My mother-in-law and I are die-hard beet lovers, but even we don't usually think of having beets on a weeknight because cooking them whole can take up to an hour-who has time for that? So I was thrilled when she and I finally got to chat about 4 quick and healthy beet recipes in the February issue of EatingWell and she practically shouted, "I can't believe I never thought of cutting beets before cooking them!" A revelation!
If you cut beets up first, they need only about 10 minutes in the steamer (see Tip, below). And once you steam them, beets go well with so many flavors. I especially love Brown Sugar-Glazed Beets (recipe below), lightly sweetened with orange juice and brown sugar.
Or if I get a hankering for a hot bowl of soup, I'll make Borscht, a simple beet soup typically made with beef broth and garnished with sour cream. I try to keep a bag of spinach and a jar of olives in the fridge so I can make Warm Spinach & Beet Salad whenever the craving hits. And if we're firing up the grill for steak or chicken, I'll get a batch of Quick Pickled Beets in the fridge right when I get home so they can marinate for 30 minutes before we sit down to dinner, they pair nicely with grilled meat.
Here are a few tips on cooking beets to get you started:
- How to Prep & Steam Beets: Trim greens (if any) and root end; peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Cut beets into 1/2- to 1-inch-thick cubes, wedges or slices.
- To steam on the stovetop: Place in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a large pot. Cover and steam over high heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
- To steam in the microwave: Place in a glass baking dish, add 2 tablespoons water, cover tightly and microwave on High until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Brown Sugar-Glazed Beets
Sweet glaze on beets or other root vegetables helps to balance their earthy flavor. This easy recipe will work with steamed carrots, turnips or rutabaga too.
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups steamed cubed beets, 1/2- to 1-inch cubes
Combine brown sugar, orange juice, butter, salt and pepper in a large nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until the sugar and butter are melted and starting to bubble. Stir in beets and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beets are coated with glaze, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
Makes 6 servings, about 1/2 cup each.
Per serving: 74 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 5 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 2 g fiber; 164 mg sodium; 276 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Folate (18% daily value).
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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