Earthy and sweet, beetroot has a dramatic purply-pink flesh that instantly brightens up a boring meal. Cook and slice it into tender wedges, or use raw in smoothies, cakes, salads, and sandwiches. Here’s more on how to boss up your beets:
How to prep and cook beetroot
Trim the root off your beetroot and cut the stalks down to an inch. Leave the skin on and wash well. To cook whole, boil for 20-25 minutes in salted, boiling water or steam for 30-40 minutes. Alternatively, wrap in foil and bake in an ovenproof dish for an hour or so (this recipe for simple roasted beetroots is perfect). While the beetroot is still warm, cradle it in a paper towel, to prevent staining your hands, and peel away the skin.
To cook beetroot in chunks, wedges or cubes, peel and chop them first, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings before roasting on a baking tray. This technique reduces cook time and lends beets a caramelised flavour. If preferred, wrap them in foil so they gently steam in the parcel rather than roast. Then get to slicing, mashing, pickling, or pureeing them as you please.
Roasted beets lend a sweet, earthy note to pasta dishes. Blitz them with olive oil, garlic, seasonings, and a dollop of cream cheese before folding through hot spaghetti. The vivid colour is brilliant for bewitching fussy eaters and turning their fingers purple.
This burgundy beetroot pesto is a game-changing pasta sauce too! Plus, it’s delish spread on sandwiches, toasties, and quesadillas.
Scatter cooked beetroot over a green salad topped with salty feta and walnuts or mix it into a dressed grain salad – quinoa, bulgur or couscous mixed with chargrilled veggies makes for a filling vegan main. Raw beetroot, either julienned or grated, adds a lovely crunch to salads too.
Sizzle cumin and mustard seeds in hot oil before tossing in chunks of beetroot. Sprinkle over chilli flakes, turmeric, salt, garlic paste and a splash of water. Fry on high heat until the water evaporates before finishing with a handful of green herbs and fresh chillies.
Blend beetroot with canned chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini to make a vibrantly purple hummus packed with fibre and flavour (splash in some of the tinned chickpea water, known as aquafaba, for a smoother consistency). Switch the chickpeas for feta to make a peppy, purple cheese dip; delicious served with tortilla chips or slathered over avocado toast for a protein-rich brekkie.
Slice raw, peeled beetroot into thin rounds with a mandolin and deep fry to make beet crisps. Drain on kitchen towel and season while hot. For a healthier option, try this baked veggie crisps recipe.
Dreamy in sandwiches, salads and shawarmas, pickled beetroot is a breeze to make. This cider vinegar version is super-fast and ideal for scattering over tacos, mixing into Fattoush or swirling into creamy pasta salads for a piquant punch.
Substitute grated carrots for raw beetroot in carrot cake recipes for a super-moist bake. Beat reserved beetroot juice into the icing to make pastel pink buttercream or cream cheese frosting. Grated beetroot is also incredible in squidgy brownies because it enhances their fudgy texture and complements the richness of the cocoa powder.
How to cook beetroot stalks/tops
Treat beet stalks like other leafy green veg, such as kale and spring greens. Sauté in garlicky butter, toss into a stir fry at the last minute, whizz into a green pesto or stir into a hearty tarka daal.