The best way to cook beets is simply to roast them, or bake in the oven. It may not be the easiest, fastest way of cooking beets, but if you roast them correctly, you preserve maximum flavor, color, vitamins and nutrients.
Roasted, or baked beets taste wonderful both warm and cold. Simply toss them with a little butter, salt and lemon juice to make a quick roasted beet salad, put on them on top of any green salad to add texture and color, or use as a base for more elaborate beet dishes, even soups.
You bake by cooking food in an oven, surrounded by dry, hot air. When you are baking beets as well as other vegetables, make sure your pan is ovenproof, the right size for food you are baking, and in good condition – not buckled or cracked – to conduct the heat evenly.
If your roasting pan does not have a nonstick surface, grease it lightly with canola oil or squirt it, lightly, with nonstick spray. If you use nonstick spray, wipe off the residue with a paper towel. There will be plenty left on the surface to do the job, but not enough to affect the flavor of the food.
To roast the beets
Recipes that call for baking usually have specific directions for preparing beets. You may need to stand them upright for a stuffed beet recipe, or puree the ingredients, or layer them, and so on. Temperatures will vary, too.
Follow any of these basic methods for roasting beets, try and taste, and you will soon decide on your own favorite ‘best way to cook beets’.
Wash carefully and dry the beets. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange beets in a baking dish with a very little water; add more as it evaporates. Place in the oven and bake slowly until tender, from 2 to 3 hours. When done, cool enough to handle and remove the skin.
Scrub the beets, wrap each in foil, unpeeled, place in a roasting pan and bake at 375°F for 50 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Carve an X at both ends of each beet and wrap them in foil individually. Place the beets directly on the oven rack, and bake until they are soft, about 50-60 minutes, depending on their size.
Drizzle beets with olive oil and wrap in parchment-lined foil. Roast in the oven at 450°F until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly before peeling.