Balsamic Beets, Raw or Roasted

This year, I planted my first-ever garden and, of course, planted many of my favorite vegetables.  A certain person, to whom I am married, scoffed at my gardening aspirations because of the track record I have with houseplants, which I have to admit is a valid point.  But, this is food and I take my food seriously.  And, also critical to this undertaking, I am gardening in a community plot in the extra lot of some close friends who have been so graciously willing to water all of our gardens and call me to let me know when I am delinquent in my harvesting. 

I was so pleasantly surprised today when I went to harvest some salad greens and noticed that some of my beets were practically jumping out of the dirt, just waiting to be picked.  I normally roast my beets to bring out their delicious sweetness, but since my house is already plenty toasty, I decided to give my usual recipe a raw makeover and they turned out to be quite delicious! 

Oh, and by the way, make sure you save those greens!  When you pick or buy beets, remove the greens and store them separately, then use them as you would any other greens.  A quick saute with just olive oil and a bit of salt is all they need. 

  • 4 medium-sized beets
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons basalmic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons agave, honey, or maple syrup
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For RAW marinated beets:  Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, then slice as thinly as possible.  Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl large enough to accomodate the beets, then add the beets and mix them around so that all of the slices are coated.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.  They get better and better the longer they sit.  Enjoy!

In case you happen upon a bunch of beets on a cooler day when turning the oven on is more appealing, here are the directions for Roasted Balsamic Beets: Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Wash the beets, don’t bother to peel them yet and place them in an ovenproof dish with a cover.  Put in oven (no need to wait until it heats up) and roast until easily pierced with a fork.  The time will depend on the size of the beets; for medium beets, plan about 30-45 minutes.  Once soft, remove the beets from the oven and leave them until they are cool enough to handle.  Slip the skins off; they will slide off easily as long as the beets are well-cooked.  Cut into desired size pieces.  Toss in olive oil, basalmic and agave, then season to taste.  Serve warm or cold.  They are great on their own, but also delicious in salads.

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