Now I understand that beets are not for everyone and there are many folks out there that have a great dislike for beets. A dislike which I think comes from their very intense earthy flavor. But beets are a nutrient dense food meaning that they provide your body with lots of nutrients for few calories. And I think there are ways a variety ways of cooking and eating beets that work best with this earthy flavor.
Eating beets is beneficial to the body in many different ways. Here are just a few of the top nutrients and health benefits provided by beets:
An essential mineral used by the body for building healthy bones and healing woulds.
An essential vitamin with many functions in the body. One is to form and maintain connective tissue.
Essential nutrient used to make DNA and other genetic material and it plays a role in cell division.
An essential mineral which works to make our muscles contract — including the heart.
The red pigments in beets which are an antioxidant that helps to fight cancer and inflammation in the body and acts to prevent illness.
Beets contain nitrates which work to improve and lower blood pressure. Try eating raw beets for a greater effect!
Cooking and eating beets is a fairly simple to start and the first step is figuring out the method to use to cook them. The most popular cooking methods are steaming, boiling and roasting. Fresh beets can be eaten raw too. I think they work best in this way thinly sliced or grated on a salad or even as an ingredient on a veggie sandwich!!
My favorite way to prepare beets
The only method I EVER use to cook beets is roasting. Beets have a very earthy flavor to me, but they also have a lot of natural sugars and I find that roasting them brings out their natural sweetness which helps to tone down the earthy or “dirt” flavor beets can have.
You have the option to roast them whole or cut. If you are roasting whole which is the method I generally use, it’s best to select beets that are similar in size so that when you cook them, they all are done about the same time. I usually cook 4-5 of them at a time and then use them as needed in recipes throughout the week. Plus, if you will be using them in smoothies it also works to freeze them and pull them out to add to your smoothie as needed.
Super Simple Roasted Beets
- 1 lb fresh beets, similar in size
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash and scrub the beets well. If they have stems, cut them off close to the base.
- Rub the beets with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then wrap in aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped beets on a sheet pan or in a cooking dish.
- Place them in an oven at 400 degrees and cook for 45-55 minutes. Check them at 45 minutes by pricking them with a fork to see how tender they are. They are ready when the fork easily enters the beet with little resistance. If they aren’t quite ready, cook for another 15 minutes and check again.
- Once beets are tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool 25-30 minutes.
- When they are cool enough to handle, gently use a small knife or your fingers to peel off the skin. It can be kind of messy, so you can also use a paper towel to rub the skin off. If all of the skin doesn’t come off use the knife to trim it away.
- Now the beets are ready to eat or to use in recipes you are preparing.
Other ways of preparing beets
Boiling beets is likely the fastest method for cooking. In this method, it is best to leave the whole so they maintain more of their color. My primary issue with boiling beets is that like any other vegetable, some of the water soluble nutrients are lost in the cooking method.
If you decide you want to steam your beets, I suggest selecting small – medium sized beets. You will want to scrub the outsides well and steam the beets whole. Less of the nutrients are lost in this cooking method. Plan on about 30+ minutes to cook the beets, depending on their size.
The fastest way to prepare your beets and super delicious. Beets definitely taste different raw than cooked. More earthy with some sweetness and a crisper texture. To prepare beets to use raw, first wash and peel the skin off. Then slice or grate depending on how you want to use them.
Ways to use beets
The second part of cooking and eating beets is adding them into various dishes and including them more often in your meals. Here are some of my favorites ways to eat beets along with some great recipes to try out!
Beets can be eaten in many ways. Personally, I like them served chilled, so I use them mostly as a side or in a salad. In salads, I like beets with paired with salty and sweet ingredients, so I usually combine them with feta or goat cheese, berries, apples and oranges. Adding a nut or seed such as pumpkin seeds or walnuts works great to add some crunchy texture to the salad. Check out this salad, Roasted beetroot salad with apple, feta and walnut. The salad includes beets, green apples, onions, feta and walnuts served with a simple Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
Smoothies are a great way to work more nutrient packed veggies into your diet. Plus they taste great and are easy to transport on the go.
This Beet berry banana camu camu smoothie is one of my favorite smoothie recipes. For starters, I love the beautiful pink-purple color that it has from the beets, it seems to shout out “DRINK ME”!!!
Next, it has a really nice flavor. I think the flavor of the beets pairs well with the other ingredients and the banana adds a natural bit of sweetness to the smoothie. When I make this smoothie I like to use frozen berries and beets because the consistency is thicker and frozen like a milkshake. I think the sweetness is spot on but if you like things a little sweeter, you can add additional sweetness.
Refrigerator pickled beets and eggs were famous in my house growing up. This recipe for Mama’s pickled beets and eggs is one that I’ve created based on my memories of this dish.
Pickled beets can be made with cooked or raw beets. They both work great! I like both but find the raw beets to result in a slightly crisper texture. And the eggs also absorb the pickled flavor and turn bright purple thanks to the purple beets.
What are your thoughts on cooking and eating beets? Do you like them or hate them? What is your favorite preparation? Tell me here by leaving a comment or send me a private message using the chat function in the right hand corner of the screen. I personally respond to each and every message.
Also please rate the recipe with 5-stars in the recipe card, if you liked cooking it. And be sure to tag @cookeatlivelove so I can see your creations.