Susie Middleton

As with many vegetables I like to roast, I have a few different approaches for beets depending on the time I’ve got and the result I’m looking for. While I love my quick-roasted beets (thinly sliced or diced, spread on a sheet pan, and cooked at high heat for a short amount of time), I also love to steam-roast beets in a foil pouch in the oven.

I like to use this method on a cold winter Saturday or Sunday when I don’t mind the oven being on, but I also like it for two other reasons: It’s the best way to get chunks or wedges of beets cooked through evenly (other than boiling, which I’m not fond of) and you can combine the beets with aromatics like herbs and shallots or whole garlic cloves while you’re cooking them.

These “walk-away” beets as I call them are versatile, too: Eat them warm right away, dunked in a bit of citrus dressing, served alongside roast pork or chicken. Or stow them (marinating in the dressing) in the fridge to use in salads during the week. Note: You do not need to peel beets when roasting them — the skin is perfectly edible and delicious!


Serves 4

Susie Middleton
  • 1 pound medium or baby beets (red or golden), washed but not peeled, ends trimmed, cut into equal-sized wedges (small beets can be quartered or cut into wedges vertically; larger beets can be sliced in half horizontally and then cut into wedges as if slicing a pie)
  • 4 to 5 large shallots, peeled and halved or quartered lengthwise (keep stem end intact)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 to 8 sprigs of thyme or 4 to 6 short sprigs rosemary
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice or blood orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons citrus zest (from any citrus)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped parsley or a combination of parsley, mint, cilantro, or basil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped toasted pecans, almonds, or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries (optional)

 

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” roasting pan with aluminum foil, and measure out two other large pieces and arrange them in a “+” inside the pan.

2. Toss the beet wedges, the shallots, the olive oil, the salt, and the herb sprigs together in a mixing bowl. Transfer the beet mixture to the pan, in the spot where the two pieces of foil intersect. Fold both pieces of foil up to form a tightly wrapped package.

3. Roast the beets for 1 ½ hours. Carefully avoiding the steam, lift the foil away to peek at the beets and to skewer one or two with the tip of a paring knife. If the knife slides in easily (and the bottoms of the beets are wrinkled and brown), they’re done. If not (and they often need more time), reseal the foil package and continue cooking for 15 to 25 minutes more until tender and browned.

4. Meanwhile, combing the citrus juices, citrus zest, vinegar, maple syrup or honey, and a big pinch of salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine.

5. If you want to serve the beets warm right out of the oven, transfer them (removing the herb sprigs) to a serving bowl and toss with the dressing and the parsley (or other fresh herbs). Garnish with toasted nuts or chopped cranberries if you like. If you’re cooking the beets ahead, transfer to a mixing or storage bowl and toss with the dressing and parsley. The beets will then marinate in the dressing and be excellent additions to salads or other dishes for several days.