Sometimes it’s nice to have a really pretty side dish…a really pretty side dish that’s delicious and action-packed with nutrients! Beets are one of my favorite root vegetables. They have such an intense, wonderful color and their delicious flavor is so unique. Like many vegetables, however, beets have gotten a bit of a bad reputation. Here’s the thing…some vegetables are really just not tasty unless they are cooked right. And when I say “really just not tasty,” what I mean is “just plain nasty.”
Beets fall into this category. When I was a kid, the going wisdom on how to cook vegetables was to boil them. Green beans? Boil. Potatoes? Boil. Brussels sprouts? Boil ’em till they fall apart. Beets? Toss them in some water and boil the dickens out of them. That’s just the way it was done! If you like boiled vegetables, that’s awesome and you’re a true veggie fan. Unfortunately, for a lot of people boiling vegetables just doesn’t do the trick, and there are some reasons behind that. Boiling vegetables leaches out vitamins and minerals, and leaves them less nutritious (unless you feel like drinking the water they were boiled in…and who wants to do that?!?). It can also render the vegetables somewhat tasteless and give them a mushy texture. Anyone who remembers gagging down a forkful of soggy, tasteless, mushy vegetable might understandably balk at the idea of preparing that same vegetable now that they’re a grown up, and can choose what they eat! But wait…
Beets are really good roasted!
Really good. You’ll be surprised how good! I’ve never met a vegetable that I didn’t like once it was prepared in a way that enhances its flavor and texture. This recipe for roasted beets with balsamic glaze brings out the amazing flavor of the beets, looks beautiful on your dinner table, and keeps the wonderful nutrients in the beets where they belong.
If you can, buy beets with the tops on. Beet greens are really tasty and are great for you! You can saute them with a little organic coconut oil and some garlic and eat them as a side dish, or you can toss them in your soups or stews. After you’ve taken the tops off the beets, wash them and rub them with a little oil or butter. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt over them, cut them in quarters, and then arrange them on a parchment-lined pan. Pop them in the oven and roast them.
On a side note, if you are a hand model, going out on a first date, or aren’t feeling like answering questions as to what crime you might have recently committed, you might want to wear gloves while cutting beets. Your hands will get very red.
A few minutes before the beets are ready, make a balsamic glaze. It’s really easy to make a glaze, and it’s good on so many things! Just mix a little evaporated cane juice in with some organic balsamic vinegar, then let it simmer until it thickens. Stir in a little orange zest, and then toss the beets with the glaze….oh, yummy! The flavors compliment each other perfectly, and you’ll find that your main course just might get overlooked as the side dish takes center stage.
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Do you like beets? Have you tried them roasted?
Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson