I didn't grow up eating beets. Honestly, I was very confused on how to cook these and what they would taste like. Is it like a potato and cranberry mixed into a vegetable? Utter confusion.
Then I guess you could say my taste buds changed as an adult. Part of the reason it changed was because, growing up, we didn't have much variety when it came to American produce. I hated eating salads because I honestly didn't get why anyone would like iceberg lettuce that tasted like nothing, with a knob of raw carrot.
Let me extend the invitation to try something new that you always decline. Sometimes it's just a sucky piece of vegetable that's not in season, and that's why it tastes like the color gray. Don't let that stop you from trying it again. Add some spices to it. Or maybe you need a more naked version of it because it was always slathered in something gross. Either way, it's a passport to some new things in life!
This recipe is crazy simple. Red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh thyme, salt, pepper and the glorious beets. I like to use larger ones because you don't have to peel as many.
Wash these out as best you can. They usually have dirt packed in the stems. These are already cut from the "A Pasta Dish For Fall" post. It's all edible, so you can leave a little bit of stem on the top.
Steaming will take care of getting the skins off and cooking them to make it tender. I'm steaming these for two reasons. September is that time of year in Seattle when the weather is confused. Some might argue that happens all twelve months. September means cold mornings and warmer afternoons, so it's muggy. All the time. So steaming means that I don't have to turn on my oven, and it's a lot faster.
The beets will steam for about 30 minutes. Since we have time, let's work on the thyme. Ha ha. Hahahahhahahhahah. Ah, it's the little things in life :)
I have two types of thyme growing in my garden (which is super easy to grow and worth it to have around, hint hint). The sprig on the left has a woodier stem, so you'll want to strip the leaves off. The thyme on the right has a tender stem, so you can chop the whole thing up. I'm all for using the whole ingredient, if it's edible.
In order to get the leaves off of the woody stem, start from the top and pull down. If you go the other way, the leaves wont come off as easily. Pop the few leaves that were harder to grab from the top and chop them up. If there's multiple branches on the sprig, pop them off and use the same method.
One of the things I love about this recipe is the versatility. You don't have red wine vinegar? Use the white vinegar! Want to use grape seed oil instead? Do it! Love this recipe but hate thyme? That's fine! Switch it out with some rosemary or parsley instead.
Beets are ready! Poke one with a fork or a knife and make sure it's tender how you like it.
Move them into a large bowl to cool down. You should see some of the skin starting to peel off already.
After they're cool, use a paper towel to rub off the skin. I'm sure you've heard it many times, and I'll say it again, beets stain VERY easily. Not using gloves is gambling. I'm a girl who likes to take risks.
Just kidding! I'm the biggest scaredy-cat ever, but I'm not a fan of wearing latex gloves. I'll take stained hands.
Aren't they just beautiful?! The more colorful the produce, the more nutrients are packed in there. So beets, welcome to my tummy.
Cut these into bite sized pieces. These were cut in half, then quartered lengthwise. I used tongs to help me cut these for less of a mess on my hands. I also used a plastic cutting board, so these babies wouldn't stain my wood cutting board that I love so much.
Drizzle in the olive oil.
Then the red wine vinegar. This gives the beets some tang.
Throw in the fresh thyme, salt and pepper. This would be fine without the pepper, but I always love a little bit more spice.
Mix it all together, and there you have it. Delicious, soon to be marinated in the fridge, beets. They still taste delicious at this stage, but you get more of the vinegar sharpness if you let them hang out in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Store these in glass or metal containers. I am a huge fan of mason jars to store side add-ons like these. They will keep for awhile, so this is something to make ahead of time and bring out whenever you want to show off, uh I mean, feed your family and guests.
Join me in my day dream. We're on the side of a mountain, eating these with some roasted chicken and a Pilsner. Maybe there's some yodeling. Ja , das wäre wunderbar .
Makes about 2 quarts
5 large beets
5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
8-10 Sprigs fresh thyme
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon pepper
- Cut the tops of the beets and wash off any dirt.
- Steam beets until they are fork tender (no resistance when you poke with a fork), about 30 minutes.
- Let cool, then rub off skins with paper towels.
- Cut the boiled beets, on a plastic cutting board, to bite sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, drizzle the olive oil and red wine vinegar ob the beets.
- Add in the fresh thyme, salt and pepper and stir everything until the beets are evenly coated.
- Refrigerate in a glass or metal container until ready for serving.
- Beets stain very easily so be careful when handling and storing them.
- The longer you marinate the beets, the stronger the flavor, so wait at least an hour to serve.
- Substitute fresh thyme for dried if it's not available, but use a little more.