Before you say, “EWWW! Gross, beets” and click away, allow me to try to convince you…
My theory is that most people who hate beets have never had fresh from the garden, into the oven, lightly seasoned, roasted beets.
If your only experience with beets is the pickled kind or heaven forbid, the canned and pickled (often sweet) kind, I really can’t blame you for a big massive “EWWW!”
However, THESE roasted beets are not THOSE gross beets.
You might know that I spend several weeks every summer playing in the orchestra for an awesome opera company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In addition to playing great music with good friends, I also take in as much of summer in Minnesota as I possibly can.
A lot has changed since I lived here and one of the huge improvements is that it seems that there is a farmer’s market to be found in some neighborhood almost every day of the week. Of course there are the big, formal Minneapolis & St. Paul farmer’s markets in their respective permanent locations downtown, but smaller, more creative markets have popped up all over the Cities.
In fact, the Mill City Museum where the Mill City Summer Opera performs in their courtyard ruins, hosts an organic farmer’s market every Saturday during the summer.
If there’s a cooler performance venue than this, I sure don’t know what it is.
You can see the sets in progress and the platform in the back where the orchestra sits. No putting this orchestra into a pit!
That’s the Mississippi River you see right outside the windows!
Anyhoo…at the Saturday market, I met The Beet Man (didn’t get his photo which is a shame because he was pretty groovy) and plunked down $2 for these fresh out of the farm dirt, organic beets.
Just in case you were thinking that beets only came in the purple color, yes that’s a white beet. Someone big rat bought all the golden beets before I got there. Those are my favorite.
To make glorious, not gross, Roasted Beets, all you need are beets, aluminum foil, a little olive oil, and salt & pepper.
If you want to make them more salad-y in the end, you might also add just a bit of good vinegar but I had absolutely no problem scarfing them all down totally plain.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Wash the beets and trim the stems and roots almost down to the bulb of the beet. If they come with the beet leaves or greens still attached, you can sauté and eat those too.
If you have several beets about the same size, you can group them together in a foil packet. Larger beets should go in their own packets since they might need a bit longer in the oven.
Place the beets on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle them with just a tiny bit (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) of olive oil.
Wrap them up and place them on a sheet pan.
Put them in the 375° oven for about 50-60 minutes. Cooking time obviously depends on size.
After about 45 minutes, you can check on the beets by VERY carefully opening one of the foil packets and sticking a sharp knife into the beet. If it pierces easily and is tender all the way through, the beet is done. If it is still firm in the center, send it back into the oven.
These took about 55 minutes to get nicely tender all the way through. When they have finished roasting, let the beets cool completely.
When they are cool enough to handle, take each beet, trim off the remaining stem & root tip, and slip off the outer peel.
Note: if you have the traditional dark purple beets and care about having purple fingers, use a plastic bag or some disposable gloves while you are skinning the beets.
Slice the beets onto a plate and season with salt & pepper.
This is a great time to get out the flakey Fleur de Sel or other fancy salt if you have it.
As I mentioned before, if you want them to be more of a stand alone beet salad, add a drizzle of good olive oil & vinegar.
I LOVED the swirly red beets.
Roasted beets have a delicate, light flavor that totally gets covered up in all those pickling spices that you find store bought beets swimming in.
Let me just say it again…these taste NOTHING like those canned beets that sit withering away on salad bars.
You can serve these just as a simple side, dress them up with some crumbles of goat cheese or add them to a salad.
This particular salad also had some leftover Sesame Ginger Lime Chicken cut up on it. SO good!
My friend Jen makes an awesome beet salad with goat cheese, candied pecans, and a light dressing of oil & vinegar. If I can find the groovy beet man again before I leave Minneapolis, that’s coming next!
Don’t be a beet hater. Give Roasted Beets a chance!
Here’s the recipe:
Proge roasts them in foil on the grill. He opens the foil at the end to give them a nice wood smokey flavor. I like the golden beets best, red are still a bit too strong for my taste.
What a beautiful venue you play in. The ruins look perfect for opera. What is the program this summer?
The opera this summer was The Daughter of the Regiment by Donizetti. A bit lighter fare than last year’s Tosca. Roasting beets on the grill is a GREAT idea! I’ll definitely try that one.
Beets are my all time favorite root vegetable. I like them best, the red ones, as a pickled beet salad. Then there is Hot Borscht, Cold Borscht (Eastern European Soups) which are absolutely delicious. The grow plenty of beets in European Countries and make sugar out of them. However, the very best beets I ever had are grown in the Dominican Republic (Tropical Country)!!! Can’t wait to go there and get some more. Eat them every day!