sliced beetroot

How To Cook Beets So They’re Delicious

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Tamara
January 20, 2022
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Beets, or beetroots, have a beautiful purple-red color that gives rice salad and homemade hummus a striking appearance, but they’ve got many other benefits than looking good on the plate.

Their bold color is a sign that they’re packed with nutrients.

What gives beets their color?

Betalains, a natural plant pigment, is what gives beets their beautiful color. These are antioxidants that protect your cells from oxidative damage and they’re also anti-inflammatory.

Beets are a root vegetable that have many other nutrients. Let’s explore them as well as how to cook beets in the best, tastiest, and healthiest way. 

Health Benefits Of Beets 

Beets contain many nutrients

Beets contain many nutrients. These include the following:

  • Fiber. Beets contain fiber that controls blood sugar, helps to lower cholesterol, keeps you fuller for longer, and helps you to stay regular.
  • Nitrates. These compounds help to make your blood vessels widen, which increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure. They can also enhance brain function because an increased dilation of your blood vessels increases blood circulation to the brain. 
  • Folate. This B-vitamin, which is recommended for consumption during pregnancy, is found in beets. Folate is also known for producing white and red blood cells, and it transforms carbs into energy. 

Other nutrients that beets contain include Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, so they’re a powerhouse of health. As a bonus, beets are low in calories.

Beets form part of a weight-loss, healthy diet because one cup of beets contains less than 60 calories. 

What Are The Downsides Of Beets?

What Are The Downsides Of Beets?

While beets taste good and add a punch of nutrients to your meals, they should be consumed in moderation if you have kidney stones.

This is because beets contain a high amount of oxalates, a compound which can lead to kidney stones. 

Another thing to be aware of if you have digestive issues is that beets contain FODMAPs. These are short-chain carbs that feed gut bacteria.

They can cause unpleasant side effects such as gas and bloating if you have a digestive condition such as irritable bowel syndrome. 

Four Methods To Cook Beets 

If you want to start enjoying more beets in your regular meals, there are different ways in which to cook them so you can add them to your diet.

Boiling

beets in hot water

By putting beets in hot water and cooking them until they’re soft, they will then be able to be sliced and added to food.

If you don’t want the beets to release their beautiful color in the water, you should leave two inches of their stems intact and add some vinegar to the water. You should also leave the beets’ skins on.   

To boil beets, put them in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring them to the boil on the stove, then lower the heat and allow them to simmer until they are tender.

This will take about half an hour for medium-sized beets or up to an hour for larger ones. After boiling the beets, put them into ice cold water so you can peel their skins easily. Note that boiling your beets will make their flavor less intense. 

Steaming 

Another cooking method is to steam your beets. This will allow your beets to get cooked with the use of minimal water, so steaming locks in the vegetable’s healthy nutrients.

You should steam beets until they become soft and their skin can be removed easily. Here are some tips to follow when steaming beets. 

  • Clean your beets and then remove their tap roots and stems. 
  • Cut the beets into half-inch wedges or cubes. 
  • Boil water in a large pot and put a steamer basket in the pot so that the bottom of the basket rests above the water. 
  • Place your beets in the basket, then cover the pot. 
  • Steam your beets until they’re tender. This will take about 10 minutes for small beet pieces and about half an hour for larger ones. 
  • Once done, remove the beets from the basket. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove their skins. 

Roasting

Roasting beets in the oven

Roasting beets is a great option for you if you want to add more flavor to your beets. You can roast them whole with their skins intact. For a punch of flavor, coat the skins with oil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. You should also cover them with foil.

Instead of roasting beets whole, you can roast them in wedges. This encourages them to brown and become infused with more flavor. 

Tips for roasting beets: 

  • After washing beets to remove their dirt, dry them with a paper towel to remove any moisture.  
  • When roasting beets in the oven, you want to do so at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 to 45 minutes for medium-sized beets. Larger ones will take longer. 
  • After roasting the beets, remove them from the oven. Let them cool for about 20 minutes, then cut off their stems and peel their skins. 

Microwaving

You can also pop beets in the microwave to cook them. This method will ensure that you cook them quickly without them losing their earthy flavor.

To microwave them, put the beets in a dish that’s safe for use in the microwave, then pour water inside to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover it with plastic wrap and microwave it on high heat until soft.

This can take around 12 minutes, but remember to turn the beets once to ensure they cook evenly. Afterwards, take them out of the microwave and let them cool for a few minutes. Then, remove their roots, stems, and skins. 

Why You Should Leave Beet Skins On During Cooking

Why You Should Leave Beet Skins On During Cooking

It’s easy to remove beet skins after they’ve been cooked, whether boiled, microwaved, steamed or roasted.

Leaving beet skins intact during the cooking process has other advantages: it helps to preserve the vegetables’ color, flavor, and nutrients. It can also make their sweet, earthy flavor more pronounced. 

What To Look For When Shopping For Beets 

When you buy beets from the grocery store, make sure that they are firm with smooth skin that isn’t damaged, bruised, or wrinkled.

If you’re going to be cooking a few beets together, ensure that they’re of a similar size so that they will cook evenly.

You should also look for beets that aren’t larger than six to seven centimeters in diameter. This is because if the beets are larger than that, they will usually have a tough or woody core. 

How To Enjoy Beets 

How To Enjoy Beets

There are a variety of ways in which you can enjoy beets, such as by grating them into a salad or eating them as a roasted vegetable with potatoes or squash. 

Beets are very versatile. They have a sweet, earthy flavor that works particularly well with foods such as blue cheese, smoked fish, duck, and steak.

Since beets work well with vinegar, which makes them ideal in foods like salad, beets can also be pickled and added to sandwiches or wraps.

But, you might not realize that beets can be used in desserts such as chocolate cake! Although we always think of beets as savory, they make cakes taste better. This is because when they’re added to cake batter they give it extra moistness.

But don’t worry – your chocolate cake won’t taste like beets. Think of them as your secret cake ingredient! 

Can you eat raw beets?

You can eat beets raw, but they can be quite hard which is why you should grate or slice them. 

How should you prepare beets?

Before cooking your beets, make sure you scrub and clean the beets well so that you remove any dirt from them.

Can you cook beet leaves?

Beet leaves can be used in the same way as spinach, but make sure you cook them within a day or two after buying the beets. 

Conclusion

Beets are a fantastic way to add a bit more fiber and color to your plate. If you want to eat more beets, you might not be sure about how to go about adding them to your meals.

In this article, we’ve provided you with tips on how to cook and prepare these tasty vegetables.

Whether you want to boil, steam, or roast them – or conveniently cook them in the microwave – we’ve given you the information you need to cook them perfectly and how to use them in meals.

Sources

Tamara

Tamara is an avid foodie and successful restaurateur. She has dedicated a large chunk of her life to researching healthy food recipes and diet plans, and also teaching people how to improve their eating habits. Using Eatomology, Tamara shares the very best diet plans, cookbooks, and more. Also, for those on a quest to improve their kitchen, Tamara shares some awesome and high-quality kitchen equipment recommendations as well as buying guides on her website.