Get ideas for what to cook with beets using this collection of beet recipes. There’s a bit of something for all diets and desires, including a few desserts with beets! Find that next amazing beet recipe from all these great options.
Beets! So many things to make with beets. But of course, when you are looking in the fridge at those lovely bunches, you inevitably can’t think of anything to make with them. So, when that happens, I’ve got you covered. Here are some tasty beet recipes – both sweet and savoury and everything in between.
Let’s talk a bit about beets
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Don’t throw away those beet greens as soon as you get back from the store or farmer’s market. The greens and stems of beets are perfectly edible and quite delicious. You’ll get so much more value for your money if you cook up the greens as well as the roots!
Beet greens taste like and can be cooked similarly to chard. They are a little more strongly flavoured, so they pair really well with robust proteins like bacon or shiitake mushrooms. However beet greens do still leech a lot of colour into whatever they are cooked with, so don’t be surprised when your entire sauté or soup turns red.
Beet greens can also be eaten raw. They have a nice earthy flavour and can be used much like you would use raw kale. Just chop them very finely. Beets have very thick leaves, which can correspond to being tough if left in large chunks. This is because beet greens have a thick cuticle – the outermost layer of a leaf which prevents it from losing water. (Look, I had to include at least one science fact, I am me). Heat and acids breakdown the cuticle layer which softens up all kinds of tough, leafy greens.
Like many root vegetables, beets last for a long time if stored properly. So, how do you store beets properly.
- Beet roots and beet greens should be stored separately. If you get your beets with the greens still attached the first step is to cut the stems a couple inches from the top of the beet. If left on the root, the greens will draw all the moisture out of it.
- Beet roots last the longest when stored in a cool, dry portion of the fridge with plenty of air flow. A paper bag (rather than plastic) is useful for better airflow around root vegetables. Or they can be just stored loose – and NOT in a high humidity produce drawer. Also, make sure the beets are completely dry before storing.
- Storing beet greens is exactly the opposite of beet roots. Like chard and kale, the greens need a high humidity environment (though not wet) to stay fresh. Store your beet greens in a bag in one of the produce drawers. I like to add a paper towel to the bag to absorb any water that accumulates.
When stored properly like this, beet roots can last 2-3 weeks in the fridge and beet greens can last 5 days. While I do not necessarily advise keeping beets this long, I have had beets last in a well ventilated portion of the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
To peel or not to peel? That is the question.
Strictly speaking, beets don’t have to be peeled. In fact, when you have small beets, peeling just means you lose half the beet! The best way to clean baby beets is just a light scrub in cool water to get rid of any lingering roots and dirt. And maybe a bit of extra trimming at the top to remove lingering stems.
Now with large beets, especially those that have been stored for a while (i.e. don’t have their greens), peeling can be a good plan. As beets get more mature (bigger) the skin gets thicker, and when the beets have been sitting in storage and losing moisture it can become very tough and unpleasant to eat. So peeling large beets is a good default.
Whether or not to peel beets also depends on how you are preparing them. Eating them raw? Peel them (unless they are small, tender, and fresh from the ground). Roasting your beets? Peeling is typically not necessary (just clean up any bits that look tough). But when steaming beets, it is really dependent on the quality of the beets, though most of the time I will peel them or give them a heavy-duty scrub.
I get it. Sometimes we all forget about those veggies tucked at the back of the fridge. Fortunately, beets are one of the vegetables that can be rescued if they’ve been sitting too long and lost moisture.
To save a beet that has started to go soft:
- Trim off the ends and slice the beet in half.
- Submerge in a bowl full of cold water. Loosely cover.
- Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
- Use within 24 hours of rehydrating.
This is only for beets that have lost moisture but are still whole and dry. Do not try this if any portion of the beet has gone slimy or one particular spot is significantly softer than the rest of the beet. These signs indicate the beet has started to rot and should be thrown away.
15+ Beet Recipes for All Occasions
There are so many great ways to prepare beets. Try one of these excellent beet recipes to use up all those extra beets in your fridge.