Beets, much like Brussels sprouts, have only recently begun to get the attention and respect they deserve. Once thought of by many (and still viewed by some) as primarily a punishment food, the deeply hued root with the distinctly earthy flavor is enjoying a new period of vogue—particularly as home cooks across the country discover how delicious it is roasted, a process that brings out the vegetable's naturally abundant sweetness while tenderizing it. But depending on the recipe, beets can be equally satisfying served in crunchy raw slices, as in this salad with bitter winter greens and radishes, or steamed, as in our pretty, tangy beet salad with citrus. Already in love with beets and want to get a little crazy? Try making beet green pesto for pasta, or experiment with beet juice in refreshing, vegetal cocktails. Below are 11 recipes to get you fully into the spirit.
Beet and Citrus Salad With Pine Nut Vinaigrette
A quick, reliable method for preparing normally slow-cooking beets is to wrap them in airtight foil pouches and steam them in the oven, which cooks them in about one hour while minimizing loss of their earthy flavor. In this vibrantly colored salad, we serve the beets chopped with bright orange and grapefruit segments, arugula, and a simple pine nut vinaigrette.
Roasted Beet Salad With Goat Cheese, Eggs, Pomegranate, and Marcona Almond Vinaigrette
The rich sweetness of steamed beets is complemented here by a vinaigrette made with crunchy Marcona almonds and a touch of honey. Juicy, bright pomegranate seeds, assertive white onion, and creamy goat cheese add a range of contrasting textures and flavors, and quartered hard-boiled eggs give the salad enough heft to be a satisfying main course.
Winter Greens Salad With Flax Seeds, Shaved Beets, and Radishes
For a delicious way to eat beets that really cuts down on prep time, try them raw, sliced thinly on a mandoline. They're especially good in salads like this one, where they're paired with hearty, bitter winter greens, like radicchio and frisée; nutty toasted flax seeds; shaved Parmesan; and sharp, crunchy radishes. Look for golden or Chioggia beets if you want a nicer presentation, since they won't stain the leaves; watermelon radishes are gorgeous if you can find them, but ordinary red Cherry Belles will work, too.
Beet-Colored Fresh Pasta
If you can't beat (heh) the unfortunate tendency of regular purple-red beets to stain everything in their path, make it work for you by using them as a natural dye. Boiling and puréeing beets makes for a vibrant pink coloring that you can use to add a little flair to your next batch of homemade pasta. Because the noodles will absorb minimal beet flavor in the end, you can use them in basically any recipe you'd like, and even serve them to avowed beet-haters with no fear of reprisal.
Beet Green and Radish Green Pesto Pasta With Roasted Beets and Radishes
For a pasta dish that truly revels in beet flavor, try this recipe, which uses the vegetable in two ways: We blanch beet and radish greens and blend them up into a pesto with walnuts, Parmesan, and olive oil, then toss the pesto with spaghetti and mix in diced beet and radish roots. The ribs of the beet greens will lend a lovely magenta hue to the pesto.
Roasted Beet Sandwiches With Ginger, Fennel, and Goat Cheese
Tender, robust, juicy, and flavorful roasted beets are an ideal base for a vegetarian sandwich filling. This one balances the beets with ingredients that contrast with their sweetness: spicy grated ginger, tangy goat cheese, and a fennel and beet green slaw dressed with a mustard-laced vinaigrette.
Beet Latkes With Walnuts and Horseradish Sour Cream
This variation on latkes takes its inspiration from skordalia, a Greek dip made with potatoes, nuts, lots of garlic, and sometimes beets—all of which work together as well shredded and fried as they do puréed. When fried, the beets take on a sweet-savory quality, combining the best flavors from raw and roasted beets. In a nod to the classic beet horseradish often served on Passover, we top the latkes with a spoonful of powerfully pungent horseradish sour cream.
Roasted Beets With Balsamic Glaze
For a super-simple side that's perfect for fall or winter, you can't do much better than this easy dish of beets roasted until tender and sweet, then tossed in a tart balsamic reduction. Serve them chilled all on their own, or save them for adding to salads.
Beets may not be the first ingredient you think of to shake up with booze, but their natural sweetness and intense color make them a fun addition to all sorts of drinks. This cocktail adds beet juice to blended Scotch, lemon juice, and ginger liqueur for a twist on an old-school Penicillin.
Marrying two kinds of vegetable juice, beet and carrot, with Bulleit bourbon and Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, this drink is both warming and bracing. To highlight the savoriness of the juice, we add just a half teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
The Hot Pink
Beets and horseradish isn't a particularly surprising combination in latkes, but in a cocktail? Trust us: This savory beet, celery, and horseradish shrub is absolutely delicious. We serve it simply, mixed with gin and seltzer. If you're feeling brave, try upping the amount of horseradish.