Roasting beets brings out their naturally sweet flavor better than any other cooking technique. It’s easy to do and beets are plentiful year round, so you can toss them into your salads– or just enjoy them on their own with a simple vinaigrette.
Roasted beets are the main attraction in Beet Salad, but you don’t have to stop there. You can chop them up and add them to Mediterranean Lentil Salad or serve alongside Baked Salmon, too. Sometimes they’re fabulous with just a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and some crushed toasted hazelnuts.
Forget about boiling beets: Roasting vegetables is one of the most delicious ways to eat them, and beets are certainly no exception. High heat roasting caramelizes the vegetable’s natural sugars which concentrates the flavor and prevents them from getting mushy and overdone.
This technique for roasting beets without foil is absolutely foolproof. You can use any size or variety of beet you like: striped Chioggia beets, (aka candy cane beets) golden beets, or deep, dark ruby beets.
There’s also a nifty culinary trick that really works for peeling roasted beets without a lot of trouble, either. You’ll definitely want to keep reading.
Keep a container of roasted, peeled beets at the ready for snacking, and chances are they’ll disappear within the week. You’ll have to look the culprit; more than likely they’ll have pink fingers.
Roasting beets for an army? Or just a hungry couple? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
How to select beets:
It’s easy to find beets and other root vegetables at the grocery store almost any time of the year, but here’s what to look for when shopping for fresh beets.
- Pick beets that are firm and hard, not squishy. Avoid any beets that have soft spots or are wrinkled.
- If available, select beet that have their greens still attached. (Beet greens, a relative of chard, are amazing braised when added to soups, or sautéed with garlic and olive oil, like spinach. You can also freeze the greens and make vegetable stock with them.)
Do you have to peel beets before roasting?
No! In fact, it’s so much easier to roast them in their skins.
What you need to roast beets:
- Parchment paper. Oven safe even at higher baking temperatures, parchment paper works as well as (or better than) wrapping beets in aluminum foil, with less waste. These pre-cut sheets are really handy.
- Olive oil. Or coconut oil, or any neutral oil you have in the pantry.
- Roasting pan. A Dutch oven, bread loaf pan, or glass baking casserole. Whatever ya got for roasting.
- Plastic wrap. A roll of kitchen plastic wrap is part of the trick to taking the skins off of beets.
If you are roasting different kinds of beets (such as some red and some golden), roast them in separate pans. Otherwise, the juices from the red beets will bleed into the golden beets and change the color.
How to roast beets:
Roasting beets is seriously easy. It just takes a bit of time.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating up, get the beets ready.
- Clean and trim. If the beets have stems, trim them back to one inch. Then scrub the beets under cool running water until they’re free of dirt.
- Oil them up. Lightly oil each whole beet, then season if desired. Next, place them in a baking dish large enough to hold them.
- Cover and bake. Cover the dish with parchment (or a sheet of foil if that’s all you have) and bake for 45-60 minutes.
- Check for tenderness. When a skewer goes through one of the beets easily, the beets are done. Remove them from the oven and take off the parchment or foil.
- Cover and let steam. As soon as the beets come out of the oven, they need to steam. Using a piece of plastic wrap, cover the baking dish and let the beets steam for 15 to 20 minutes. This will loosen the skins, making them easier to remove.
- Rub the skins off. Using a paper towel or your fingers, rub the skins off of each beet. This should be easy, but there might be some areas that stick; use a paring knife to remove any remaining skin.
How to eat beets:
Beets have a firm texture and a sweet earthy flavor that most people love. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy them:
- Roasted sliced beets of any color are easy to serve as a delicious side dish with a little salt and pepper.
- Chopped up, they’re a brilliant addition to any grain salad or leafy green salad.
- Mashed beets are a fun and colorful substitute for mashed potatoes.
- Cut into matchsticks, slow roasted beets add color and texture to soups.
- Roasted beets with balsamic: cubed beets tossed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, and toasted pecans.
- Beets with feta cheese: roasted beets combined with crumbled feta cheese, mint, olive oil, and lemon zest–summer on a plate.
Not only are beets, also known as beetroot, beautiful, they’re incredibly good for you, used for ages in healthy diets everywhere. Here’s what’s on their nutritional resume.
One cup of roasted beets contains less than 60 calories, 3.8 grams of fiber, and 106 milligrams of sodium.
Beets are also:
- excellent sources of folate, an important B vitamin for women.
- high in manganese, which is important for brain and nerve function.
- a unique source of betacyanin, a compound that provides protection against colon cancer.
- good sources of calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium.
- naturally high in fiber and vitamin C.
How to Roast Beets
- 1 pound whole beets unpeeled, any variety
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove tops and scrub beets well under cold water.
- Lightly oil beets and season with salt and pepper. Place in small baking dish (a loaf pan works well) and cover with parchment paper. Use a different dish for each color of beets to avoid color contamination.
- Bake until tender when pierced with a skewer, about 45 to 60 minutes.
- Remove from oven, remove parchment paper, and immediately cover baking dish with plastic wrap. Allow beets to steam for 15 to 20 minutes, to loosen skins.
- Rub off skins with fingertips or paper towels. Slice or cut into wedges, cubes, or matchsticks.