How to cook beetroot – 4 simple and delicious methods

Want to know how to cook beetroot? We guide you through 4 simple recipes to getting delicious food out of this unique vegetable...

How to cook beetroot? Most people imagine beetroots to be tough and crunchy due to their strange and earthy look. But after tasting well-cooked beets, they change their mind. Beetroots are a delicacy with nutritional benefits, you only need to learn how to cook these vegetables properly to realise they are a delicious addition to your meals.

Beetroots are a very unique type of root vegetable with the beet bulb covering most parts of the plant. Both the leaves, roots and the bulb are consumable but most people eat the bulb part. This type of root vegetable will supply you with essential minerals that include iron and magnesium and vitamins. You can find beetroots in red, purple or golden colours but their taste remains the same.

This quick guide will show you how to cook beetroots to take alongside other foods.

How to cook beetroots

Preparation

Beets can be cooked in many different ways depending on your preference. Regardless of the method of cooking, beetroots must be prepared before they are cooked. In case you purchased beets with their leaves attached, you are required to remove the leafy greens. If you intend to eat the leaves, preserve them for later use – if not trash them.

Chop off the green leaves on a knife block and leave at least one inch of the green intact then use a vegetable scrubber to scrub your beets soily surface. Wash them using clean water before you chop them to avoid contaminating the inside.

Depending on the size of your beetroots cut them in halves or quarters such that they cook faster. It is not necessary to peel your beets since the skin will peel off during cooking, regardless of the method you plan to cook your beets with.

1. Boiling

Boiling is the easiest and a no-fail method of getting your beets cooked every time, it’s the most preferred method of cooking this vegetable.

You are required to have a boiling pot large enough to accommodate the number of beets you want to boil. Add your beets to the pot and add water to cover the beets by approximately 1-2 inches of water.

Set the temperature to your source of heat to be moderate such that when your beets start to boil, you can cover the pot and reduce to simmer. This should continue until your beets are fork-tender within a period of between 30- 60 minutes. The time can vary depending on the size of your beets.

Immediately you realise your beets are fork-tender, transfer and subject them to an ice-cold water bath to prevent them from overcooking and allow them to cool faster. You are then required to peel the skin off and give them a final rinse as you enjoy your silky smooth and perfectly boiled beets.

How to cook Boiled beetroot on a white background
How to cook whole roasted beetroot served on a white plate on top of a white table.

2. Whole roasting

This method of cooking beetroot involves tossing beets with olive oil, salt and pepper to ensure that your beets are infused with vibrant flavours.

You are supposed to roast the beets in that package for about 1 hour with a constant temperature of about 370 degrees Fahrenheit. This method involves constant poking of this package to ensure that you get it ready as soon as it gets tender to avoid overcooking.

3. Cut and roast

You should not worry if you are in a hurry and feel like taking beetroot. Cut and roast are one of the quickest methods to cook them. This method of cooking beetroots is not just quick but also provides a chance to add more ingredients and flavours added to your beets.

You are required to cut your beets into either halves or quarters and wrap them in aluminium foil and subject them to high temperatures of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit which encourages mallard browning. This takes an estimated 20 to 30 minutes.

You can prepare your beets this way alongside other meals because the aluminium foil prevents other meals from staining.

How to cook Cut and roasted beetroots
How to cook beetroot by steaming them and slicing them and finally serving them in  a wooden bowl.

4. Steaming

Steaming involves cooking beetroots using vapour and pressure. Water in a closed vessel is heated with temperatures of about 212 degrees Fahrenheit then the produced moisture cooks the beetroot. This method ensures that no nutrients are lost in the water.

When cooking beetroots through steaming ensure that no water touches the steamer basket. This process takes about 30 minutes and the automatic peeling of the skin is a clear indication that your beets have cooked.

Health benefits of eating beetroots

With low calories, beets supply your body with nutrients that include vitamins and minerals. They also help in regulating blood pressure due to high concentrations of nitrates. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body which helps blood vessels to dilate hence dropping your blood pressure. Also, beets are a good source of fibre and supply the body with enough water.

Tips on handling beets

Being a food set to build your body, beets are to be handled with utmost sanitary conditions. They should first be washed before preparing them. 

Red beets will stain anything they come into contact with including your hands and chopping board. Even though the stains are not permanent, it is always advisable that you handle them carefully to avoid the struggle of thorough cleaning. Use gloves to reduce the intensity of the staining caused by beet juice. If it gets into contact with your hands ensure that you wash it off to avoid contaminating other kitchen appliances.

Beets get generally hot when cooked: ensure you cool them before handling and eating them.

Mistakes to avoid when cooking beets

A pile of raw beetroots on an ash wooden table

Undercooking beets

Even though they take longer than most foods to cook, beets taste sweet when cooked properly. You should always use a fork to test if they are tender enough before you consider them cooked. If you doubt, do not hesitate to cook them further.

Photograph of unpeeled bulbs of beetroot in a decorative bowl

Serving them unpeeled

Beet peels are not poisonous and are edible but the taste is not pleasant. A majority say that it tastes like dirt. Peeling is always recommended when the peels are warm.

Four slices of cooked beetroot on a wooden slab next to small slices of garlic and herbs

Having sliced beets cooked in water

When you attempt to cook beetroots in water, you risk losing a lot of nutrients and flavour to water. You should cook beets with their peel intact. If you have to remove the skin, then the best way to cook them is by roasting them in an oven.

Final thoughts on how to cook beetroot

That’s how you cook the beetroot. Just chop off the unneeded parts, scrub the surfaces, clean your beets, and maintain sanitary standards throughout the cooking process regardless of which method you choose to use. Beets are best served when hot and can be accompanied by other veggies, meats, and stew.