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July 18, 2010

The Beets Go On

Filed under: Food — Twistie @ 11:41 am

Darlings, I have a confession to make, foodie what I am and all: I loathe beets.

Now this would not normally be that bad a problem. You see, most of the foods I dislike intensely are also foods that Mr. Twistie either loathes or finds too terrifying to contemplate. The difference here is that Mr. Twistie likes beets very much.

We recently joined a CSA and are now getting regular deliveries of yummy organic veggies. Now I was given the option to customize what we get and quickly knocked a couple things off the list for all time. Mushrooms? Not at Casa Twistie. Asparagus? Give it to someone who wants it. But when it came to beets, I said to myself that since I was taking the zucchini and the eggplants and the cauliflower and the melons and the blueberries and the… well, you get the picture, that I could find a way to deal with beets.

The time has come. In the last box, there sat a bunch of bright ruby beets.

Unfortunately, the only way I’ve ever managed to get a beet down me without triggering a most unladylike gag reflex is in a borscht with plenty of beef and lots of cabbage in it. That’s not an option with the sort of weather we’ve been having. I could try putting it in a salad and liberally disguising it with goat cheese… except that Mr. Twistie reacts to goat cheese the way I usually do to beets.

Basically, I need to find a way to prepare beets that won’t make me gag and that won’t make Mr. Twistie run for the hills in terror. I have about four good-sized beets and their attendant greens to work with.

Hit me with your best shots, guys.

Help Obi-Wan Big Girls. You’re my only hope.


  1. Easiest way, without heating up the kitchen, would be run them through the juicer with carrots, celery and an apple, for a Mr. twistie juice. Otherwise, you’re going to have to roast the suckers

    Comment by Klee — July 18, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

  2. Beets were one of the few foods I hated as a kid too. Now I like them, and honestly I’m not sure why. My only explanation is that they just look and taste so weird that I now find them intriguing rather than scary.

    Since I’ve tried juices and salads with a mix of beets and other reddish vegetables (red pepper, carrots, squash, red leaves) I find myself craving these things, which leads me to believe there’s something in them my body needs more of. I wish I could be more helpful.

    Comment by BSAG — July 18, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  3. Bake beet bread, just like zucchini bread, but with beet root. I always add chocolate chips and up the cinnamon.
    Pickled beet roots.
    Roast beet salad with feta or jack cheese.
    Grated beet salad with vinegar and onions.
    Use the greens like spinach or chard: saute with garlic, cook with niter kebbe onions and garlic, use as a salad green if they are small.

    Comment by Ceri — July 18, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  4. I second pickled beets! They’re perfect. You can eat them hot or cold. And they’re easy to make. I have to admit though that beet bread with chocolate chips sounds a lot more interesting.

    Comment by lucy — July 18, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

  5. Make some miso butter (cream together half unsalted butter and half white miso). Stick the beets in a tinfoil packet with a liberal smear of miso butter and some smashed garlic. Roast at 400 for 20 minutes or so, depending on the amount of beets you’re cooking. Eat.

    So. Delicious.

    Comment by Elizabeth — July 18, 2010 @ 2:28 pm

  6. The New York Times has been concentrating on beets lately. These two recipes sounded good to me: — for a cold borscht — avocado, citrus, beet salad.

    Comment by Fabrisse — July 18, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  7. Roast beets, either inside or on the grill. Skin. Let cool enough to slice, then slice thinly. Toss with a honey chipotle vinaigrette (recipe for faking it fast: Chipotle Tabasco Sauce, Olive Oil, Honey to taste). Eat warm or at room temperature or cold, but it’s better warm.

    I’m not a huge beet fan myself, but I really like them this way.

    Comment by TropicalChrome — July 18, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

  8. I am so glad beet season is long over here in Texas. The first week I got a bunch in my CSA box I was happy, but by the 4th week in a row I never wanted to see another beet in my life!

    My most successful beet dish – I roasted, chilled and diced them and then added to raw diced fennel, coarsely chopped cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper.

    Comment by Chiken — July 18, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

  9. Slice them into thin rounds, toss in olive oil & salt, roast in the oven (400F) or over a grill, then while they’re still warm, plate them up with salad greens dressed with your favourite vinaigrette, toasted walnuts (or candied walnuts if you like the sweeness) & blue cheese – makes a great dinner salad. Mix in slices of sweet potato prepared the same way for extra colour & flavour points.

    I always hated beets until I tried them again in my 30s – I found out they taste completely different than I remembered: earthy and slightly sweet.

    Comment by Char — July 18, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

  10. Since there are many fine suggestions above, I will instead tell you of two delicious dishes with beets. One is a salad that is served at Moscow on the Hill, a charming little restaurant here in St. Paul. It is deceptively simple, and yet I cannot re-create it at home! Cooked beets cubed quite small, a bit of mayonnaise (or is it sour cream?), walnuts or pecans chopped very fine, and the delightful surprise of a Cognac prune smack in the middle of it.

    The other is a dessert that I make when I have time and want to get on Mr. Hendricks’ good side. It’s a variation of an Indian sweet called halwa, usually made with carrots. I substitute grated beets, which are cooked for a very long time in whole milk till it is all absorbed, then sugar and ghee are added and it’s cooked, again, for no short amount of time. Cardamom and raisins (sultanas) are added at the end, and I usually serve it with chopped pistachios. The beets still retain some texture, but the color and taste are really out of this world, odd as it may sound.

    Keep giving them a try. I know you’ll come to love them as so many of us do!

    Comment by Mrs. Hendricks — July 18, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

  11. Beet chocolate cake! Beet chocolate cake! I’m not even kidding, they are sweet and full of moisture and make an awesome cake.

    Comment by Violet — July 18, 2010 @ 7:24 pm

  12. You know, I hadn’t ever thought of grating beets or cutting them into tiny cubes, for some reason. I’m thinking some of the suggestions along those lines have a better chance of working for me. Big slices? Tried them in a salad just a couple weeks ago and barely managed to get one down. Pushed the other two slices around my plate until I could give up the dish entirely.

    I do tend to retry things I couldn’t stomach as a child (there aren’t a great many, but there are some and I try to be fair to them) once in a while. Most of them I find I still dislike heartily. At this point, I don’t expect to become best friend with something I’ve detested since I was six. But I figure if Mr. Twistie managed to eat (and even appreciate on some level!) the casserole I made the other night with the last of the cauliflower and a whole summer squash, then I can find a way to choke down the only veggie in the world that he likes and I can’t stand.

    I am determined.

    Keep the suggestions coming!

    Comment by Twistie — July 18, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  13. My absolute favorite way to cook beets comes from “How to Cook Everything” cookbook: Beet “Hash Browns.” Crisp buttery sweet goodness. Honestly, you barely taste that it’s made from beets (even though I do love ’em). Here’s the recipe:


    1 lb fresh beets, scrubbed clean
    2 tbsp fresh rosemary
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
    1/4 cup flour
    2-3 tbsp butter

    Shred the beets with a food processor or box grater. Finely chop the rosemary.

    In a bowl, combine shredded beets with rosemary, salt, pepper, and half of flour.

    Mix together, allowing flour to finely coat the beets; when fully integrated, add the rest of the flour and stir to combine.

    Warm a skillet over medium heat. Add butter and swirl pan until butter starts to brown. Add beet mixture to pan, pressing down with a spatula until beets are in a thin layer. Cook for 5-6 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally and adjusting the temperature if the beets start to brown too quickly.

    Flip the “pancake” (if possible…sometimes it doesn’t hold together well enough to do this!) and brown the other side. If the “pancake” won’t hold together, flip sections of beet mixture and fry until crisp, another 5-6 minutes or so.

    Voila! The edges crisp, everything carmelizes, and it tastes like butter and rosemary and general heaven….Best. Beets. Ever.

    Comment by lazydaisydays — July 18, 2010 @ 8:21 pm

  14. (um, so my mad proofreading skillz are taking a break this weekend too, apparently….that should be THE “How to Cook Everything” cookbook.)

    Comment by lazydaisydays — July 18, 2010 @ 8:26 pm


    ive made this recipe before, and it uses up beets without really having to taste them!

    Comment by Jessica — July 18, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  16. My personal favorite thing to do with beets is to roast them.

    Take a variety of root vegetables (garlic, beets, onions, potatoes, turnips…anything at all) and cube them into reasonably small cubes. Coat generously in olive oil, salt, rosemary and oregano and roast at 400ish (preferably using a cast iron skillet) until tender on the inside.

    As a variant, I also add extra firm tofu that I have sauteed heavily in garlic.

    Note that this recipe also works great for brussel sprouts which were my “Huh? Now what?” veggie from the CSA. Cut in halves, cook on the stove until the sprouts just start to brown, then put them into the oven at 425 until tender.

    Comment by Sidian — July 18, 2010 @ 9:39 pm

  17. Scrub and shred beets. Slice onion into thin half-moons. Heat some olive oil and butter on low in a frying pan. Throw in the onions and beets. Heat on low for a very long time, until the onions and beets caramelize and the whole shebang gets soft and spreadable. Season with salt and pepper. Eat on toast or French bread with butter, goat cheese, or cream cheese.

    Comment by zuzu — July 18, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  18. My absolute favorite salad is spinach, raw grated beets, walnuts (candied walnuts are particularly tasty) and feta cheese with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It looks gorgeous and tastes fantastic.

    Comment by Meena — July 19, 2010 @ 12:50 am

  19. Cook and peel beets. Put into mixer with half their weight of strawberries (e.g. a half pound of strawberries to one pound of beets), 3 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar, seeds from one green cardamom pod (I put in more, but I’m crazy about cardamom) 1 cup water. Liquidize. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cool in the fridge for at least two hours. Serve cold with a thread of olive oil and a few sprouts or chopped herbs. Voilà, “gazpacho aux betteraves et fraises”. Believe me, it’s great! I first had it in Paris (I often order weird-sounding food when travelling) and had to re-create it the instant I got back home!

    Comment by dinazad — July 19, 2010 @ 4:04 am

  20. lazydaisydays, those hash browns sound awesome, I’m definitely trying those this week!

    Comment by dinazad — July 19, 2010 @ 4:07 am

  21. Make a salad with raw grated beets, blueberries, and vinaigrette dressing. Ratio of beet to blueberry is 2:1. Sounds kind of weird but tastes really good. You can add carrots, too.

    Comment by Rebekka — July 19, 2010 @ 5:42 am

  22. I *love* this recipe. I used peanut butter instead of the sesame seed paste:

    Comment by Nemtynakht — July 19, 2010 @ 7:57 am

  23. Alton Brown has a beet slaw recipe, but I haven’t tried it. I like beets and my husband doesn’t, so I roast them, keep them in the fridge and then toss them into salads, or eat a small salad that’s nothing but beets and a creamy dressing.

    Beets keep long enough that you don’t have to eat them. I say let Mr. Twistie eat them all. I go through 2 a week with the roasting/salad approach.

    Comment by Jen Anderson — July 19, 2010 @ 10:01 am

  24. My mother makes a delicious beet salad. Wash the beets very well and place them in a disposable pan (makes it easier in the end), then roast them to caramelize the sugars. Put on rubber gloves to peel off the skins, then let them cool before you slice them very thin. Also get some red onion and some tart apples, slice all of that thin (you don’t HAVE to peel the apples, but the texture is nicer if you do). Toss all that together with a mildly sweet vinaigrette and top with toasted walnuts.

    They don’t seem quite so beet-like after this. You might want to put in more apples than beets, if that makes you happy. A few different apple varieties work well, too, you can you use some of each.

    I hope you can find a way to make them palatable for you!

    Comment by Katsu — July 19, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  25. Everything is better with bacon. For the greens, cook up some bacon in a frying pan and get it nice and crisp. Take the bacon out, leave the pan on the stove and toss the greens in the bacon grease, stir until wilted. Take out and put in a dish and crumble the bacon over the top. Delicious. Obviously, you don’t eat this way ALL the time, but mmmmmmm, bacon.

    I personally love beets so I can’t recommend anything else for the roots except to roast them, skin them then cut them up, dress with a good balsamic vinegar and some sea salt.

    Comment by Mrsbug — July 19, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

  26. I wash the beets, cut off the greens leaving 1″ stems, and roast in a 375 degree oven (ceramic dish with 1/4″ water covered in foil) for 45 min or so. When done, take off the foil and let rest outside the oven until able to handle. Slip the skins off in the sink, cut off stems, then slice or chop. Season with: unsalted melted butter, fresh zest and juice of an orange, sea salt. Coriander can also be added here if desired. I then eat the beets at room temp or slightly chilled on a salad of mixed greens, mache, feta, chopped toasted pecans, with a balsamic dressing (homemade or Newman’s). Pear can also be added.

    All the ideas above so so lovely.

    Comment by txbunny — July 19, 2010 @ 3:06 pm

  27. I have two recipies.
    You’ll have to excuse me if the measurements seems dodgy since I have to use a converter from the metric system.

    One is a classical creamy sallad we serve to fish and at Yule in Sweden and the other is a herring sallad that is russian in origin but we’ve had in the country for centuries.

    1,1 pounds (500g) of boiled or pickled beets.
    2 red apples
    1 yellow onion
    3,4 ounze(1dl) of mayonaisse (have to be real, not light or substitute)
    1 tbs homemade mustard (can do with dijon too)
    3,4 ounce(1dl) of creme fraiche
    salt and pepper

    If the beets are pickled drain them, otherwise dice beets and apples in cubes. How big cubes are up to personal taste, I like them fine and dainty. Chop onion semi-finely. Mix mayo, mustard and creme fraiche. Add the greens and taste with salt and pepper.

    Russian herringsallad (Rosoll)
    1 jar (around 10 filets) of pickled herring (can also be done with smoked or grilled herring)
    Boiled potatoes
    13 ounce (4dl) of boiled beets
    2 apples preferably not sweet. Cored and peeled.
    2 boiled carrots
    3 sour pickled gherkin
    2 red onions
    4 boiled eggs
    5 tbs capers
    2 tbs homemade mustard (dijon works too)
    9 ounce (2,5dl) creme fraiche (actually it should be something we call sour cream but I don’t know if you have that in the states)
    coursely ground blackpepper
    finely ground allspice
    1 tbs crushed cloves

    Chop all the veggies and fruit finely.
    Mash the boiled eggs.
    Slice the filets of herring into slivers.
    Mix the creme fraiche with the mustard and the spices and the beets. If you want more beet flavour you add some of the picklejuice or simmer down the boiling liquid and add some tablespoons of the liguid. The texture should be like a nice spread.
    Mix the capers, carrots, apples and onions and potatoes.
    Now the rest is easy.
    Take a nice deep serving dish and layer everything.
    Begin with the carrot mix. Use half.
    Add slivers of herring on top and then mashed eggs.
    Top off with a thin layer of beetspread. Use less than half so you can get a good thick coating as the last layer.

    If you want to you can add capers on top or leaf parsley.

    Comment by Ravna — July 19, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  28. @ lazydaisydays: Those hashbrowns sound absolutely delicious!

    @ dinazad: Wow! I just might have to make that soup. Amazing.

    Comment by Mrs. Hendricks — July 19, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  29. A café here in Chicago does a wonderful sandwich with thinly sliced (like, mandolin-thin), raw beets on whole wheat bread with walnut butter, watercress and goat cheese (omit for Mr. Twistie). Sounds weird. Tastes great. I get it every time.

    Comment by Janay — July 19, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

  30. I looooooooove pickled beets. They taste mostly like vinegar, sugar, and cloves.

    I also like hot buttered beets, which, oddly, I did not see here. Basically you boil the beets…slip them out of their skins…and while they’re still hot you melt copious amounts of butter on them. You can chunk them up or leave them whole…very tasty, but perhaps too beety for you.

    My aunt used to also make Harvard Beets, but I haven’t had them since I was a little kid so I don’t really have a strong recollection of how they tasted.

    Comment by Cone — July 19, 2010 @ 8:04 pm

  31. Have to chime in here because I just had a wonderful beet salad at a French resto in Montreal this past weekend. Thinly sliced beets (red and yellow), paired with sliced green apple, microgreens (they tasted peppery and oniony, but I don’t know exactly what they were) and then The Most Fantastic Goat Cheese of All Time. Holy Mother of Shoes, was it tasty.

    I must agree with posters above though; put it in a juicer and it just comes out as “sweet” not “beet”.

    Comment by penguinlady — July 19, 2010 @ 8:59 pm

  32. Goodness, we’ve made it to 30 comments without someone complaining about recipes being posted at the blog! I am very much in favor of such good will. (And I love roasted beets, which several people have discussed above.)

    Comment by Chicklet — July 20, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  33. A few thoughts – the first being that I adore beets, and my husband likes them. Since I like the MORE, I usually get dibs when we have them in the share. I suspect that if you boiled them and peeled them and made them available for your husband to put on his salads (or told him to do it his darn self, or had the help take care of it…), those beets would disappear tout de suite. The second thought is that there really aren’t many vegetables that can’t be improved by putting them in chip form, beets included. Thinly slice with a mandoline, coat generously with oil and sparingly with salt, and bake til crispy at 375 or 400. Or fry them, if you have a fryer.

    Comment by Leah — July 20, 2010 @ 10:50 am

  34. Canned beet taste like the dirt they once grew in
    Ah, but fresh beets, a la veggie co-op, sliced and pickled with onion slivers and whole peppercorns are heaven on earth (lest-wise those concocted by my B’loved)

    Blog-on in majesty

    E E L A

    Comment by Akeela — July 20, 2010 @ 11:32 am

  35. The 30 Bucks A Week blog has a nice recipe for chilled borsct:

    Comment by Sarahbyrdd — July 20, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  36. Wow. I was going to say “juice them,” with a little apple and celery. They make the juice such a PRETTY color. But then I read about beet cake and beet bread with chocolate chips. Fantastic. I’m not super crazy about beets–they’re okay–but I want to try that.

    Comment by Leigh Ann — July 20, 2010 @ 1:18 pm

  37. My dad despises beets, but I got him to eat them for Christmas dinner in a mash (my favorite way to consume root veggies!). Simply peel and boil the beets with some peeled potatoes, white sweet potatoes, and parsnips (or whatever root veg you have on hand) until fork-tender, then mash with a good helping of butter and some milk or cream. Salt and pepper to taste, but always add LOTS more salt then you think you’ll need (if you’re afraid, salt a small portion in a bowl and taste it first). A little rosemary or some other aromatic herb tastes great in this too. And it comes out such a pretty color! All hot pink and pretty.

    Comment by Dot — July 20, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  38. Beet chips! Even my veg-phobic husband is okay with these. I brought them to my mother-in-law’s 4th of July birthday picnic, where they were a big hit! Especially good if you eschew potato chips or other processed chips.

    This recipe is from Everyday Food. A mandoline makes cutting even slices easier. I also sprinkled the fresh-from-the-oven chips with kosher salt.

    * 2 medium beets
    * 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Peel beets and slice 1/16 inch thick with a mandoline or knife. In a large bowl, toss beets with extra-virgin olive oil.
    2. On two rimmed baking sheets (or use one sheet and bake in two batches), arrange beets in a single layer. Stack another rimmed baking sheet on top of each. Bake until edges of beets begin to dry out, about 20 minutes. Uncover and rotate sheets. Bake 10 to 20 minutes, removing chips as they become lightened in color. Transfer to a wire rack; chips will crisp up as they cool.

    Comment by MissCheryl — July 21, 2010 @ 2:37 am

  39. Wash the beets, trim the tops off and wrap loosely in aluminum foil. Seal the edges together, but leave room for the beets to steam. When roasted until really tender, peel the beets and cut into chunks.

    Cut about the same amount of watermelon chunks. Place beets and watermelon into a bowl. Shred some fresh basil. Make a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt. Toss and enjoy. (You can also add, to taste, cilantro and/or chopped fennel)

    I love beets, but even my 14 year old loved this salad.

    Comment by Lori — July 22, 2010 @ 10:46 pm

  40. Ceri- I just made zucchini bread and used beets instead of zucchini, like you said, and it came out terrific! I didn’t use chocolate chips but I did put in an extra dash of cinnamon. Mmmm. Chopped walnuts in it came out good.

    Beets are selling here right now for about 50 cents a kilo, so I’m definitely experimenting with a lot of these recipes!

    Comment by Sarah in Israel — July 26, 2010 @ 4:22 pm

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