At least I'm not a fan of how other people make them. Beets come canned, in balls as a garnish in a salad, as Harvard Beets and probably some other ways I don't want to try. None of these have captured my fancy. However, I read an article in Martha Stewart's Living magazine a long time ago that touted the wonders of roasting vegetables and it changed my perspective on many veggies I have disliked in the past. One in particular is butternut squash. I turned my nose up to every way I had ever tasted it, until I roasted it and now we love eating it. We've also roasted parsnips, carrots, and leeks and have had great success with those too.
My drive in trying the beets roasted was that I had learned the deeper the color of your veggie, typically the more nutrients they pack in. The darker your lettuce, the more worth eating it is. Iceberg lettuce is a waste of time. It's like eating crunchy water... just say no. So when I was picking my way through our local farmer's market, which by the way carries more than fruits & veggies, I noticed a small organic stand. Truth be told, it was the only organic stand there. What a sad statement. However, the produce they (ahem) produced, was beautiful. They are smaller, not perfect, and not blown up and out of proportion to suit the likes & tastes of American consumers. What caught my attention were these small, almost golf ball sized beets. I simply had to buy them. This was my opportunity to give these deep colored menaces one final chance on my plate. I am so glad I did. Enjoy the journey of color below!
Only wash your beets when you're ready to roast them. It's the same concept as strawberries. They go bad quicker once they've been washed.
I run them under warm water and use a scrubby to scrub all the dirt off. You're supposed to peel them, but if they're organic I don't see the point. They were delicious this way and didn't need peeled. But do as you like... it's your beet :)
As I scrubbed them, I laid them on a paper towel to drain. It was like watching tie-dying happen because they "bleed" their liquid once scrubbed.
Because the liquid does stain, I use a kitchen glove on one hand. Cut off the top & the bottom.
Then cut in half, then slices, then cubes. They were around 1/2 inch square.
Put the cubed beets in a glass bowl. Why glass? So it doesn't stain your plastic.
Drizzle with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some cracked Sea Salt. Toss well so all the pieces are coated with the oil.
Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or on a baking stone and place in your oven on the middle rack at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.
They will shrivel and get dark, but that just means the natural sugars in the beets are caramelizing on the outside. This is when they become yummy. Up until this point... bleh. Do you see how they shrunk in size?
I served the roasted beets as a side to a grilled cheese sandwich. Don't skimp on this. If you're going to take the time and pamper yourself with a delicious roasted veggie with such a decadent color, make your own bread (like below) or buy some of your favorite bakery bread. Also, use good cheese. Not the highly processed logs or cheese slices packaged in individual pieces of plastic. It's like they are stored in their own personal plastic coffins. On this particular day I chose Muenster. It complimented the sweetness of the beets just perfectly!
I will say honestly, that beets are not my favorite vegetable. But I sure do like them made this way and will continue to serve them at my table simply because they are so healthy. I have not been able to convince my munchkins that roasted beets are yummy, but they do eat the small portion they are given without complaining anymore.