With beet season in full swing these days, we are fairly bursting with them.
I prefer to buy beets with the greens still attached to optimize use of the vegetable. My family has a “Jack Sprat” relationship with beets — he of nursery rhyme fame who, with his wife, licked the platter clean because he ate no fat and she ate no lean.
Mrs. Sprat’s cholesterol aside, my husband, self and daughter love beet roots, and my son eats only the greens — so we waste no part of these healthy veggies.
I picked up two hefty bunches of beets at the Sunday farmers’ market and hoped to serve them up with dinner mid-week. Normally I boil the roots, then peel, chop and season them.
As for the greens, I generally clean and trim them, then sauté them in oil, garlic, salt and pepper. But I was multitasking and didn’t have the spare hands to sauté and boil. So I threw both ends of the beet in the oven and left them alone. The results were great, simple and I did not miss my deadline.
These require no seasoning whatsoever. The natural flavor of the beet is really optimized in this method. The downside is that it does take at least an hour to cook, so if you are pressed for time, go with the stovetop boil.
2 bunches beets, greens removed, leaving about 1-inch stems on the beets
1 tablespoon oil
1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the beets well and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle with oil and toss.
2. If the dish has a lid, cover it; if not, cover the beets with foil and roast in the oven for 60 to 80 minutes (depending on the size of the beet). When done, they should be soft throughout and easily pricked with a knife.
3. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to sit until cool enough to handle. Peel the skin with your hands (it will slide off easily.) Serve warm or at room temperature.
Roasted Beet Greens
Because the greens cook down so much, they yield fewer (or smaller) servings. But they make a wonderful alternative to spinach or kale, and because they come with the beets, they are an economical way to add greens to your table.
2 bunches beet greens, rinsed well and trimmed of twiggy stems.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared greens in a large, shallow baking dish.
2. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and toss to distribute.
3. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes total, stirring the greens and turning them with tongs at least once during cooking. If the edges char, all the better — this adds a nice contrast of texture and flavor.