If you think the only thing you can do with beets is pickle them, you’re in for a nice surprise.
Beets have been plentiful at the Mankato Farmers’ Market and local CSA boxes this month, and should be in season locally for quite some time.
These brightly colored veggies are surprisingly versatile. Here’s some ways to use them.
On the grill – Put well scrubbed beets (sliced if they are large and you want to speed cooking) on a sheet of tin foil and drizzle well with olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and seal the foil into a pouch. Grill on high heat for about a half hour for whole beets or less for sliced, or until fork tender.
In chocolate cake – Yes, really! The web is filled with recipes for chocolate cake that call for beets. Try this one from Oprah, this gorgeous one from Straight from the Farm or this vegan one from Fat Free Vegan.
Roasted – Beets can be easily roasted by coating them in olive oil, wrapping in tin foil and cooking at high heat for about an hour. The roasted beets can be kept in the refrigerator to use in recipes throughout the week.
For hummus – Babble’s family kitchen blog features a recipe for a vibrant roasted beet hummus that promises to be a kid-pleaser.
In pasta – This gorgeous pink pasta is made from a few simple ingredients and roasted beets.
In gourmet cupcakes and frosting – The Golubka blog features a recipe for Ming’s Flourless Beet Chocolate Cupcakes with Whipped Cream that looks like no ordinary cupcake.
For natural food coloring – Boil beets in water until tender, and then rub peels off with fingers. Use beets in a recipe reserve in the refrigerator for later. Strain the cooking liquid and save in a jar in the refrigerator to use within the week or freeze in an ice cube tray. Add a few drops at a time to whatever food you’d like to tint pink, such as frosting, cake batter or mashed potatoes.
In green smoothies – Don’t discard the greens! Besides making great greens when sauteed, they work well in green smoothies. Add a small handful to your favorite green smoothie recipe for a nutrient-packed addition. Since the greens have a somewhat distinctive taste, add fruits with some kick of their own to balance flavors (such as citrus, cranberry or pineapple), along with traditional add-ins such as bananas, ice cubes, frozen fruits, juice and/or kefir.
In borscht – Here’s a recipe for a Russian cabbage borscht that earned high marks on allrecipes.com. There’s lots of arguments about what makes a “real” borscht, so feel free to experiment with other recipes online to find your family’s favorite.
Frozen for later – Boil beets until tender, drain and rub peels off with fingers or peel with a peeler. Cut into cubes, flash freeze on pans and pack in freezer containers. To serve, briefly reheat and toss with butter and salt or use in recipes.
Want more? Check out all the intriguing recipes pinned under “beets” on Pinterest — beet chips, beet brownies, beet salads, beet ravioli, beet gnocci and more!