So, You Wanna Learn How To Cook Beets?

Our helpful guide will teach you how to cook beets and your tastebuds will jump for joy.

We'll show you everything you need to know including selecting your beets in the store, how to prep and cook them, flavoring ideas, and more. Take what you learn and create your own beet recipes. It's fun! Promise.

I didn't learn how to make fresh beets until many years after I tried my first beet, which was of the pickled variety.

And even though it took years of munching away on pickled beets before this then-finicky eater would try plain ol' beets, I'm so happy I finally did because they've become one of my favorite foods.

Let's make them one of your favorites too.

Beets are an amazing vegetable. They calm the spirit and moisten the intestines. And they are important to women because they can regulate hormones.

Many people enjoy eating the greens attached to the end, but it's personal preference. The leafy greens attached are high in iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and calcium.

Strangely enough, the greens are also high in oxalic acid which can reduce the amount of calcium your body converts, which sort of works against the calcium in the greens. In other words, watch your intake and do not rely on beet greens as a source of calcium. But beet greens also contain Vitamins A and C, and a range of B vitamins as well, so they're good for you to eat!

Selecting Beets

When you spot beets in the produce section, you'll see them either in bunches with the greens attached. Or the greens will be cut off and the beet roots themselves sold separately.

So which do you choose?

Simple. If you'll be eating the greens, get those with the greens still attached. Just be sure the greens are fresh and free from decay.

If you don't want to eat the greens, then it's okay to just buy the pre-trimmed beets.

If you don't have a choice and the greens are attached, but you don't want to eat the greens, then the condition of the greens simply doesn't matter. Also, if there is someone close by working in the produce section, you can bring your beets with the attached greens over and ask them to chop them off for you so you don't have to deal with it later.

In either case, you want to be sure the beets themselves are firm and round, avoiding those that are slimy, soft or seem depressed.

There are many varieties, but the ones you're probably most familiar with are red. They should have a deep red color and their surface should be mostly smooth.

Gold or "Yellow" beets should be a deep, vibrant gold. Avoid those with dark or black sunken spots -- this means they're old.

How To Clean and Prep Beets

So it's interesting when I learn of people who wear gloves when they work with their beets. Yes, the beets can stain your hands for a while and you'll end up looking like the grape girl from Willy Wonka. That's because the red/magenta beets can also act like a dye and tend to color the foods which they are cooked with.

After the first wash you'll still see the "stain", but then you'll forget about it and look down at your hands and realize they're back to normal again.

If you ever see me working with beets in a video, you'll notice my hands turn red. Laugh if you want to but I refuse to wear dumb gloves! Plus, I think it's kinda fun to have such a profound experience with my food.    ;)

Now, back to washing your beet. Simply scrub with a vegetable brush and water.

If eating the greens, I recommend chopping them off and soaking them in a bowl (or salad spinner) full of water with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, or lime juice, or some other foodie acid. Let soak. Drain. Rinse. They're ready to go.

If the beet is rather large, it means it's an "adult" and the skin will be thicker and tougher. So you can go ahead and peel it with a peeler, or my favorite a paring knife. Alternatively, you can cook your beets with the skin on, and then rub skins off with a paper towel once they are softened. If you are baking/roasting then you do not have to wash or peel - see the options available to you in the beet cooking section below.

Smaller, younger beets do not have to be peeled.

And if you're juicing your beets? No need to peel. Just cut off the ends, and cut in half or quarters to make it easier to feed through your juicer.

You Asked...

"Do you prepare beet greens just like any other green?"

Yes. Click here to learn how to prep and cook your greens.

How To Cook Beets

Here are the cooking techniques we use and recommend for beets.

Click the one you'd like to learn more about for complete cooking instructions.

A red oven
A ceramic-coated saute pan with a lid
A collapsible steamer

Beet Vegan Flavor Matches

Create your very own beet recipe with some of your favorite ingredients from this list of foods that match perfectly.

(What are Flavor Matches?)

  • Allspice
  • Apples
  • Butter, non-dairy (I like organic Earth Balance)
  • Carrots
  • Cheese, non-dairy
  • Chives
  • Cloves
  • Cream, non-dairy
  • Cucumber
  • Curry
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish
  • Lemon
  • Mint
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Potatoes
  • Salt
  • Shallots
  • Sour Cream, non-dairy
  • Sucanat (or other organic Brown Sugar)
  • Tarragon
  • Vinaigrette
  • Vinegar (especially balsamic, sherry and white wine)
  • Walnuts
  • Walnut Oil
  • Watercress

Try One Of These Vegan Beet Recipes...

Tasty Vegan Beet Cubes
Beet, Chickpea and Almond Dip
Romaine Beet Salad w/Cucumber Balsamic Dressing
Jeff's Veggie Bean Soup

Helpful Hints

  • Be sure to eat them fairly soon after purchasing (before their starch turns to sugar).

  • Like all root veggies, before chopping begin by carefully cutting in half so you have a flat surface. Then place that flat surface on your cutting board and continue to chop, dice, etc. Especially helpful tip when peeling...

  • Use a vegetable peeler. Or peel carefully with a knife, always laying the beet on a flat surface and cutting AWAY from you. If roasting (baking) or boiling, you can peel AFTER cooking -- the skins come right off.

Happy cooking!

If You Like Beets Try...

Photo of potatoes and sweet potatoes
Photo of carrots
Photo of a turnip

If You Like Beet Greens Try...

Photo of spinach
Photo of kale
Photo of cabbage
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