“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lustyenough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious. Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets. The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…”
Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume
I have always loved beets. My parents grew them in our garden and I never thought it odd to love them as much as I did. I remember the first time I read Jitterbug Perfume, and I have read it many times, thinking that loving beets was something that made me part of some secret cool club, because in the pages of one of my favorite books the beet plays such a prominent role.
Beets can be sweet as sugar and sometimes dark and earthy, they vary as much in flavor as they do in appearance. The golden beets look amazing in a salad with chioggas. The red beets pair well with citrus and mint. I have come to find that many grown adults do not like, nor will even try beets. I find this astonishing as our culture eats more sugar than any other people in the world and sugar can be extracted from beets. I’d like to share the simplest of recipes that feature the serious yet delicious beet in hopes that by the end of February, you will associate this month with love and flowers and chocolates and BEETS. As always, tune this recipe to your particular tastes and don’t be afraid to experiment, the beet is afraid of nothing!
These make a lovely side dish or you can refrigerate them to add to your next salad. I really enjoy taking these roasted beets and mixing them with granny smith apple wedges, some cashews and spinach to make a beautiful spinach salad. The apple slices take on the color of the beets and turn a beautiful pink which contrasts nicely with the green skins. Whatever you do, take time to really savor this passionate vegetable. It is seriously worthy of your attention and admiration and for the love of beets if you are not a beet lover after making this simply delicious recipe than perhaps you are better suited for the fire of the radish or the frivolity of the tomato. To each their own, i do however recommend cultivating a love of beets early on in life so that one may never live a life without the lovely beet.
Be Well and Enjoy!
- 3-4 large organic beets, washed, peeled, and cubed or wedged. Save the greens they are delicious
- 1 T good quality olive oil
- 1 T super amazing quality olive oil, my favorite is Bariani
- 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
- some fresh ground pepper
- zest and juice from one orange or Meyer lemon
- a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, or whatever you have in your pantry
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs minced, be creative here choose one or more from the following list: thyme, basil, mint, cilantro, oregano, chives, rosemary
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, roast.
- While the oven is preheating, wash and peel the beets, then wedge or dice.
- Toss with the regular olive oil, 1/4 cup of the fresh herbs, salt and pepper. I like to let these sit for a little while before roasting, but it isn’t necessary.
- On a baking sheet, roast for 30 – 40 minutes depending on how large you cut the beets, they are done when soft all the way through.
- When finished toss with zest and juice, the rest of the fresh herbs, the super amazing olive oil, balsamic vinegar and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed.
- a note on herbs: I often find that i will want to make a recipe and it calls for some specific herbs and i have everything but the ones in the recipe. You know what? I just use what i have and i create new and exciting dishes that are entirely my own and based on what i have growing in my garden or sitting in water in the fridge. Or, i go to the store because sometimes pasta sauce just isn't the same with cilantro. My point being, don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen. It is, for most of us, the closest thing to a laboratory that you have going on in your life so strap on your onion goggles and have some fun!