I was six the first time I remember eating a beet. I pulled it up out of my mother’s garden and ate it standing right there in the back yard, dirt and all. I have since decided that I like my vegetables washed before eating as the grit of soil fails to please, but my love of beets has never wavered. I offer you my favorite way to eat them here.
Most people I know either roast or boil beets. I think roasting is nice sometimes but I find that roasting makes a beet have a stiffer drier texture (even with plenty of olive oil) so that I don’t roast them often. I never boil beets. In fact, I never boil anything. I always steam vegetables. I steam because that’s what my mother always did. She steamed because she believed more of a vegetable’s vitamins and minerals were retained using this method. I don’t know if that’s true but whenever a recipe calls for boiling, I steam instead.
This beet salad recipe can be served plain or it can be served on a bed of lettuce with feta cheese. You can use any kind of beets. I used a combination of golden beets and dark red beets. Because I cooked them together the golden beets turned red.
To peel or not to peel? I only peel off the rough parts of beets. Sometimes this means I peel the whole thing but often it means I just peel the tops. The golden beets were mostly smooth skinned so you can see a lot of it was left on. My mother influenced me in this matter just as she did with steaming. She believed that peeling vegetables removed some important vitamins and minerals and should only be peeled if the skin is tough or compromised in some way. You will find that I rarely suggest peeling vegetables in my recipes. You can always peel if you prefer it.
Lemony Beet Salad
Serves 4 to 6
8 medium sized beets, cut into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
To serve as shown in the picture:
(ingredients are per person)
2 cups lettuce
1 to 2 oz feta cheese
1 tbsp vinaigrette to dress lettuce
Fit a pot with a steamer basket, fill with water up to the basket (but not above), bring water to a boil. (I have a steamer pot and prefer it to the baskets but either will do). Add the cubed beats and steam for 15 minutes*, or until tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl mix together the oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. When the beets are done steaming add them to the bowl and mix together with the dressing. Toss it several times as the beets cool.
If you’re going to add the beets to a bed of lettuce, as shown in the picture, let the beets completely cool. For each plate add two cups of lettuce tossed with a little vinaigrette, scoop about 3/4 cup of the lemony beets onto the bed of lettuce, and top with some crumbled or cubed feta cheese.
This recipe is Gluten Free
This recipe is Vegan if you omit the feta cheese
*I timed the steaming and 15 minutes was perfect, however, if you cut your beets a little bigger than I did it may take a few extra minutes.