Oven roasted red beets are sweet, rich, tender, and an incredible addition to salads or great as a side dish for any meal! Paired with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, they’re naturally gluten free, paleo and vegan. Add some feta cheese for a burst of tangy flavor.
My Grandma is 92. She lives alone, far away from me, but she is, and has always been, one of the most important people in my life.
Until I was 9, my sisters, parents, and I lived in a trailer on Grandma’s 100-plus acres in northwest Pennsylvania. My parents tended an expansive garden near our trailer, and Grandma tended an even larger one at her house.
I have more Grandma stories than I could ever recount. Baking her a birthday cake (full of eggshells) with my cousins. Falling in the creek (crick) “by accident.” Mowing her grass. Showing up at her house so early in the morning that she and Grandpa were still asleep. Calling her on the phone to ask what she was eating because I didn’t like the menu at my house.
So many of my memories from those years involve Grandma’s garden, like the year my dad came home with 300 cabbage plants. Pulling weeds. Picking rocks out of the garden. Getting yelled at for stepping on the plants. Digging up a 26-inch long carrot.
A few years ago, Grandma stopped planting her garden and let it grow up into a field. She doesn’t need all that food any more, and she doesn’t want to do all the canning she once did. She’s 89, after all.
For nearly fifty years, Grandma canned her harvest. When Joe and I became interested in canning, she shared her recipes for chili sauce, apple butter, spaghetti sauce, pickled beets, sauerkraut, and many others.
I could tell you why I love each and every one of those foods because really, I adore them all. They are the foods of my childhood memories.
Thinking back, though, there’s one food that we ate all the time. We ate it for nearly every holiday, every time someone special came to visit, every time we celebrated something. She still opens a jar every time I visit.
It’s pickled beets.
Oh, how I love my Grandma’s pickled beets.
The unfortunate thing about pickled beets is that they are tough to make unless you have 7-8 pounds of beets. It makes so much that you’d really need to can them.
If you want to try your hand at canning pickled beets (it’s easy!), Grandma uses the recipe straight out of the Ball Book. If want a preview of the process, there is an illustrated tutorial at PickYourOwn.org.
I know that many of you just aren’t interested in canning, so I wanted to come up with another way to enjoy the flavors that remind me of my Grandma.
That’s where this recipe came from. I took some fresh beets, cleaned and prepared them, and then roasted them. You can make this recipe with just a couple of pounds of beets, just enough for a side dish at dinner time.
I eat these roasted beets hot (as a side dish) and cold (on salads), and I think they are tasty both ways.
What are Red Beets?
Beets, or beetroots, are a root vegetable like carrots, potatoes, and turnips, and they typically grow in the garden during cool weather (so in the spring and fall where I live in Pennsylvania). They are usually a deep red color (although I have also seen yellow ones, but they are not as common), and they get a bad rap. You can buy beets in a can, but those are usually a little slimy and not tasty at all. The best sweet and tender beets are roasted according to the cooking instructions below.
When you buy whole beets, they usually have the tops on, and you can eat the tops (but I never have). If you can find them without the tops, buy just the root part; it’s usually cheaper that way. Also, don’t buy the biggest beets you can find because they do get tougher when they are very large. Aim for medium-sized beets when you can.
Beets are incredibly healthy. They are relatively low carb and loaded with iron, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, folate, potassium, and manganese. They’re also low in calories and filling, thanks to all that fiber.
Beets stay fresh for a few weeks (similar to potatoes or carrots). You can cut the tops off about one inch above the root and store the beets in a paper bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge for up to a month, or you can store them in any cool, dry location like an unheated garage for a similar amount of time.
Cooking with Red Beets
Beets stain everything. You can sometimes get the red stain off if you immediately wash with cold water, but not always, so don’t use your best cutting board to prepare them. They also stain towels and clothes, and they will dye your poop if you eat enough of them (that’s my kids’ favorite part of eating beets!). Don’t be alarmed if you see red in the toilet a day or two later; you’re not bleeding internally.
Beets store really well in the refrigerator after cooking, so you’ll be able to keep them cooked for five or six days (or maybe even a week). Because they take an hour to roast, we prefer to cook ours on Sunday and then put them in the fridge until the weeknight when we want to eat them. It’s easier and makes suppers on busy weeknights a lot quicker.
How to Cook Oven Roasted Red Beets with Low Carb Balsamic Glaze and Feta Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375º.
- Wash the beets under running water, using a brush if necessary to remove all dirt. Remove the tops and roots.
- Peel the beets using a regular old vegetable peeler, just like you were peeling a potato. I have seen lots of tutorials saying that you should roast the beets whole and then the skins will fall right off, and this is true, but it takes about twice as long to roast whole beets as chopped beets, so it will add a significant amount of time to your cooking. I prefer to take the 10 minutes to peel the beets up front and save an hour or so on the roasting time.
- Cut the beets into 1-inch pieces.
- Toss the beets with a generous amount of high-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You may need more than I’ve listed above to make sure all the pieces are well coated with both oil and vinegar, so use as much as you need for your beets. Alternately, you could use a very high quality balsamic vinaigrette dressing such as Chef Tim’s Sweet Balsamic Dressing (not sponsored; we just love the dressing). That’s what we use at our house in place of separate oil and vinegar.
- Spread beets in a single layer on a baking sheet with a rim. You can line the baking sheet with foil if you’re afraid of staining and for easy cleanup.
- Roast the beets at 375º for 40 to 60 minutes, until tender. The total cooking time depends on how big you chopped the beets. Pieces around 1/2-3/4 of an inch will cook in about 40 minutes. Pieces around 1 inch will need closer to 60 minutes. Test the largest beets with a fork to make sure they are very tender. The more tender (but not mushy) the beets, the sweeter they will be and the better they will taste.
- While the beets are still hot, toss them with some additional oil and vinegar and sprinkle with a generous amount of feta cheese.
Check out these other awesome roasted vegetable recipes:
- How to Roast Frozen Brussel Sprouts
- Garlic Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Carrots
- Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans
- Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
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