You Can Beet This
Updated: Sep 22
I’m always surprised by people who say they don’t like beets. I enjoy them in all forms; pickled, roasted, steamed, etc. I planted two different varieties in the garden this year and since I remembered to thin them, they did pretty good. Here’s a portion of my harvest.
Now that they are out of the ground I need to do something with them! (I’ll get to those eggplants next time…)
Quick Pickled Beets
Chilled Beet Soup
Thank you to my friend Peg for pointing me in the direction of Fergus Henderson’s Red Salad. Now I can add “raw” to the list of ways I enjoy beets. This recipe combines beets, red cabbage, and red onion in a refreshing and elegant presentation. You must go read the instructions because Fergus has an interesting way with words.
While Mr. Henderson’s language is very descriptive he’s not very precise when it comes to measurements. I used about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons of walnut oil (in place of the olive oil) in the dressing. I didn’t use the crème fraiche because:
a. Where the heck am I going to find it?
b. Crème = cream = saturated fat!
Instead I complemented my salad with a scoop of vegan cream cheese. You could use fat free yogurt, sour cream, or even some soft goat cheese if you are not avoiding dairy products. Fresh chervil is also hard to locate in this area; my herbs on the side are tarragon and parsley.
P.S. – When you are working with beets you are going to make a mess. Just sayin’.
I made a warm beet soup for Valentine’s Day this year but since it is summer I thought I would experiment with a chilled version. I found this recipe for “Chilled Beet Soup with Buttermilk and Dill” at Epicurious. It’s a soup that’s traditional to Poland. I love that it uses the beet greens.
To save a step or two (and a pot or two – I hate doing dishes) I peeled, sliced, and steamed my beets. After 15 minutes I placed the chopped beet greens on top of the beets and steamed an additional 5 minutes or so until the beets were soft and the greens were wilted. I chopped the mixture in the saucepan with this handy utensil and added the remaining ingredients.
I don’t eat dairy products so I used cashew milk and a tablespoon of white vinegar to replace the buttermilk and skipped the sour cream entirely. Please note – if you use the full amount of pickle brine plus the pickle this soup has over 600 milligrams of sodium per serving. That’s almost half of what most Americans should have in a full day. You can cut back on the pickle brine as I did, or just make sure to watch your sodium for the rest of the day.
Quick Pickled Beets
I don’t do any large scale pickling or canning but I wanted to turn some of my beets into a pickle that would keep for a while. I found this recipe at simplyrecipes.com.
The recipe offers two different methods for preparing beets; either roasting or boiling. I preferred to steam them as I did with the soup recipe.
Here are my pickled beets. They are going to make a nice addition to salads and relish trays if I can keep them out of my husband’s clutches this week. The pale ones are from a pretty candy cane striped beet variety that I planted.
I hope you will give these recipes a try and let me know what you think!