How to Cook Beets

Wondering how to cook beets that taste wonderful but also don’t stain everything in sight? It can be done, my friend, whether you choose to boil, roast, or steam your beets. Each of those can work just fine; your choices really are limited only by your preference.


beets; how to cook beets

A common and traditional cooking method, boiling works quite well for beets. BUT— please do not peel those beets beforehand. If you do, their color will bleed right into the cooking liquid. In fact, you could even become tempted to dye an article of clothing in that rich, red brew. (No, I'm not kidding.)

Instead, first cover your carefully washed, but unpeeled, beets with cold water in the cooking pot. Salt, and bring the water to a full boil; then, adjust the heat so that the water bubbles fairly gently. Cook the beets until a fork pierces easily. Because cooking times will vary according to beet size, you may need to remove the beets at differing times. When they've finished cooking, simply rub or scrape off the skins for some sensational beets.


Another way to preserve your beets’ great stuff is to roast them. For this method, preheat your oven to around 400 degrees. Then peel the beets if you wish (for this method it’s okay), and either leave them whole or cut to the size you want.

Toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you choose. Then roll the beets onto an oiled cookie sheet, and bake until fork-tender—20-45 minutes or so, depending upon their size. (With this method, if you peel them after roasting, you could peel off much of the seasoning as well...)

Alternatively—as suggested in The 10 Things You Need to Eat: And More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Ways to Prepare Them—lay the seasoned beets on a foil-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with more foil, and roast until the beets are tender.

I've tried them both ways, and either seems to work fine.


Roasting's not for you? How about steaming? Again, go right ahead and peel the beets if you wish. Or rub their skins off after cooking, as with the boiling method. Either way, their color, flavor, and nutritional goodies remain.

To steam beets,
cut them into the sizes and shapes you want, and pop them into (or onto) your steamer. Cover and cook gently until the beets are tender—which would be 10 to 20 minutes or so, depending upon their size.

And there you are: three ways to cook a great veggie. I hope you have some of them waiting in the wings!


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Please understand that the material at this site is NOT medical advice, as I am neither doctor nor nutritionist. What I am is merely someone who's lived successfully on a vegetarian diet for many decades...and I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian gradually. Do check with your doctor, though, if you're considering big changes to your own diet. Also, be sure to find a dependable source of Vitamin B12.

Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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