After years of being overlooked, beets are enjoying some well-deserved time in the spotlight, featured on restaurant menus throughout the country. And why not? Their sweet, earthy flavor gives vegetable dishes depth, and you can eat them raw, roasted, pureed and fried—the possibilities are endless. Here are some tips for cooking with beets this season, plus some new ways to enjoy them, straight from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.
Beets: Everything You Need to Know
What to Look For
Choose firm, rounded beets with smooth skins and no noticeable bruising. Fresh beets should have the greens attached and 1 to 2 inches of root end, which looks like a tail. Do not buy beets with wilted, browning leaves; the leafy greens indicate the freshness of the beets.
Today it is not unusual to find beets of all colors at markets. Some of our favorite varieties include golden, pink, white and Chioggia (pronounced kee-OH-gee-uh) beets, which boast deep pink and white spirals, and are sometimes nicknamed candy cane or candy stripe beets.
As soon as you get home from the market, cut the greens from your beets, leaving 1-2 inches of stem attached. You can wash and cook these beet greens on the day you buy them; saute or steam them as you would spinach.
Roasting beets intensifies their flavor and color; beets are best when cooked whole and unpeeled, then peeled and sliced, chopped or mashed afterward. When roasting the root vegetables, be sure to wrap them in aluminum foil first so you won’t have to clean the pan. If boiling beets, leave about 1 inch of the stem and the root end intact to keep the beets from “bleeding” into the cooking water. Once they are fork-tender, let them cool and then slip off their skins. When working with red and pink beets, be prepared for beet-red stains on your hands and countertops — you may want to work on waxed paper and wear gloves.
Beets will not spoil if left at cool room temperature for a few days, but they do best when refrigerated for up to 10 days.
Your Beet Toolkit
- Le Creuset Baker, for roasting beets
- de Buyer Slicer, to shave beets into thin slices
- Vitamix Blender, to blend beets into silky soups
- Breville Juice Fountain, for juicing beets
- 6-Sided Grater, to grate beets for slaws and salads
- Tramontina Deep Fryer, for frying beet chips
These festive looking vegetables are served warm as a side dish, cold in salads, pickled or made into the famous beet soup, borscht. Find more ideas below!
Beet Carpaccio: Using a mandoline, thinly slice peeled multicolored beets and arrange overlapping slices on chilled plates. Top with microgreens. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Finish with flaky sea salt and shaved pecorino romano.
Beet Tartare Crostini: Peel and finely dice roasted beets. Toss with olive oil, minced shallots, minced parsley, lemon juice, orange juice, grated orange zest, salt and pepper. Spoon the beet mixture on top of crostini and top with a dollop of creme fraiche and snipped fresh chives.
Beet Chips: Peel beets and, using a mandoline, very thinly slice. In a large bowl, rinse beet slices until the water runs clear. Drain and dry well. In batches, fry beets in oil at 325°F until crispy, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
Chilled Beet Soup: Saute 1 chopped shallot and 1 clove minced garlic in olive oil. Transfer to blender with 2 large peeled roasted beets, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, lemon juice and fresh dill. With blender running, add vegetable stock until the puree reaches the consistency of soup. Season with salt and serve garnished with yogurt and a dill sprig.
Beet Risotto: Saute small chopped onion in olive oil. Add Arborio rice and cook until lightly toasted. Add white wine and cook until evaporated. Add warm vegetable stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is tender. Add diced roasted beets, butter and grated parmesan and stir vigorously until risotto turns pink. Finish with salt, pepper and shaved parmesan.
Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Walnuts & Goat Cheese: Whisk together chopped shallots, fresh orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Cut peeled roasted beets into wedges and marinate in vinaigrette for 15 minutes. Add arugula to beets and toss to combine. Top with toasted walnuts and crumbled goat cheese.
Serve this Eastern European soup, more commonly known as borscht, on a balmier fall day. Try garnishing it with tangy yogurt and a few fronds of dill for a lovely presentation.
Beets and carrots are both sweet fall root vegetables and make a winning combination, especially when served as a salad and tossed with a tart vinaigrette.
Earthy beets and sweet, pungent blue cheese are a classic pairing, one that stars here in a vegetarian risotto.
For your next fall-themed dinner party, serve a medley of baby rainbow beets, parsnips and other root vegetables alongside roasted meats or poultry.
Gratins typically imply roast vegetable dishes doused in cream or cheese, but this root vegetable version has neither—just herbs, aromatics and rainbow-hued varieties of beets and turnips.