Though the weather has been gloriously spring-like this winter, the farmers market is keeping up its cold weather appearance with bins of root vegetables and hearty greens lining each stall. One of my favorite root vegetables are beets and I especially love to roast them myself. Growing up, we ate beets a lot, but they usually came out of a can. There’s nothing wrong with canned beets (especially if they’re organic) but they are SO much more flavorful if you roast them yourself. Even better, roasting beets couldn’t be easier (though your hands may turn a bit pink when you peel them). The next time you’re at the farmers market or the produce aisle of your grocery store, pick up of a bunch of beets. Then follow these steps.
You can buy raw beets either loose or in bunches. If they’re bunched, they’ll usually have the greens still attached, which are also edible. (Cook them the way you would chard or kale, either steamed or sauteed.) To roast the beets, you’ll need to chop off the greens. I usually leave a little bit of the red stem. Wash the beets and pat them dry, but don’t peel them. You’ll do that once they’re cooked.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You want to roast the beets in a foil package which you can make with a piece of aluminum foil. Simply place the beets in the center of the foil (I usually only put two to a pack) and bring the sides up around them. Cinch the two sides together and press down, leaving a bit of air between the foil and the beets. Cinch the sides so that the beets are fully enclosed, like this:
Put the beets in the oven and let roast for 1 hour, or until they can easily be pierced with a fork. Open the package and let them cool until they’re able to be handled. (Don’t wait until they are completely cool or else they’ll be hard to peel.) Gently remove the skin from the beets with your hands.
Slice the beets, then serve warm or cold. I especially like them in a salad, with a bit of goat cheese or feta. Yum!