Roasting is absolutely the best way to bring out the earthy flavor of beets; a wonderful addition to a salad or served as a side dish tossed with steamed beet greens, with a main course! The roasting brings out a natural sweetness that boiling or steaming does not. Not that beets need to be cooked for a salad, but the roasting intensifies their deliciousness in combination with greens, legumes, or grains.
Beets are rich in antioxidants and an excellent source of manganese, potassium, vitamin C, and fibre, making them a healthy choice to add to your vegetable repertoire.
That said, beets paired with the flavor of a Blue or Gorgonzola cheese is a match made in heaven. A little indulgence now and again, in moderation of course, never hurt anyone!
Beets roasted in foil
Prepare ahead: 7 x 7 inch sheets of aluminum foil for the number of beets you are roasting. If roasting in foil is an issue for you, line the foil with cooking parchment cut slightly smaller than the foil.
Preheat oven to 425F/220C
- 6-8 medium sized beets, washed and patted dry
- 6-8 lemon zest ribbons, using a vegetable peeler
- 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Lay out the foil sheets (and parchment if using) and brush each generously with olive oil. Place a lemon zest ribbon in the center of each sheet. Top that with several pieces of garlic for each. Brush each beet generously and place on top of the zest and garlic. Sprinkle the lemon thyme onto each beet, followed by lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Draw the foil up loosely around each beet and add an additional drizzle of olive oil and a splash of any remaining lemon juice. Working from the bottom, press the foil tightly around the beet, folding inwards from all sides to completely enclose the beet in the foil. Twist or fold any excess foil at the top into a tight seal. Repeat with the remaining beets and place in a backing tray with ample room between each to allow some air to circulate during roasting.
Place in the oven and roast for approximately 1 hour. The beets are done when you are able to compress the beet slightly when squeezed. If still firm continue to roast, checking every 15 minutes until done.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest until cool enough to handle. You can then open the foil and remove the beets. The skin should now slip off rather easily. Don’t worry if you can’t remove all the skin. It is thin and quite digestible.
At this point you can slice the beets determined by how you intend to use them. They are equally delicious served warm, at room temperature, or chilled for a salad.
If you are not using the beets immediately, rub each beet with a little additional oil, place in a bowl and seal well before refrigerating.