Beets are often seen as a hard-to-love vegetable. You either love them or hate them, though if you make a face when presented with beets, chances are you just haven’t had them prepared the right way.
True that they are a bit earthy in flavor, but if you know how to make beets taste good, you’ll find a natural sweetness to them. Plus, beets are full of vitamins and minerals, an easy way to improve your nutrition if you can only get past the taste.
Not to worry, though, for if you keep reading, you’ll know how to make beets taste good and get in on all their heart-healthy benefits too!
It All Starts at the Store
In order to make beets taste good, you have to know how to pick them. Think about the size and what you plan to do. Small and medium-sized beets are usually good for most dishes. Though larger beets are best for roasting.
Choose beets that don’t have tons of dents or dings on the skin. They should also have the tap root and the greens attached. As for the beet greens, you can use them too, but even if you’re not going to eat those, you should look for them to be fresh and lively rather than wilted, as that will give you the best beets to cook with.
A PSA About Cooking with Beets
Beets can stain anything and everything. That pretty color is a pain to get out, so think about your hands by wearing gloves and protecting your countertops. Ideally, using a plastic cutting board is best since you can bleach it white again. If you don’t have that, line your wooden cutting board with several sheets of parchment paper to protect it.
How to Prepare Beets, So They Taste Good
If you’re not using your beets right away, be sure you trim the beet greens. Then you can wrap the beets lightly in paper towels and tuck them into plastic zippered bags for up to 2 weeks.
You’ll want to gently scrub them to get off the dirt and debris before you start cooking them when you’re ready. But if you’re boiling or roasting your beets, don’t peel them before you cook them. Beet skins are a challenge to remove from raw beets, and it is far easier to do after cooking. Beets just pop right out of their skins when they’ve been cooked. The only time you will need to peel a beet first is if you plan on serving it raw or when pureeing for making borscht.
If you found beets to taste too earthy, one of the best ways to make beets taste good is to roast them. They come out with a sweet flavor, though be patient, for those large ones can take about an hour to roast.
To roast your beets, clean them off, dry them, and remove the taproot. Then add them into a medium bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you’d like. Wrap them in foil and roast at 400F until they’re fork-tender. Medium beets will be ready in 30 to 45 minutes, while the larger ones will likely be ready in 40 to 60 minutes.
You’ll need to let them cool, and then you can trim the stems and peel the skin off. Simply enjoy them from there or put them into the recipe you’re using.
Make Beet Wedges
Another way to enjoy roasted beets in less time is to cut the beets into wedges. You should then toss them in olive oil and seasonings and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. At 400F, it will take 20 to 30 minutes until they’re fork tender. Wait for them to cool before peeling them.
Try the Microwave
If you don’t have a lot of time, try microwaving your beets. However, they will have more of an earthy flavor this way. Tips further below can help you combat that, though.
You’ll clean the beets and put them in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the bottom of the dish with water and cover the top with plastic wrap. They’ll need to be microwaved on high for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are fork-tender. You should also turn them once for even cooking.
Steam Your Beets
One of the healthiest ways to make beets taste good is by steaming them. They will retain their vitamins and minerals, and they will cook quickly, making them ideal for a busy weeknight.
You’ll clean them and then cut them into wedges or cubes. Then boil some water, add a steamer basket, and add your beets. After covering the top, it should take 10 to 15 minutes for smaller pieces. If you’re using larger beets, it will take about 20 to 30 minutes. And like all the methods before, you’ll need to let them cool before peeling the skin.
Boiling beets may be the way to go if you want them tender and to make the flavor less intense. However, boiling them will also drain out the color that makes them so pretty. You’ll boil the water with the beets and then simmer for 25 to 35 minutes for medium-sized beets. Larger beets could take up to an hour to boil.
Additionally, boiling beets is much like making pasta. You need to add lots of salt to the water for the best results.
Once they’re done, you should put the boiled beets into ice water, as you’d do with hard-boiled eggs. They’ll be easy to peel from there.
Make Them Raw
You can also keep the beets raw. But how to make beets taste good in this scenario will involve you peeling them and slicing them properly. Raw beets have a tough texture, and as such, you need to either grate them or slice them in a thin way. This will ensure they’re crispy and enjoyable.
Raw beets also offer a variety of options for you. You can make a beet slaw, add them to salad, or create a relish. Spiralize your raw beets with a vegetable spiralizer, and you can get them chewy and crisp all at once. They’ll be great with a creamy dressing you love or even a light vinaigrette.
Make Beet Chips
Another way to make beets taste good is by turning them into chips. These are far healthier than anything you’ll buy in the store, and they taste great. You’ll prep them for cooking first. Then you’ll want to slice them so they’re ultra-thin. Bake beet chips at 200F for 1.5 hours and then flip them. Then continue baking for another 1.5 hours until they’re done.
Beet chips should cool first, and then they’ll get a great crisp. You can season them with salt and pepper, plus whatever other seasonings you like. Or you can keep it simple and just serve them with a creamy dip or hummus. Even dunking them in beet hummus would be sublime!
The Secret to How to Make Beets Taste Good
Regardless of which method you use to cook your beets, you want them to taste good. While choosing good beets at the store, preparing them right, and cooking them properly helps, it’s all about balance.
Beets have that earthy taste. They can also come across as a bit bitter. As such, you’ve got to counter that with flavors that balance it out. When it comes to making beets taste good, you need to put them with things that have sweet, bright, or fresh flavors.
For example, when you boil your beets, in addition to adding lots of salt, you can throw in a little red wine vinegar. Roasting beets is even easier since you can play with the flavors after you get them out of the oven.
Beets go great with citrus flavors, garlic, vinegar, and scallions. Salt is also the key to making them pop, but always going with a sharp and strong note will complement the flavors of beets and make them taste good.
More Ideas for Making Your Beets Taste Good
With that tip on adding sweet, bright, and fresh tastes to your beets to make them taste good, here’s what you can do in your kitchen.
Add Chiles and Lemon
Raw beets are wonderful when sliced thin and drizzled with chiles and lemon juice. It sounds simple, but when they’re fresh, keeping the flavors fresh will make them taste amazing.
Add Goat Cheese
There’s a reason so many restaurant menus feature beets with goat cheese. It’s a perfect pairing. You’ll want to roast the beets first, so they become tender and juicy. Then you can toss them with some spicy greens (arugula comes to mind) along with goat cheese. Balance even further with some chopped walnuts for texture and taste, and your mind will be blown.
Pickle Your Beets
The brightness of vinegar is a match for beets. So if you pickle your beets in tangy vinegar, you’re going to get delicious results. Then you can creatively drop them into any meal. Add them to avocado toast with a bit of Greek yogurt or sour cream. Put them on top of tacos for Taco Night. Or jazz up a rice bowl of any kind, from Mexican to Asian-inspired, with this zippy taste.
Give Them a Sweet Fruit Glaze
Red pomegranate juice will blend right in with those beets. And that sweet flavor is going to punch things up. If you glaze roasted beets with this and top them with a little extra sea salt, you’re going to find beets are a new favorite in your home.
This famed beet soup can come across as too earthy if you don’t take the precautions to balance the flavors. On that note, if you add fresh dill and sour cream when serving, that zing of flavors is going to unite for a harmonious taste.
Go for Curry
Curries are a dream come true with beets in them. Simmer small ones in coconut milk spiced up with fragrant seasonings like lemongrass and sweet basil. It will come out pink, making for an amazing presentation. Serve it over rice, and you’ll love this unusual and flavorful combination.
Pair Beets with Greens
Wondering how to use those beet greens. They’re similar to Swiss chard, so make sure you shred the greens, sauté them until they’re tender, and then grate your beets into creamy polenta. The textures and flavors combine into something truly gourmet and exciting.
Think About Dessert
Because beets are a bit earthy, smoky, and sweet, they can be used in desserts that dazzle. A red velvet cake made with beets is an excellent way to naturally dye the layers of cake while adding more nutrition. You can also make beet ice cream or even throw them in sweet smoothies.
Bottom line…there are many ways to make beets taste good. All it takes is understanding their flavor profile and working with it to concoct delicious creations in your kitchen!
How to freeze beets
To freeze beets, you can slice or chop the beets and spread them out on a cookie sheet to flash-freeze them. Once the beets are fully frozen, you can put them into plastic freezer bags, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
How to cook beets in an instant pot
To cook beets in an Instant Pot, you can follow these steps:
- Place a rack in the bottom of the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water.
- Place the unpeeled beets on top of the rack.
- Close the pressure valve, and cook for 15-30 minutes at high pressure, depending on the size of the beets.
- Open the valve to quickly release any remaining pressure.
- Once the beets are cool enough to touch, remove them from the pot and peel the skins off.
How to cut beets
To cut beets, there are a few methods you can use depending on your desired outcome. One method is to wash the beetroot thoroughly, cut off the top and bottom, then peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. After peeling, you can slice the beets into rounds, cubes, or wedges, depending on your recipe. Another method is to thinly slice the beets using a mandoline or a sharp knife.