. After graduating from Murray State University, Robin began working for magazine in October 1988 as a communications specialist and photojournalist. She now serves as TECA vice president of communications and editor of The Tennessee Magazine. Her interest in preserving the environment and Tennessee’s beautiful natural areas has led her down many miles of trails to capture thousands of images. Robin is currently a board member of the Friends of Radnor Lake, a nonprofit in Nashville. Robin’s images can be seen in greeting cards, calendars, books and at a few fine-art shows she participates in each year.

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