I’ve never been a huge fan of beets. I’ve only tried them a few times, and they always taste like slightly sweet clods of dirt (which is essentially what they are). Not ideal. But I keep seeing them pop up in fancy restaurants and cookbooks, so I finally decided to give roasting beets a shot as part of my crash course in fine dining. Turns out, roasting beets is really easy. I thought the peeling and cutting would be a chore, but since I chose small beets that were very fresh, it was just as easy as cutting potatoes.
I just tossed them with salt, pepper, and olive oil, spread them on a sheet tray, and roasted them for about 40 minutes at 400F, stirring occasionally. I did keep the colors separate because red beets are notoriously staining and I wanted to retain the rainbow effect. I was surprised at how easily the dye came off my cutting board and hands, but if you have problems, America’s Test Kitchen recommends using whitening toothpaste to remove stains. I actually was listening to an episode of ATK in which they made beets (and gave that tip) as I was making these, so, thanks guys!
Meanwhile, I made the citrus vinaigrette. Very simple: it’s equal parts olive oil and citrus juices (I used orange, lemon, and lime), shaken together with the zest of all three fruits and some salt and pepper (please zest before cutting and juicing… just trust me).
The roasted beets came out of the oven softened but not squishy, browned on the edges, and just barely sweet. The citrus vinaigrette was in stark contrast to the beets and prevented the beets from being overwhelmingly earthy. My boyfriend ate a whole bowl and even admitted sort of liking them! It was a lovely appetizer for a fancy date night- and very healthy too! The vinaigrette provided plenty of vitamin C and some unsaturated fat, and the beets are full of fiber, vitamin C, iron, and antioxidants (those vibrant colors have to come from somewhere!).
So if you are a former beet-hater like me, give these a try!
- 1 pound beets of any color
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Zest of 2-3 citrus fruits
- Juice of 2-3 citrus fruits
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and cube the beets.
- Spread beets on a sheet pan covered in foil and toss with oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a shaker and shake to combine.
- Toss the beets in the vinaigrette and serve with the rest of the vinaigrette on the side.