Few foods have as many loyal fans and avid detractors as beets. You either love them or you don’t. I’ve come to love them, especially roasted beets. My first taste of beets occurred at my Auntie Esther’s dining room table in the form of a deep purple and cold borscht swirled with sour cream. Back then I liked only the sour cream and the color. After a number of years and a number more encounters, borscht earned a spot on my list of favorite soups, especially for winter’s coldest days.
For years my preferred beets were those crimson sliced and pickled ones garnishing house salads or offered in salad bars Then in the 80’s I tasted freshly roasted beets with goat cheese. Thank you, Wolfgang Puck. Whenever there’s a choice, roasted beets win out over their canned and pickled cousins every time.
Roasting beets intensifies their flavor by concentrating their natural sweetness. When you combine marinating them first in a little balsamic vinegar with roasting—oh mama! you’ve got a winner. Sweet and flavorful. These Roasted Beets w/ Balsamic Glaze & Greens just might turn detractors into fans. (Note: this is what beet lovers tend to say. I wonder if it really happens.)
Look at these gorgeous long and slender beets grown by members of Bozeman’s local Garden Club. Thin skinned and perfect for slicing into uniform rounds. Each summer I’m especially drawn to the unusual cylindrically shaped beets. Shape aside; they taste the same as round beets.
- With young and tender beets, a good scrub and some trimming around the ends and they’re good to go.
- Definitely peel especially dirty beets with lots of attached roots.
- Older, larger beets with tough skins also benefit from peeling.
- Unless eating them raw, it’s way easier to peel beets after roasting than before.
Go for the greens
With beautiful greens attached to your beets, you know they’re fresh. Plus, it’s like getting two vegetables in one. After a quick sauté both the leaves and stems become a tender and tasty accompaniment to roasted beets.
Two more ways to enjoy beets
Roasted Beets w/ Balsamic Glaze & Greens
Beets become even sweeter when marinated and roasted with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Quite a delicious contrast of tastes and colors when accompanied with
Cucumber Salad w/ Ginger & Toasted Sesame Oil or Cucumbers in Yogurt.
4-6 servings (depending upon how much you love beets)
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: about 1½ hours
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
1¼ pounds medium beets, scrubbed well, tails and tops removed
1/8th teaspoon coarse salt
6 twists freshly ground pepper
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
The greens and stems from your beets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place the balsamic vinegar, crushed garlic, Herbes de Provence and fresh or dried rosemary in a medium bowl.
- Slice the cleaned and trimmed beets into ¼-inch rounds or half rounds depending upon the size and shape of the beets.
- Add the sliced beets to the balsamic vinegar mixture. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss together.
- Marinate the beets for 30 minutes, tossing once or twice.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Transfer the beets and marinade to a ceramic or glass baking dish (approximately 7 x 11 inches). Cover the dish tightly with foil.
- Bake for 80 or more minutes until the sliced beets are tender when pierced with a fork.
Prepare the Greens
- Remove the stems from the leaves.
- Slice the stems into ¼-inch slices; the greens into 1-inch strips.
- A few minutes before removing the roasted beets from the oven, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Stir in the stems.
- After one minute, add the greens. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
- Cover the pan and cook 3 minutes. Remove the lid. Continue to sauté until the greens are tender. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss with the roasted beets or serve the greens as a bed under the roasted beets.
- Transfer to a platter.
- Drizzle with 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- Delicious at any temperature.