Recipe Box: Beet It!


Beets really just want to be loved.

They come in fun shapes and sizes, amazing colors, are packed with vitamins, minerals, and are incredibly versatile. But, unfortunately, they get very little respect… I think it’s the sweetness that turns people off.

Mama’s tried to like them but I just can’t. I’m not sure what it is…

It’s not the earthy taste. It’s not the texture. It’s not the sweetness. It’s not the fact that the juice permanently stains clothes (and your fingers…  for a little while). For some reason, beets just aren’t happening for me.

But GP loves them, so when they make their colorful appearance in the farmer’s market, as they did today, he’s like a kid in a candy store. Seriously. He buys bunches in every color and shape. (But it’s Mama who cooks ‘em up for him.)

When you buy them, make sure the beets are firm. Sometimes beets are sold without the greens, but if the greens are still on them, make sure they are not wilted or yellow. If you don’t plan to make them immediately, store them in the fridge in a paper bag or an open plastic bag.

Beets can be roasted, grilled, steamed, baked, boiled or eaten raw. However you decide to prepare them, you’ll want to keep the juices in, so don’t peel them. Leave the tail (which always creeps me out to look at, it reminds me of  a rat’s tail) and about an inch of greens at the top.

Keep the greens you’ve cut off! These cook up like spinach or chard. If you don’t have a use for them right away, blanch them in some boiling salted water for a minute or two, drain and dry. Freeze them for later use when you need a dash of green in a soup or sauce.

I like to roast the beets right after I buy them. They keep really well and I use them in salads and other recipes throughout the week. Beets benefit from a little bit of acid, like lemon juice or really good vinegar (it helps offset the sweetness). If you’ve got more than one kind of beet, keep them separated after you’ve cooked them… they love to bleed all over each other.

Although Mama’s not a big fan, I can tell you people rave about this simple beet recipe. And for the beets, finally some respect. Think of them as the Sally Field of vegetables, screaming: “You like me! You really, really like me!”





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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: