Updated: Jun 30
Beets make a great addition to many different dishes; they are delicious roasted and served as a side dish, added to salads, grain bowls, sandwiches, and even hamburgers, and of course, there is the wonderful beet soup, borscht.
The interesting thing about beets is that the texture changes depending on the method you use to cook them. Red beets that are boiled or steamed retain a deep color and have a soft tender texture. Peeled roasted beets also retain good color but have a firmer texture. Beets can be roasted in convection or steam roasted or steamed in a steam oven or you can just simmer them in boiling water.
How you cook beets will depend on the result you desire, just remember that disposable gloves and a washable cutting board make handling beets easier.
Why Convection is Ideal for Roasting Beets
Convection is ideal for roasting vegetables because the circulating convection heat preserves moisture in food while the natural sugars in vegetables caramelize resulting in better flavor and texture. Whenever I served roasted vegetables such as beets at a class there was always someone who marveled at the fact that they were eating and enjoying a vegetable they normally detested all because of the stunning results when that vegetable was cooked in convection.
To prepare beets for roasting they should first be peeled and if roasting both red and golden beets be sure to keep them separate to avoid the red beet juice from staining the golden beets. Wearing disposable gloves is recommended to avoid staining your hands and peeling the beets over newspaper or into a bowl or compost bin helps minimize staining and makes for easy disposal.
Once the beets are peeled cut them into the desired shape on a washable cutting board. Place the pieces in a bowl and toss with a light coating of olive oil, salt, and a sprinkle of mixed Italian seasoning. Spread the beets onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the Convection Bake or Convection Roast mode at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes.
How to Steam Roast Beets (Steam Oven)
Beets can also be steam-roasted using a combination of convection and steam. Simply follow the same method outlined above but check the beets for doneness at around 20 minutes. Because steam ovens are smaller than traditional ovens and the combination of heat and steam is so powerful the cooking time tends to be faster in this mode.
How to Steam Beets (Steam Oven)
When you want velvety soft beets or to prepare beets for pickling, steaming is the best method to choose. Be sure to rinse the beets well to remove any grit and leave about ½ of the stem as well as the root intact. Place the whole beets in the perforated pan with the solid pan underneath to catch any drips and steam for 35 - 50 minutes depending on the size until the point of a sharp knife slips easily into the beet. Set the beets aside to cool before slipping off the skin.
Many years ago when roasted vegetable salads became popular, I sometimes roasted a medley of vegetables that included red and golden beets, parsnips, and yellow sweet potatoes. The roasted vegetables glistened like jewels when mixed with the salad greens and made a wonderful accompaniment to roasted meat or poultry. Even though no real recipe was required (apart from the salad dressing) I always had numerous requests for a recipe whenever this salad was served, reinforcing the universal desire for simple well-prepared meals.
Vegetable dishes also make a great accompaniment to simple grilled meats and in my next posts, I will be covering great ways to make good use of your convection and steam ovens to prepare delicious summer side dishes.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast