Welcome to the wonderful world of beets! If you’ve already got this versatile vegetable in your kitchen, you’re probably wondering about the best ways to use the beets in delicious and nutritious dishes. So, we’ll start with recipes.
Our beet recipes include:
- Poached Beet with Curry Dressing and Pistachios
- Glazed Beets
- Baked Rainbow Roots with Leprechaun Pesto
- Poached Baby Beets with Mixed Microgreens
- Jalapeño Beet Salad
- Root Vegetable Sandwich
Sometimes, especially in salads, beets are used raw. Chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute shares that, if you’re using raw beets, you’ll want to wash them well with a large volume of water and then shave them thinly. You’ll end up with mildly sweet, earthy beet curls.
Now, what about cooking with beets?
What to Do with Cooked Beets
What’s interesting is that, when Jamie cooks beets, the first few steps are almost always the same. “In ninety percent of the cases,” he says, “we’ll poach the beets and then remove the skin before doing anything else with them.”
- Trim down the top of the beet to round out the veggie.
- Put the beets in water on the stove and poach them.
- This may take 25 minutes. It may take an hour. It depends upon the size of the beet.
- Watch the poaching beets for signs of “doneness” so that you don’t overcook them.
- If you take a paper towel or piece of linen to a beet and the skin comes off—and the flesh isn’t too soft—then you’ve nailed the timing.
“When removing the skin from appropriately poached beets,” Jamie says, “they will come off in one piece with the beets now in interesting contours without your having to peel them or shape them.
You can then eat the poached beets, as is—or wedge and grill them or dice and sear them. In fact, after you’ve poached and skinned your beets, the remaining process can be as simple or as complex as you’d like.
“Because sediment from the beets ends up in the poaching liquid,” Jamie says, “it doesn’t add much value at all to poach them in red wine, for example, or to poach gold beets in orange juice. Unless you wash the beets incredibly well, the sediment prevents you from reducing the leftover liquid into a sauce.”
That said, you can now take the poached beets and marinate them in just about anything you want for added flavor. “This could be a wine reduction sauce,” Jamie says, “or when you’ll marinate your gold beets in orange juice. You can add dressings at this time, too.”
You can also put poached beets into a blender and add olive oil, butter, or dairy to make beet puree. Although Jamie doesn’t do that often, it adds to the possibilities when you want a sauce.
More Tips About Cooking with Beets
- When you want grilled beets, poach them first. Otherwise, it will take forever and there is no benefit to grilling them when raw.
- You can grate beets and fold them into batter for cakes, brownies, pancakes—whatever you’d like. The moisture in the beets will support the recipe if proportions are right and the beets will nearly disappear into the mixture.
- Beets and chocolate really are a perfect pairing. That’s why, in our Valentine’s Day offering this year, we included a beet-chocolate puree that people would add into a flour and egg mixture.
Health Benefits of Beets
We include information about the health benefits of beets in our new blog at The Chef’s Garden: Celebrating the Beautiful Beet as well as in these blog posts:
When cooking with beets, quality matters. Here are our regeneratively farmed mixed beets, ones that often appear in our fresh vegetable boxes in season.