beets

beets are beautiful

I wanted so much today to write about a light, crunchy spring vegetable.

We had high hopes on Saturday. The day bloomed brightly, the sunlight entering the bedroom before our eyes awoke. For half an hour, we just wandered around the backyard, breathing in the smells of bushes bursting with flowers. Every spring, I notice this new: the earth has a smell again. For months on end, everything lies under damp and grey soil, hiding. When spring begins, everything gives up its smell.

Walking to the farmers’ market, the Chef and I held hands and laughed. He was in a short-sleeve shirt; I was wearing a sleeveless maternity blouse. Everyone looked happy, even the street kids slouching against doorways. The Ave is nearly as scrungy as it was fifteen years ago, all the edges scuffed. But on days like Saturday — the temperature a startling 79* — everything looked beautiful as we walked into the farmers’ market.

Musicians played fiddles and guitars, small clutches of children dancing before them, a man coming forward from the crowd to launch into a harmonica solo. Three times as many people shuffled between stands as a few weeks before. Children ran from mother to vendor, eager for treats. We all convinced ourselves, for a few moments, that spring had passed us by, and we had landed in the middle of summer.

And then we looked at the produce available at the stands.

Rutabagas, red kale, Savoy cabbage, and sunchokes. Oh my.

The sun went behind the clouds.

It makes sense. Heavens, only a few weeks ago, the skies rained down hail and sleet on the befuddled citizens of this city. It’s never winter this late in Seattle. The ground full of spring vegetables must have been confused as well. We simply have to wait.

But oh goodness, for a moment, everything deflated. More winter root vegetables?

And so what choice did I have but to buy more beets?

This derisive passage about beets in Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book (At Table) made me laugh out loud: “It is not an inspiring vegetable, unless you have medieval passion for highly coloured food. With all that purple juice bleeding out at the tiniest opportunity, a cook may reasonably feel that beetroot has taken over the kitchen and is far too bossy a vegetable. I have never heard anyone claim it as their favourite.”

For years, I would have agreed with her. I’ve written about this before, how I hated beets. The acrid tangy smell of canned pickled beets put me off their possibilities for years. Since I went gluten-free, however, I am now a committed convert.

However, other than roasting beets and using them as crackers for goat cheese, or enjoying them in salads, I still haven’t explored them fully. Really, I can’t believe this fact is true and that I’m admitting it: I’ve never even eaten a bowl of borscht.

So let’s help each other out here, folks. It may be spring by the calendar, but it’s not yet spring in the markets. And today, the weather was in the 40s, aggressive raindrops splashing in puddles once again. Like it or not, we’re still going to be eating beets for awhile.

How are you still eating your beets, impassioned?

88 comments on “beets

  1. Sholeh

    My mother puts them in a pyrex dish with some water and cooks them in the oven. Then we cut it up and eat it with some mashed potatoes and roast beef. Simple, but adds some color (and as a kid, the color fascinated me).

    Also, my Persian family mixes beets (cooked in the same way as above, then cooled) with some plain cold yogurt (often homemade), and eat it either with the meal or as a kind of dessert at the end of a meal. Very refreshing.

  2. Anonymous

    Beets are great, this is my favorite way to cook them (at the moment): Fry a finely chopped onion in a bit of olive oil until soft and almost brown, add enough garlic and a bunch of cooked, diced beetroot together with some of the liquid from the cooking of the beets. When this is simmering, add some feta cheese and let it melt so it becomes a substantial but not too thick sauce. Season with pepper, add capers etc. according to taste and serve with pasta, yum!

  3. Jean

    Beetroot (as we call it in Australia) is also fantastic raw. So can indeed take on a more spring like feel. Grate it and mix with grated carrot and/ or other grated root vegetables (e.g celeriac) for a delicious slaw or just throw it into leafy salads.

    Another recent favourite is to roast it whole then peel and dice, add cooked chickpeas, cilantro and a mustardy vinaigrette for a great salad that is delectable aside a piece of grilled meat or fish or a meal on its own with the addition of some feta.

  4. Pille

    Shauna, beets are lovely — and yes, that counts for the colour as well :) I must have about 20 recipes for using beets on my blog (incl. beet pesto, beetroot hummus, tartlets, beetroot marbled & pickled eggs, vegetarian beetroot borscht, beet soup with horseradish, beet soup with goat’s cheese, beetroot & blue cheese risotto — all gluten-free as well). Alanna and Bea are also great sources for beetroot recipes — hope you’ll find something delicious to feed you, the Chef and the Baby!

  5. Jenn

    I’m not a huge fan of beets, except for when they are simply wrapped in foil with some butter, and tossed on the barbeque. They take a long time to cook, but they turn out crispy on the outside, soft and smokey in the inside.

  6. Nick

    Now that it’s spring, I’ve been eating beets in salads, but grated raw instead of roasted. There’s a great recipe for grated carrot and beetroot salad posted recently at Chocolate and Zucchini.

  7. Anonymous

    My five-year-old daughter will devour a bowlful of beets cooked plain, but I prefer them with a bit of flavorful adornment. One spring afternoon a few years ago I made up this recipe, best with beets recent from the ground, leaves still fresh.

    Whole Beet Skillet

    one bunch beets with fresh greens (4–6 medium beets)
    1–2 Tbsp. butter
    1–2 Tbsp. lemon juice
    1–2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated finely
    1–2 tsp. honey, optional

    Cut greens off beets, leaving about 1/2 inch of stem on beets. Place beets in large saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beets are tender when pierced with fork, 15–30 minutes, depending on size. Drain, rinse with cold water to cool slightly, set aside.

    While beets are cooking, cut entire stem off beet greens. Chop stems into one inch pieces. Chop greens, keeping separate from stems.

    When beets have cooled enough to handle, slip peel off with fingers. Cut beets in 1/2 inch slices.

    Melt butter in a large heavy skillet, add chopped stems and saute until tender. Add greens, saute until bright green and just tender. Add sliced beets, heat through. Stir in lemon juice, ginger and optional honey. Serve immediately to hungry tummies!

    (I’ll put in a plug here for the 2005 cookbook, Simply in Season, to which I submitted this recipe. It contains tested and tasty recipes from folks all over North America and beyond who are using fresh local food in season.)

    –Kris

  8. emma

    Beets… I make a pureed soup of them with some onions and maybe some potatoes, for extra creaminess. Some fresh thyme, maybe.

    The best thing about the soup is the colour, if there’s lot of potato and not that much beet it will be pink!

  9. Patricia

    Like you, I never liked beets until I had them fresh as an adult. A couple of weeks back I had a wonderful cream of beet soup with horseradish at a restaurant. Something like that would seem easy enough to throw together.

  10. Lindsay

    Ahh, beets. I’m so glad you are writing about this. I love their earthiness. I tend to boil them whole, then rub the skins off underwater — watching them bleed slightly under my thumbs. I cut them into thickish half-moons and put them into a glass bowl. Let them cool down some. I pickle some shoestring red onions with brown rice vinegar and sugar, slice up some apples. Then I combine every– thing together. Dress it with olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper, a little honey or maple syrup or agave, fresh mint and parsley chopped in, then put it in the fridge. When it’s cool enough, I add goat cheese. Wonderful little “spring” salad.

  11. zohreh

    I love beets! They were always a treat for me because we only ate them at my french grandmother’s farm about twice a year. Now I make beets at least once a month, or whenever I get homesick. My husband’s favorite way to eat them is in my beet soup. Not quite a borscht, as it’s made without cabbage, but it is very tasty and quick to make if you have a food processor:

    Grate the following and mix into a pot :
    2 medium beets
    2 carrots
    1 large potato
    1/2 fennel bulb
    1 large onion
    1 shallot

    Cover with water, add:
    1 splash olive oil
    1 tbsp tomato paste
    1 tsp sugar
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 heaping tbsp smoked paprika
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    When the soup has simmered for about an hour I add a handful of chopped fresh dill or parsley. It’s delicious and ridiculously healthy.

  12. AnticiPlate

    Wasn’t Saturday in Seattle a tease! I love beets as well. I recently made a dish with beet greens, so I had to buy two bunches of beets. After roasting the beets, I made a lovely beet risotto with shrimp (gluten-free) that was delicious, and perfect magenta in color. I have to admit, I have also never eaten a bowl of borscht either. Maybe it is the name.…

  13. Anonymous

    I like them roasted in vinaigrette, made into soup, and in salad, with preserved lemons and thinly sliced leeks. :)

    –Sarah

  14. kyrie

    i LOVE beets! i just “discovered” them this year. my favorite way is roasted, then julienned and served room temp in a salad with perfectly cooked green beans, a raspberry vinegarette, and some gorgeous fresh chevre. the kind of salad to get obsessed with!

  15. Elizabeth

    Grated raw, with a splash of interesting vinegar/acid and complementary oil and herb of choice (rice/sesame/garlic chives, balsamic/olive/rosemary, lemon juice/hazelnut/thyme).

    Roasted with carrots, parsnips, and fresh ginger.

    Parboiled, diced, and fried up with potatoes and onions for RED flannel hash, underneath a fried-but-still-creamy-yolked egg and some good sea salt.

    Pickled with hardboiled eggs, because that’s what my grandmother always did, and the purple edge to the sliced eggs is very cool. Mayonnaise is required on top of the sliced pickled beets and eggs.

    Julienned and simmered in cardamom-spiked simple syrup, topped with Greek yoghurt and toasted pistachios.

    I could go on …

  16. Katie

    I love beets, and would definitely consider them one of my favorite vegetables. I tend to like my vegetables in the simplest form possible, so I peel them, slice them thin and coat them in olive oil and kosher salt, then roast them. I have to try to time them to be the last things to finish, because otherwise I eat them all before the rest of my dinner (lunch… snack…) is ready.
    I’ve finally come to accept the fact that my hands will be purple afterwards, although I find that washing my hands frequently with dish detergent makes the problem almost non-existent.

  17. Sandhya

    I eat like this:
    1. Basmati/Jasmine rice
    2. Yoghurt
    3. Beets — half-boiled, sauteed in sesame oil, with sea-salt, chilli flakes, a dash of lemon and cilantro.

  18. Kez

    no one’s favourite? they’re for sure in my top five vegetable.

    I like mine sliced in thin half moons, sauteed in olive oil and balsamic (or apple c.v.) till slightly soft and sweet. add crumbled chevre, chopped roasted (or not) walnuts, green onions, some salt and pepper.

    the best and most delicious beet salad.

  19. Alison

    I’m chuckling because when I first saw your picture of the beets I was thinking, “I love pickled beets…can that really be the only way I eat beets?”

    I guess it is, we both need enlightenment! :)

  20. sweetpea

    There are a few things I just can’t bring myself to, beets are on that list!. My cooking idol Ina Garten has a picture of a summer beet borscht in her cookbook Barefoot at Home. It looks so beautiful and beckoning but I just can’t muster up the willingness to give it a try. It has been cold and wet here as well. I am so ready for the spring harvest that yesterday I resorted to frozen peas to make a fresh pea soup. The soup was wonderful but I missed shelling the peas myself. Enjoy your beets!

  21. Melissa

    I’m still a sucker for roasting them. Trim first, wrap individually in foil, place directly on the oven rack. Roast for 45 mins. Plunge into ice water, skin peels right off. Delish as is, or toss with some chopped raw fennel for a crunchy sweet warmish salad.

  22. katie stone

    beets and pasta go wonderfully together…beet gnocchi is WONDERFUL, although at the moment i can not find my recipe. i’d bet it’s googleable though ;-) also–making agnolotti with soft goat cheese and a dollup of pureed beets (with a tad of balsamic all stuffed into the little agnolotti pockets) is heaven on earth.

    i am having some rather craptastic digestive difficulties and this blog (as well as your book) have been an entertaining and informative oasis for me. thank you shauna!

  23. Alison

    I’ve been mulling over the idea of ravioli stuffed with beets and maybe goat cheese? maybe thin slices of caramelized onions? lately. But would the beets turn everything pink? And would that be a bad thing? I’m one of those with the medieval passions, I’m afraid. Our favorite way to eat beets at my house is to mix them up with white rice so that the rice turns pink. My three year old holds pink rice in very high esteem.

  24. Gaile

    oo, i adore this cold beet salad — it’s just beets, raw red onion, a bit of olive oil, lime juice, a bit of champagne vinegar, cumin, and lots of bright parsley, although cilantro would also be nice, left in the fridge for a morning to get nice and pickly and bright, then topped with spicy roasted pumpkin seeds. It doesn’t taste wintry at all!

  25. Katya

    wow, i can’t believe i am the first to post a comment about beets. being ukrainian, beets are integral part of the eastern europeaners diet (when importing tasty vegi’s from warmer climates was not an option)

    just yesterday, we boiled some beets (stems too). you can cut up the stem and add it too boiled eggs and onions, sprinkle vinegar.

    my personal favorite is: slice up cold beets, pickles, cooked potatoe (a cold one which can easily be sliced), onion, and balsamic vinegar, chill! yum

    also, i like to use the stems and leaves and make kind of like a vegi fritter. beet stems, spinach, kale and anything else. make patties using egg and maybe some rice flour (i am not sure if rice is the best, need to experiment) and then fry. this is a take on a potato latka.

  26. Lora

    I wrap them in foil and then roast them. Cool, peel, cut up and throw on a salad of mixed baby greens with goat cheese, toasted walnuts and a raspberry vinaigrette…hmmm, now I know what I’m having for lunch!

  27. La Niña

    Beets can’t be beat. We grow them and eat them in all ways. My favorite way is the simplest, and I adapted it from the old Green’s cookbook.

    Roast the beets– roots attached, with about one inch of stem still there– in a pyrex dish with lid– with about an inch of water. 400ºf oven– for about 45–55 minutes depending on beet size. Let cool and peel.

    Make the walnut vinaigrette: 1 TBL balsamic vinegar, 1 TBL sherry vinegar, 1 TBL walnut oil, 2–3 TBL olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, salt and pepper to taste.

    You can chop the beets and mix them into the vinaigrette for a savory salad with feta… or take the completed mix of beets and vinaigrette and put it in the food processor and turn it into an amazing relish. I put the relish on top of grilled hamburger with melted goat cheese. It’s fork and knife food since we don’t have buns… BUT we just did it with AREPAS this weekend– and it worked!

    My other favorite use of beets is to make a beet and fresh sweet corn risotto and top with fresh chives and grilled spot prawns. Prawn season (recreational) opens May 1st!

    I grew up on Borsht– my Russian grandmother kept it in the fridge as a staple. I loved it COLD in the summertime– with a huge dollop of sour cream floating like a cloud. Swirling to create the most magnificent pink color was my favorite part.

  28. Tiffany

    I tried beets again recently, thinking that my adult palate would like them. Nope. I still hate them. They taste like dirt.

  29. Nava

    Hi,
    Hope you and th chef and LB are all fine and happy :)
    My favorite recipe similar to what Sholeh mentioned: cooked, grated into a bowl of yogurt, pinch of salt and pepper…mmm!and that’s heaven.

  30. Lisa

    Yum, borsht! You absolutely have to make some! It’s so good… My Ukrainian former roommate’s parents introduced me to Russian beet salad — I think it’s called “Vinaigrette”. So good. If you google it, you’re sure to find a recipe…

  31. Dolores

    My mom used to make a winter dish, warm and tasty… boiled beets, peeled after cool down, slided and put in a pirex, hard boiled eggs in half, and all covered by white sauce, grated cheese and au gratin… Delicious!!!

  32. Anonymous

    Beets — yum — my favorite root veggie!
    Borscht is tasty — I always put caraway seeds in mine and hand-blend half the soup for a creamy/chunky texture.
    I use beets in salads frequently — steamed, roasted or raw — they are all brilliant.
    Also freshly juiced they are amazing, along with celery, carrots, apples and ginger. Very healthy!

  33. Caitlin

    Roasted up with carrots, parsnips, sweet potato slices, and big sections of onion. Salt, pepper, olive oil, and rosemary. Mmmm! Maybe Elliott would enjoy some beet juice fingerpainting?

  34. Beth

    I just had to post (for the very first time). I love beets! My boyfriend says I have a passion for peasant food (beets, cabbage, potatoes — love me all). My boyfriend even went to the trouble of compiling a all beat recipe book for me for Christmas. I haven’t made a lot of the recipes, mostly just the Borscht! mmmm.

  35. Macavity

    Not required to be gluten free but I like your blog.. :o)

    My mom adds cooked, pureed beets to tomato soup in winter esp. when the tomatoes aren’t sweet enough..

    My personal favourite way to eat (cooked = boiled or roasted) beets is to cut them up in thin slices and layer them on bread slathered with some spicy cilantro chutney. Usually, I add thinly sliced onions, tomatoes and potatoes to the stack as well along with a dash of salt, pepper and garam masala on all the veggies. :o) Chutney sandwiches Bombay style!!!

  36. Laura

    Ha! I was just thinking of making borscht tonight, since I have a bag of beets and a cabbage sitting around in my fridge.

    But my favorite way to eat them is how my mom made them: roasted, then sliced and tossed while still warm with (quite a bit of) butter, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Mom and I were the only ones who liked beets, so sometimes we’d just split them between us, in the kitchen, straight out of the pan.

  37. Nick

    beets are a great food that I have not explored enough. The best beet dish I had (and would definitely make) is a shredded beet and celery root salad, simple as that. Tossed in a very light vinegarette. My taste buds are going now.

    - The Peanut Butter Boy

  38. Margot

    I’ll echo the rest of the people who have expressed their love for beets.

    Here’s a pretty great recipe that I picked up from the Wednesday Chef. My parents gave it two thumbs up as well. Granted it’s a pretty unnaturally pink color (sour cream really draws out the pigment) — but worth it. The fried capers? Essential! Allow time for the beets to bake/roast in the oven — I realize the recipe says 45–60 minutes, but mine went for 1.5 hours.

    Beet Salad with Horseradish and Fried Capers
    1 ½ lbs. small beets, trimmed and scrubbed
    ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for beets and frying capers
    2 tablespoons salt-packed or brined capers
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 ½ tablespoons horseradish, more to taste
    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon sour cream
    Sea salt to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place beets on half of a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Fold the foil and seal the edges. Lay package on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Roast until beets are tender, 45 to 60 minutes. (Test by poking a fork through the foil into a beet.) Remove from the oven. Be careful when opening the foil; steam will race out. While still warm, peel beets, then slice into wedges and place in a bowl.

    2. Soak salt-packed capers for 10 minutes, drain, rinse, then pat dry. (If using brined capers, drain and pat dry.) Pour 1/2 inch olive oil into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot enough to toast a bread crumb in 30 seconds, add capers. Be careful; oil may sputter. Fry until capers fluff and begin to brown on edges, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels.

    3. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, horseradish and vinegar. Whisk in 1/4 cup oil, followed by sour cream. Pour half the dressing over beets; m

  39. Anonymous

    ::sigh:: It sounds like your Seattle weather and my Portland weather are in cahoots–and our market veggies (or lack thereof) as well!

    I couldn’t resist buying a particularly perky bunch of those ruby red bulbs with their firm, fresh leaves–but then when I got home, I couldn’t bring myself to cook them. I couldn’t look at red-stained beet fingers (or beet counters or beet knives) again this season. (Does anyone have a cure for that?)

    I handed the roots to my roommate who threw them into his juicer with apples, carrots and a rib of celery. We loose the fiber and concentrate the sugars.… but still: oh, yum.

  40. Flanboyant Eats

    absolutely beautiful picture, as much as I hate beets!I was just at whole foods last night with my father and he stood there like a child in utter amazement at how pretty they were. He loves them.

    Nice job.

  41. Jennywenny

    I like to steam them in the microwave then mix them with sweetcorn, edamame, onions etc for a kind of succotash.

  42. Argy

    * greek yoghurt
    * boiled beets cut in cubes and marinated in olive oil with wine vinegar for a day
    * a lot of halved walnuts
    * crushed garlic to your liking
    * salt & pepper

    mix ’ em all together

    cheers!

  43. London Still

    Ohhh my goodness beetroot. I have had a very fickle past with this elusive vegetable. When I was a teenager I worked at a Greek restaurant and broiled beets as a salad garnish were as important a staple as the saganaki. I refused, teenage-like, petulantly remarking that they “smelled of dirt… the bad kind.”

    But adult life has converted me. I eat beets every. single. flippin’. DAY. Salads and roasted crisps of course, but have you ever tried the gorgeous pink moistness of a BEETROOT CAKE? (Like banana/zucchini/carrot cake only NATURALLY BRIGHT PINK?)

    … It makes me go all ga ga for nature.

  44. Anonymous

    Regarding beet-stained fingers: my mom always used to put a little lemon juice in a bowl and rub her fingers around in it until any garden or food stains came out.

    Another way to enjoy hidden beets is to grate them into chocolate cake batter for moist deliciousness!

    –Kris

  45. Delilah

    I’ll give another plug — and recipe — for Ukrainian “Vinagret” salad. Cook beets, potatoes, and carrots. Cube and add cooked peas, white beans and chopped pickle. Toss with a light oil, salt and pepper. Maybe some oregano if you really want to go all out with flavor. (Ukrainian cuisine tends to the bland). A pacific rim variation: substitute shelled edamame for the peas. Enjoy!

  46. Sally Parrott Ashbrook

    What a gorgeous photo. I love how the beets pick up that hint of pink in the background.

  47. melissa

    I still adore them roasted till buttery soft. Oh, beets! They weren’t something I grew up eating so admittedly, I’m still in the honeymoon stage. They DO inspire me, though.

    One of my favorite restaurants made a salad one time that I have yet to forget. Frisee, sliced beets (cooked but cold), candied walnuts, and crumbled tangy blue cheese (forget which kind), tossed in an orange vinaigrette. It was a triumph.

  48. Rosita

    I love beets as well. I remember being so excited as a child when we could finally harvest them from our garden. We used the root and the leaves. My mother once even dyed curtains in the juice it was cooked in to match my sister’s pink room. (I think she set the dye with vinegar, but I can’t remember for sure.)

    My most recent beet recipe find was from Foodgeeks.com. It is excellent.

    Summer Beet and Walnut Salad

    4 large beets
    4 green apples
    1–1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
    1–1/2 cups crushed walnuts
    1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 tsp. sugar

    Directions:
    Cook beets for about a half an hour or until tender. Let beets cool and then chop. Chop apples and crush walnuts if needed. Mix vinegar, olive oil and sugar. Toss apples, beets, walnuts, and feta, then stir in olive oil mixture. Serve or let sit over night.

  49. Sasha

    Yum. I like beets juiced with apples, carrots and ginger, or like many here, grated raw on salads– especially good with sugar snap peas and miso-lemon dressing!

  50. jesi

    a great way to freshen them up is to cut, steam, and toss with fresh lime juice and cilantro, let them cool in fridge…then you have a beet lime cilantro burst of goodness. oh and beets are my favorite!!!

  51. EB

    I love to make a roast beet salad. I roast both yellow and red if possible then put that on top of some arugula. I roll some goat cheese in breadcrumbs and herbs and toss the balls under the broiler for a few minutes. The oozy cheese plus a light vinaigrette finish off the salad.

  52. Monica

    Mmm. Roasted. Mmmm. Borscht — it’s very easy to make! My kids both love beets, and will both eat as many raw as I’ll let them have while I’m cutting them up for borscht or roasting. I never actually tried them raw, but they really, really go for beets, raw, roasted, in borscht (it’s amusing to see an under-2-year-old devour an enormous serving of borscht and ask for more! Not only because she gets completely covered in the lovely red color), in salad, however they can get them. They even like the canned ones, although I don’t get canned pickled ones.

  53. courtney

    Actually living in Fl, I don’t see to many winter veggies. That includes beets, so when I do see them I say “well I don’t know how to cook it I will buy it next week” and then it isn’t there or I forget. So I have never had a non canned beet.

    LOVE their color though.

  54. Sho

    I have always hated beets, and I cannot stand the smell of borscht. Passover is this weekend, and I already bought a jar of borscht, but I will hold my nose when I pour it out and leave the room after serving it.

    Recently, however, I had “root chips” from Trader Joe’s. I liked them, and that was the first time I ever really ate a beet. Therefore, I think your idea of sliced roasted beets as crackers is ideal. Maybe it is just the wet beets that I cannot stand.

    Speaking of PASSOVER, I have to mention that I bought some delicious gluten-free goodies. Many of the cakes and cookies sold for Passover are also gluten free. I actually ate rainbow cookies yesterday. I also bought a chocolate cake and potato macaroni. But the borscht I could live without!

  55. mamasitamaya

    Beets are now one of my most favorite vegetables, but I also used to hate them back when I had only experienced the pickled version. We enjoy them roasted with potatoes, onions, carrots and chanterelles in the Fall as a side dish to chicken. In summer, I love a beet salad (peeled, cubed and roasted first in the oven, or on the barbecue with skin on, then peeled and cubed) with cilantro, orange juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Yum! Beets are a vegetable that is cleansing to the system, and also a great way to get your fiber (which takes on a new meaning during the last few weeks of pregnancy. You’ll see what I mean).

  56. Jill

    I don’t know if the Native Americans had beets, but growing up in Arizona informs most of what I cook. I made a variation of a roasted red pepper and carrot soup by adding beets. I don’t have a recipe, but you know, you’ve made a puréed veg soup before, I’m sure. I make sure that there is plenty of cumin, thyme, and depending on your heat meter, I love to add 2 T of the sauce that comes in those cans of Chipoltle peppers in Adobo. It adds something smoky and mysterious and a little dangerous to the soup. You could cream the soup, although I usually don’t, so I can plop a dollop of sour cream in the middle of the bowl.

    It’s not terribly “springy” but it does drive the doom out of the house on a rainy day.

    p.s. depending on your veg, or the day, if the soup is “flat” tasting, add 1/2 t of red wine vinegar. For some reason that usually aligns the spectrum.

    Thanks for giving us the chance to share our ideas.

  57. LC

    Finally someone I can chat with. I just found out that I am allergic to gluten and I am having such a hard time finding the foods to replace. Especially since I LOVE pasta. I see you have a recipe for gluten free ravioli… I must buy your book and will visit your site often.
    Thank you!
    Lori

  58. Cat

    What perfect timing! This week has been my “conquer the beet” week. It’s part distraction from wanting so badly to see greens at the farmer’s market, and part determination to appreciate a vegetable one of my college roommates loved enough to call “candy”.
    We got in way over our heads on the first try with what should have been labeled an advanced beet-lovers dish; mostly raw beets with raw garlic… Too much for beet beginners! Last night we roasted them simply with carrots, over rice and tofu. It was sweet and delicious. I’m secretly hoping the greens come out before we resort to borscht, but I’m happy to have found a new home for beets in my kitchen.

  59. Anonymous

    I don’t have any inspired beet recipes like the other fair readers. I just want to speak on behalf of this most glorious, glorious vegetable. I’ll eat it in any form. ANY FORM. I wish it got more respect. On occasion, roasted, sliced beets are offered up by my company’s cafeteria as a side veg. The cooks laugh when I come over and fill an entire takeout container with beets and make them my meal.

    There’s a wonderful restaurant in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago called Lula’s, which has offered beet bruschetta on its menu … made with roasted beets and goat cheese. DIVINE!

  60. beatgrl

    Beets are amazingly good in tomato based pasta sauce. Really! I sautee them in olive oil with the onions. MMM. The pasta gets a wonderful color.

    I also love beet fried rice, using the greens and all.

    Golden beets are great fried in with the breakfast potatoes.

  61. Allison the Meep

    I really like grilling beets, along with some other veggies like yellow and red peppers and corn, and throwing them all over a bed of arugula. A little bit of goat cheese crumbled on top, and a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

  62. Cinthia

    In my country we usually eat beets in ensalada russa (Russian Salad). It’s basically just potato salad (with hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, mayo, etc.) with cubed beets. It turns the potato salad a lovely purple-pink color. Some people add carrots and peas as well… and though I really don’t like beets on their own, I can eat them in potato salad like nobody’s business!

  63. col @ gigablonde :: things to do in ny when you're [not] dead

    Shauna, *HOW* do you get such gorgeous, crisp and clear and beautifully lit pictures? This is the second food blog in a row where I’m awestruck-at-their-better-than-my-own photo skills!

    Halp! :)

  64. Robin

    I’ve occasionally mashed up cooked beets into mashed potatoes, they turn hot pink! But they still taste good!

  65. Debbie

    I used to hate beets. They would make me toss my cookies. I proved that when I was forced to eat one bite at Girl Scout camp.
    Then I met my husband. He loved beets. So, as a dutiful wife, I made beets. I liked them, now I love them roasted, simmered, raw, any way I can get them. I add some ginger or mustard seed when I cook them.
    I also have been trying different greens and had not found one that was palatable. I tried chard, kale, and other greens, but yuk. But beet greens are a different story. I will eat them any time.

  66. Raw Food Diva

    The only way I can eat a beet is raw in a salad, other than that I just buy them and let them rot in my fridge!

  67. laura

    I once ate at a Middle eastern restaurant in Chicago and the hummus was served spread flat on a platter and decorated with tiny colored vegetables in shapes…little red, orange and yellow pepper diamonds, slivers of carrots and my favorites…little heart shaped pieces of beets…no bigger than peas..it was an edible mandala and I’ve been a beet fan ever since…

  68. Amy

    I made beet hummus last fall. It wasn’t the best hummus in the world — but it was decidely pretty. I would make it again — but use less beets more chickpeas (I did about 1/2 and 1/2). It had a tangy, earthy flavor. I love beats just boiled with a little bit of butter.

  69. Kathy

    Shauna, I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this to you…but your calendar doesn’t have anything on it for April or May. I thought you mentioned you were teaching cooking classes recently. Many of us would like to see you and go to your cooking classes and such…but they’re not on your calendar!

    I’ve read some of the comments to your blog…and it’s gotta be a little interesting (and maybe scary?)to have all these people feel like they know you and want to come stay with you or invite you over to their house?!! Wow. What a trip.

    Still, I started reading your blog about a month before The Chef was mentioned and I honestly feel like I know you and would be very inclined to treat you as a friend if I ran into you at Pike’s Place. Even more so now that I bought your book (at Bastyr, of all places!). Take care and if a crazy blond runs into you at Pike’s Place and starts rambling on at you like we’re old friends…lets hope its not me…

  70. Anonymous

    I like beets raw shredded with some carrot, parsley, walnuts, balsamic, olive oil, black pepper, and topped with goat cheese (don’t mix in unless you want pink cheese).

    On another subject, Shauna, I read in the Skagit Coop newspaper about your talk at the end of the month. I couldn’t see anything on your Google calendar though. I’m hoping you have other talks closer to Seattle?

  71. Vincci

    I LOVE beets and that just might be the one part I’ll miss about winter. (OK, that and Brussels sprouts) I recently discovered raw beet, carrot and apple salads (which taste deceptively summery when you throw in a sweet, citrus-y dressing) and I also make a mean beet chocolate cake. If I’m feeling a little less creative, my favourite is still roasted with herbs and cheese.

  72. Deborah Dowd

    I love roasted beets in a salad with honey goat cheese and walnuts with a little dijon vinaigrette.

  73. Sarah

    Thanks for the post!

    I’m starting a Gluten Free Basics series tomorrow if you want to check it out. Thanks!

  74. momcan'tdance

    I have to share this! I was taking a break from my busy day, reading all the comments about beets, and musing about how I might add to the comments, when a friend called and asked what I was doing. I said, “I’m reading about beets on a blog”. She immediately said, “Ewwww…beets are yucky!” (Keep in mind this is a 45 year old we’re talking about!) I had to confess that I’ve always loved beets, and have recently rediscovered them. I don’t know why I always feel guilty when I tell people I LOVE the “weird veggies”, like beets and lima beans!

    Can’t add to the recipes. The beet post, and the avocado post, both stumped me, but I got a great big belly laugh from the friend who reverted to being 9 again, wailing “beets are yucky”!

    I couldn’t disagree with her more. Thanks everyone for the inspiration!

  75. Anonymous

    Simply delicious:

    Shredded beets sauteed in butter and tossed with a generous portion of finely chopped fresh baby dill. Serve warm.

    After eating them this way, I’ve no desire to eat them any other!

  76. Emilia

    Beets are one of my favorite vegetables; one of the best recipes I’ve tried — just peel the beets, put them on a salt bed and into the oven until they are done, serve them with some smetana or creme fraiche mixed with blue cheese.

    Canned beets are a bit disgusting, but organic fresh beets are really lovely.

  77. aquard

    They’re great in a homemade veggie burger packed with tons of veggies, brown rice, and beans. The beet gives it a red color reminiscent of the pinkish inside of a beef burger, kind of fun for us vegans!

  78. mattwright

    I did a dish a while back which I found made roasted beets a bit lighter. I served it with some scallops and horseradish emulsion — hopefully this blog link will go through your filters:

    http://mattikaarts.com/blog/?p=497

    The markets are such a tease at the moment here in Seattle. I cannot believe it is still “winter” at them.

  79. Victoria

    we always used them to color our cheeks like Raggedy Anne… :)

    I just finished your book last night and all i have to say is *thank you*. I do not have any sort of food allergies, and yet your words about embracing life, finding options from obstacles, and in general answering “yes” to those tough decisions, has inspired me in so many ways. As we grow up we tend to lose our fearlessness and allow ourselves to feel not as good, pretty, intelligent, talented, whatever, as others. Your message about listening, accepting, loving, and then experimenting is one we all need to hear — everyday. Thank you for your beautiful book.

  80. Ellie

    I had an amazing dinner last night with yellow beet tortellini (Radda Trattoria, Boulder, CO) but my favorite beet recipe is one my mom makes. She essentially makes a pan-sized beet latke, or pancake, of shredded beets, a few tablespoons of flour, or other binder, and egg. Let it cook until it carmelizes and then flip and do the same on teh other side. I’ve got a bunch waiting for me at home.

  81. Anonymous

    Grilled on the barbecue, alongside squash, peppers, and sweet potatoes. Peel off the charred skin and savor the smoky, soft deliciousness.

    mmmm… can’t wait for summer!

    Brenda

  82. Spring

    This salad is soooo simple and it embraces the beet’s sweetness. Even sceptical dinner guests have been converted by it:). The color is amazing (maroon/pink) and it works great as an appetizer or with savory dishes.

    1. Grate one part apple and two parts raw beets. Drain off some of the juice (optional).

    2. Add a few tablespoons sour cream.

    3. Add fresh lemon juice.

    4. Taste it and see if it needs more lemon juice or sour cream. You’ll want it tangy but not too sour.

    5. Enjoy!

  83. Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum

    shred them and then shred jimaca…toss w/ some vinegar based dressing. like a slaw. shred them raw.