Recipe Spotlight

All About Beets: How to Shop for, Prep, and Cook Them

Everything you need to know about these ruby roots.

Published Sept. 8, 2023.

How does your family feel about beets? Are you a “love that earthy sweetness” bunch or more “ew, tastes like dirt”? I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by fellow beet fiends, so we go through a lot in my household (and I have the stained cutting boards, dish towels, and fingertips to prove it).

When you’re doing your shopping, look for medium beets, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, preferably with the greens still attached to ensure that they’re fresh. Those greens are perfectly edible too! You can sauté them just like you would Swiss chard. Trim the greens off as soon as you get home, though, and wash and store them wrapped in paper towels and tucked in a plastic bag. Use the greens within a couple days, but the beets will stay fresh in your fridge for at least a month!

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

When it comes to preparing your beets, you’ve got options.

  • If you have time, roasting is the way to go: Wrap your beets in aluminum foil, stick them in a 400-degree oven for about an hour, then rub away the skins once they’ve cooled down (I just use their crumpled foil wrap to scrape away skins since it’s already dirty).
  • Microwave them if you’re in a rush: Peel the beets and cut them into ½-inch pieces, then microwave them with a splash of water, covered, for about 25 minutes.
  • I love adding shredded raw beets to salads: Use a box grater, or use the shredding disk of a food processor for even speedier results. Even better, I find that I can leave the skin on shredded beets and the texture becomes hardly noticeable. Bonus!
  • If all else fails, vacuum-packed cooked beets are a great convenience option too! We liked them just as much as freshly cooked beets in side-by-side taste tests. Canned beets didn’t fare as well (they have a sweeter flavor and softer texture) but are still acceptable in a pinch. 
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Vegetables Illustrated

The best-selling cookbook for anyone looking for fresh, modern ways to add more vegetables to their everyday diet. Covering 70 vegetables, Vegetables Illustrated has you covered for every vegetable and every season.

Try one of our fan-favorite beet recipes tonight: Roasted Beets with Lemon-Tahini Dressing pairs savory caramelized beets with a nutty, creamy dressing. Shredded Root Vegetable Salad with Orange Vinaigrette is a crunchy, tangy salad that brightens any meal. And Coriander Salmon with Beets, Oranges, and Avocados comes together in no time thanks to precooked beets.

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