A few years ago my friend Angela and I decided that we wanted to try new vegetables. Now we both have CSA shares and our veggie consumption is much more well-rounded, but we had to start somewhere. We tried turnips, parsnips, and kale. I’m pretty sure there were others, too, but we started in the late fall and were limited in our choices.
During that experiment, we never tried beets. Beets are scary. They’re messy and they stain. My mom tried to feed us pickled beets as kids (EDIT: My mother states that she tried to feed us diced cooked beets, not pickled. She did try to feed us other gross stuff, though.). They’re weird.
We get a lot of beets from our CSA. My husband did agree to try everything we got, but he didn’t have to like everything. He tried beets. He didn’t like them. So we still have a lot of beets.
And it’s up to me to eat them.
I’m trying. If you search for beet recipes you’ll get thousands of people insisting that you have to roast them, roasted is the only way! At this point I have a few ways to eat beets, either raw or roasted. Here is one of them.
This recipe comes via the LA Times and is based on a dish from Pizzeria Mozza. I had to adapt it a bit to use ingredients I had on hand. The dish comes together quickly once the beets are roasted and cooled, so if you roast your beets in bulk and put them in the fridge for later, you’ll have a quick side dish.
Toss your beets with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme (ideally fresh, but I only had dried). The recipe says to place the beets in a roasting pan then cover the pan with foil. I just wrapped my beets tightly in foil and roasted them in my toaster oven. Once the beets are cooked through, let them cool, then peel them. Dice the beets into cubes about 1/2″ on a side.
The diced beets are then tossed with apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, and horseradish (again, fresh is preferred, but I had no car and a jar in the fridge. Sold!). Seasoned with salt and pepper, you now have a bright, intense side dish or salad.
The earthiness of the beets, which I sometimes find too strong, is balanced by the dressing with its acidic and zesty flavor. All I had was prepared horseradish, so I think that fresh would impart a nicer kick. That said, even what I had turned out pretty darn well.
My only complaint about beets is their bright juice. It’s water soluble so as long as I wash my hands right away I’ve never had staining issues, but I always feel like I savagely murdered a Barbie doll afterward.
Marinated Beets with Horseradish
Adapted from Pizzeria Mozza via the LA Times
Yields about 4 cups; serves 6-8
2 pounds beets
5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup freshly grated or pureed horseradish
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1.) Preheat oven to 400F. Toss beets with olive oil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place beets in a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil. Roast about 1 hour until beets are easily pierced with a knife. Let cool.
2.) Once cool, peel beets and dice into 1/2″ cubes. Place diced beets in a bowl and add vinegar, horseradish, and mustard. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper.