Remember when a beets main destination was a wide-mouth Mason jar? Pickled beets will always have their place with those who can. But the root vegetable wants more . . . like plates. And glassware. Maybe even a recipe.
“I think they’re making their comeback,” says Tammy Woodall, manning the stand for Goldsboro’s Cox Farms, which offers roots almost year-round and the full beet in spring and summer.
Part of the beet love has to do with cold-pressed juicing. They are a good source of phytonutrients, vitamin C, potassium, manganese and fiber, says health coach Sara Hamm of Carolina Total Wellness. Hamm’s favorite beet juice drink includes kale, apple, cucumber and ginger.
“The leafy greens on the top are fantastic . . . more iron than spinach,” she adds. “And you can sauté them in olive oil.”
Tips if you buy:
Red beets will stain your fingers, apron and cutting board.
Wash them with cold water, cook them (bake, roast or steam) and then slice.
Fresh beets are sold with greens attached. Look for the greens when shopping. Cut them off (within an inch of the stem) when you arrive home to keep them at their best.
The best flavor is found in the ones that are small to medium size! Avoid the big ‘uns.
You can’t “beet” this: NC State food scientist Paige Luck created this Roasted Beets and Greens dish; serve it with your favorite grilled chicken or pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery. Check out this beet recipe!
ROASTED BEETS AND GREENS RECIPE
2 large bunches beets with greens attached1 orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon, zest only
1 small clove garlic, minced 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the greens Pinch ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the greens from the beets and remove stems. Peel beets and cut into eighths. All the pieces should be roughly the same size. Use a large piece of aluminum foil to make a pouch. Pile the beets in the center of the foil. Bring the shorter edges to the center and fold down. Fold in the sides of the foil to seal in the beets.
Place the beets in the oven and bake until a knife slides easily through the middle, about an hour. While the beets are cooking, prepare the sauce and greens. For the sauce, simply mix all of the ingredients together.
Tear the greens into 2- to-3-inch pieces. Add the olive oil to a hot sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest to the pan. Sauté for 20 seconds. Add the greens, quickly tossing them in the garlic and oil. Cook the greens for no more than 1 to 2 minutes or until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
When the beets are removed from the oven, immediately place them into a bowl and squeeze the juice of one orange onto the beets. Add 1⁄4 teaspoon salt and mix well. To serve, drizzle the creamy dill sauce over the beets and greens or serve on the side.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Creamy lemon dill sauce
1⁄2 cup full fat plain Greek yogurt
1⁄2 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried dill
1 small garlic clove, minced Half of 1 lemon, juiced (Use lemon that you zested for the beets)
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black