Last weekend I roasted some beets. I love beets. I have always loved beets. When I was a kid, I loved beets because of their color. I loved the way they stained everything they touched a shocking shade of magenta. No other vegetable does that! Later I discovered the joy of beets with a sharp cheese, or tart apples, or both, as pictured above. I started seeking out beets on menus at restaurants. I remember becoming very excited to discover an offering of a salad that included roasted beets, pecans, and herbed goat cheese at a particular restaurant that later became a favorite.
Beets seem to be one of those Love It or Hate It foods. I love them and I know many other people who do. The people who hate them, hate them vehemently.
This week, I brought some of my roasted beets into my workplace for a taste test. One person, who had never tried beets before, later posted on Facebook “I just tried beets for the first time, and I think I like them!” Another, who had previously proclaimed her beet-hatred, changed her mind and later was asking me if I thought one could grill beets. (Why not?) The third wouldn’t proclaim her new-found love for beets, but she did say “I won’t make a face the next time I see them on someone’s plate.”
My theory is that a lot of people who think they hate beets have never had a plain, roasted beet. Canned beets are completely different. Because they are soaking in liquid, they are very slimy. I used to be able to tolerate them- before I learned how easy it was to roast beets. Pickled beets are also common. When people say “ew beets! They taste like vinegar!” I know they have only had pickled beets. Beets do not taste like vinegar. The closest vegetable comparison I can make is a carrot. It has a little sweetness and a little earthiness. It’s hard, like a rock, until you cook it through. Roasted, it has the texture of a lightly cooked carrot. Firm, but not crunchy. Roasting beets gives them a unique flavor that is not accomplished by steaming or boiling them.
Come on, even if you don’t like them, you have to admit they are pretty!
Roasting beets is easy and well described HERE. My only deviation is that it always takes more than 60 minutes. This packet took about 75 minutes.
Beets have many health benefits. They are a good source of vitamin C, iron and magnesium, and a very good source of fiber, folate, potassium and manganese. Did I mention they taste good?
I used an ample amount of oil for the roasting process and I save it for salad dressing. The oil can be used in any vinaigrette, but it lends itself particularly well to citrusy ones.
Give beets a chance!