The downside of beets is that they take a long time to cook. The upside of beets is that they’re delicious either hot or cold, so they’re great in a packed lunch, and throw needed vitamin C and fiber into your diet. Roasted beets are worth it, since they’re much more flavorful and toothsome than canned varieties, and less expensive.
If the beets come with greens, you can cook them up like swiss chard. I would make the greens the first night, roast the beets during dinner, and eat the beets the next day.
1/4 cup olive oil
14 cup balsamic vinegar (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Peeling beets is just like peeling potatoes, but messier. Beet juice will stain a lot of surfaces, including countertops, hands, and fabrics. It’s easiest to just station yourself at the sink with a little water running (or a bowl of water if you’re in a drought area), 4-6 washed beets, and a vegetable peeler or paring knife. put a plastic cutting board at the bottom of the sink. Peel and chop the beets into 1/2″ by 1″ pieces, and rinse as needed.
Place the beet pieces in a baking dish lined with aluminum foil, or an oven-safe pot with a tight lid (e.g. dutch oven).
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and either wrap up tightly in the foil or place the lid.
Bake at 400 F for at least 40 minutes, up to 1.5 hours. After the first 40 minutes, test for doneness, stir the beets, and add 1/3 cup water if they’re looking at all dry on top. Repeat every 20 minutes.
The beets are done when they are about the consistency of a canned pear; firm to the tooth but not crunchy. The easiest way to check is to run a piece under cold water for a moment, then take a bite.
You can serve the beets warm, or refrigerate them and eat them cold. I prefer cold, my partner warm. They stand up to multiple re-heats in the microwave, so make enough to last the week. For a particularly tasty treat, sprinkle them with shredded queso fresco or feta cheese.
Note 1: I have not personally tried it, but there are a lot of recipes for cooking beets whole in a slow-cooker/crockpot. Here’s one example from Southern Food.
Note 2: You can also roast the beets whole and unpeeled, wrapped in foil, and the skins should slide off when they’re done. It takes longer, and I don’t like handling the hot beets, so I peel first. There’s very little difference in the resulting flavor and texture, so see which way you like it!