Try These New Recipes For Beets
Red beets are a common crop at many community farmers’ markets and roadside farm markets across Pennsylvania through the growing season. But they are uncommonly sweet and good sources of both folacin and vitamin C. In addition, the tops or leaves are excellent sources of beta carotene, calcium and iron.
According to the Wellness Encyclopedia for Food and Nutrition (University of California at Berkeley), beets and their cousins sugar beets, mangel-wurzels, foliage beets and Swiss chard are descended from a wild slender-rooted plant native to the sandy seacoast soils of southern Europe. Originally, only the tops or leaves were eaten, which is still the case for foliage beets and Swiss chard. Beets with the globe-shaped roots that we know today were apparently developed in the 1500s but were not commonly eaten until the 18th century. While most beets have a deep-red flesh, hence the term “red beets,” certain specialty varieties with golden or white flesh are available.
Young tender beets bunched together with the tops often available early in the season. In general smallor medium-sized beets will be more tender than larger beets. While recipes have varying directions for cooking beets, in general beets are best cooked whole to prevent bleeding of the color and nutrients while cooking. Cut the tops off about 1 inch above the beet and do not trim the root. Any soil should be gently scrubbed off the beets without breaking the skin. After cooking so the beets are tender (easly pierced with a knife), the beets skins are easily pealed off when the beets have cooled slightly.
Following are some tasty beet recipes from the 2011 Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest. Roasted Beet and Candied
3 beets – medium sized, leaves and stems removed
2 oz. walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. Greek salad dressing
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper – to taste
1/2 tsp. celery seed
3 T. cranberries – dried
3 green onions – sliced
2 c. mesclun mix or baby spinach
1/4 c. Roquefort cheese - crumbled
Preheat oven to 425 ºF. Wrap beets in foil. Roast in oven for 50 to 60 minutes until tender when pierced with paring knife. Unwrap and cool. Peel and dice. To make candied walnuts, combine walnuts and sugar in a small skillet. Heat over medium heat until sugar begins to melt. Stir until all the sugar is melted and is a light amber color. Pour onto greased baking sheet. Cool and break apart. Combine salad dressing, mustard, salt and pepper and celery seed. Toss beets, cranberries and green onions with half of the dressing. In another bowl, toss the greens with the remaining half of the dressing. Arrange greens on four salad plates. Top with the beets, nuts, cheese and a grinding of pepper.
Frances Dietz, York,
Red Beet, Barley and
Serves 4 to 6
1 c. red beets – peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 T. olive oil – divided
1 c. barley – measured after cooking
3 T. red wine with pomegranate vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
1/2 c. mozzarella – fresh, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 T. onion – red, finely diced
Preheat oven to 350 ºF. Place beets in a 9-inch-by- 13-inch glass dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast covered for 30 to 45 minutes or until you can easily insert a fork. Remove, allow to cool and then cut beets into 1/4-inch pieces. While beets are cooking, prepare barley according to package directions. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together vinegar and sugar and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add salt to taste. In a large bowl, combine beets, barley and onion. Add dressing to taste. Mix together. Top with fresh mozzarella cubes and serve. Beets and barley can be made a day ahead of time.
Roasted Beet and Goat
4 beets – fresh, mediumsized or 2 large-sized
5 oz. olive oil – extra virgin, divided
1 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt – divided
1/2 tsp. + pepper – freshly ground
Orange zest – from one orange, divided
2 oz. walnuts
2 T. sage – fresh, chopped
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1/4 c. orange juice – fresh
12 oz. arugula or baby spinach
3 oz. goat cheese - or more to taste
Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Remove tops from beets and peel each with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in half and then quarter each half. In a medium bowl, toss the beets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and half of the orange zest. Place the beets on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times until just fork tender. Let cool to room temperature. Put walnuts in a dry skillet over medium high heat until just fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from skillet, let cool, and roughly chop. To make the vinaigrette dressing, combine sage, vinegar, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 or 3 grindings of pepper and orange juice in a blender or with a whisk until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 cup of oil while blending/ whisking until emulsified. In a large bowl, toss arugula with half of the vinaigrette and divide into four salad bowls. Cut goat cheese into bite-size pieces and divide evenly in salad bowls. Sprinkle each salad with walnuts. Divide beets evenly among salad bowls. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
Tom Watson, Glenshaw