Mariel here. I love beets. Roasted, pickled, spicy, sweet or salted, I order beets whenever possible – I’m predictable that way. I haven’t, however, ever made beets at home. They look weird in the grocery store, like they’d be impossible to cook and require some sort of ancient skill (I feel the same way about turnips, though I don’t love turnips so I don’t sweat it).
Yesterday, I decided it was time to try my hand at home-cooking beets. Inspired by the Mediterranean Roasted Beets at my local hummus joint, I drafted a recipe that plucked from Indian, Med and even French cuisine. I was quite impressed with my concoction and I hope you’ll enjoy it too. Just a word to the wise (or beet-making newbies): wear crap clothes – seriously, dark, stainable rags. Roasting beets can be a messy situation thanks to the veggie’s super-concentrated red pigment.
Roasted Beets with Pears and Feta
Serves 8 (generously as a side)
Note: if you’re serving this dish to company, combine the pears, onions and feta with the beets right before serving, otherwise everything will be stained the same deep red. Just saying, in case that’s the sort of thing that bothers you.
4 large beets whole with stems cut down to about 1 1/4 inches – $3.98
1 pear (any variety as long as it’s ripe) – $0.98
3/4 cup Vidalia onion slices quartered – $0.89
2 TBS finely-chopped fresh cilantro – $0.99
3/4 cup feta, crumbled – $3.99
3/4 cup walnuts or pistachios (optional, I didn’t use any)
3 TBS olive oil – stock
1/2 lemon, juiced – $0.33
1/2 tsp grated or ground ginger – stock
1 large shallot finely minced – $2.99 (for a package)
1 TBS honey – stock
less than 1/4 tsp curry powder – stock
1/4 tsp chili powder – stock
less than 1/4 tsp paprika- stock
1/4 tsp ground black pepper – stock
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste) – stock
1/2 tsp chopped garlic- stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $14.15
Cost per serving: $1.77
1. Preheat the oven to 425
2. Cut off the beet greens leaving about 1 1/4 inch of the purple stems attached to the beet
3. Add the beets to a large glass casserole dish and add 1/4 water. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and put in the oven. Cook for 50-60 minutes until fork-tender.
4. Immediately after, putting the beets in the oven, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside so that the flavors begin to mingle.
5. Once beets are fork-tender, remove from oven and let cool uncovered until you can handle them (5 minutes or so).
6. Remove skins and cut off both ends. Then, cut beets into bite-size chunks (approximately 1-inch wedges). Place into a large salad bowl.
7. Slice pears into 1/4-inch slivers. Cut the Vidalia onion into two 1/4-inch slices then quarter the slices. Crumble the feta if it isn’t pre-crumbled (it’s cheaper when you buy it whole).
8. If you’re eating the salad right away, add the pears, onions, feta and nuts to the salad bowl with the beets and toss with the dressing making sure everything is evenly coated. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.
If you’re not eating this salad right away and plan to serve it to company, dress the beets with 1/2 the dressing, cover and refrigerate. In a separate bowl, cover and refrigerate the undressed feta, pears, onions and nuts. When you’re ready to serve it, add the pears etc to the beets and toss with the additional dressing. Garnish with cilantro.