The Vegetable Therapist Beets It


Please forgive me for the ridiculous pun in the title of this post, but really, could YOU help yourself?

Beets are tremendously good for you, packed with vitamins and minerals like folate and potassium, as well as betacyanin, the pigment that gives them their gorgeous red-purple color and has been found to be an anti-cancer agent. However, many folks malign the noble beet – I’ve been told it tastes like dirt! While there’s certainly an earthy component to its flavor, beets are also incredibly sweet – they’re actually a source of table sugar – and caramelize like a dream if cooked properly.

While I love beets roasted, I will say that I think this preparation enhances that earthy flavor, possibly because typically one leaves the skin on when doing it, if roasting them whole (the skin slips off much more easily this way, and you’re less likely to splatter magenta juices all over your kitchen counter). The flip side is that they’re really easy to then just cut up and use in just about any way you see fit – hot as a side dish, cold in a salad, or maybe diced and used in a stuffing (I’ve never done that but I think it would be amazing – maybe I will try it soon and report back!)

However, the Vegetable Therapist is all about finding ways to help you learn to love the vegetables you disdain, and let’s face it, plain ol’ roasted beets aren’t going to convince anyone. You want something with style, something with a bit of excitement! Luckily, I can think of a few preparations that fit the bill.

First, taking those plain ol’ roasted beets from above, you might want to try serving them with pistachio butter! Pistachio butter is extremely easy to make if you’ve got a food processor, and its silky richness coats the beets beautifully. Another wonderful roasted beet companion is this garlic-walnut sauce. What’s nice about this is that if you really are having trouble with the deep earth flavor of the beets, the garlic adds a nice sharp contrast to distract you.

If you don’t have time to roast beets, you might consider making them into a rösti. Typically this is a potato pancake, but the beets can be shredded as easily as a potato, and this really gives those sugars a chance to caramelize and form a crispy crust. This recipe includes rosemary for a little added depth.

Finally, there’s the easiest preparation of all, one that I’ve actually written about before. I’m mentioning it again though because it really is pretty much the easiest, fastest way to cook beets, and they have a snack-like quality that makes them totally addictive: beet chips.
Beets!

You can either cook them lightly in oil in high oven for about 10-15 minutes, or you can pull out the FryDaddy and really go for it! They’re sweet, they’re crispy, they’re potentially salty – or you can put on any seasoning you like. If these don’t make you like beets, nothing will!

Good luck, and let me know in the comments if you try any of these. Furthermore, what do you think the next vegetable should be? I’d love to make some of these recipes for veggie haters and see if I can convert you. Tell me in the comments if you’d be interested and your least favorite vegetable and let’s try it! (Caveat: You must be local, and I must already know you.)

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6 responses to “The Vegetable Therapist Beets It

  1. I’m happy to report (as someone who LOVES them) that beets are much more popular in Australia (you’d call them “beetroot” here.) You find them (and also pumpkin – which would generally be the things we call “squash” – but don’t get me started on that) roasted and added to salads, sandwiches, and all kinds of things.

    Since I’m not local (and also can’t think of a single vegetable I don’t like) can I cast a vote for artichokes? I think they’re highly underrated and people get kind of afraid of them because they don’t know how to get to the part you eat. (& therefore only ever experience the briney, pre-marinated variety.)

    PS – This article about beet juice & endurance might also interest you, ms. marathon lady: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8186947.stm

  2. Mmmmm beets. I love them every way I’ve had them so far, but I haven’t had the beet chips yet. I’ll have to try that myself sometime.
    I already know that it might be possible for you to convert me into liking the dreaded brussel sprout given Mr. Menace’s description of how you make them. However, I wonder if you’ll ever be able to get me to like lima beans or chick peas. Those two are my most hated foods and I’m usually rude and don’t eat them if I’m served them. Hummus won’t work either.

  3. My little sister HATES the “dirt” taste of beets (which I think exists more in big beets than girl-fist size beets), but she loves them raw, grated in salads. My only preference is that they be in my belly, no matter what form. 🙂 I STILL have to try the beet chips!

    Oh, having experimented with beets (and their greens) in both bread and rice stuffing, I can report that they turn out delicious…and ugly.

    • If you can make dandelion greens that aren’t insanely bitter, I’d love to be converted! It’s the only veggie coming to mind that I just can’t eat.

  4. Wow! The second beet post this morning in my RSS feed!

    The other: http://theppk.com/blog/2010/01/11/tin-foil-beets/

    • theredmenaceeats

      It’s that time of year, I think! I’ve got something about turnips on tap for later this month – root veggies are in their glory.

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