Roasted Whole Beets without Foil
You’ve all heard me talk about how aluminum foil is a big “NO, NO“ when it comes to cooking, and if not, then I’m here to remind you again. Aluminum foil is a big “NO, NO” (sorry Reynolds) because it leaches aluminum into your food, so don’t roast or bake your veggies and meat on foil, use parchment paper instead!
Also, most commercial baking sheets (I think all of them actually) are made of heavy-duty aluminum, which like aluminum foil will leach into your food, so always line your rimmed baking sheets/sheet pans with parchment paper. For instance, if you’re roasting up sweet potato fries, cookies, chicken breasts or broccoli make sure to put a layer of parchment paper between the food and the baking sheet. The parchment paper prevents the aluminum from leaching into your food, so it’s basically a barrier.
The parchment paper I use and love is, If You Care, unbleached parchment paper. You can find it at Amazon and in most Whole Food stores (for less money than Amazon, by the way).
So let’s get back to roasting whole beets. Today I’m going to show you how to roast whole beets without foil. Most recipes call for you to roast whole beets by wrapping them in a foil packet. That’s great, but now knowing what we know about foil, who wants to cook their beets up that way? Not me! I found an even easier and less wasteful technique, where the beets come out perfect, flavorful and tender every time, and that is to just put the whole beets on a layer of parchment paper, and roast them away. Easy peasy!
Beets are an amazing vegetable to try incorporating into your diet. Beets are;
- High in immune-boosting vitamin C.
- High in fiber.
- High in essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function).
- High in manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas).
- Contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
- They’re great for the liver, as they stimulate the liver’s detoxifying processes.
- The pigment (betacyanin) in beets is a powerful anti-cancer fighting agent and that paired with the high fiber content of beets help protect against colon cancer.
- Rich in carotenoids, which may help boot brain functioning and stave off depression.
You can do so much with roasted beets. Make a batch on Sunday, and you’ll have roasted beets all week to add to just about anything, as roasted beets last 5 days.
I love them paired with diced avocado and celtic sea salt for a quick, easy and healthy post-work out snack. The beets give me potassium, the sea salt replenishes the salts my body lost during my workout, and the avocado is just chock full of healthy fats. All good stuff, and way better than reaching for a carb or cookie 🙂
I love tossing roasted beets in a salad, such as this roasted beet salad with arugula and toasted and salted almonds. Zoe made up the balsamic vinaigrette recipe for this salad! It’s so darn good, and so easy to whip up!
Roasted beets are a great side just on their own! I packed Zoe some roasted beets for her lunch the other day, and this was the text I received from her, “hi mom, the beets were super yummy. The way you cooked them was awesome!” So there you go, my 16-year-old loves roasted beets! Eli on the other hand, will eat them, but they’re not his favorite thing..
roasted whole beets without foil:
prep time: 5 minutes | cook time: 40-60 minutes – cooking time varies depending on the size of your beets
- whole beets, as many as you want to cook up – I usually cook up 4 at a time, as once roasted, they last a week in the fridge
- coconut oil
- sea salt
- parchment paper
Pretty simple list of ingredients, but hey, we’re just roasting up some beets, so we don’t need too much! Simple and easy is always good in my book.
This roasting method works for any kind, color and sized beet, but smaller to medium-sized beets take less time to roast, and usually taste better.
Selecting beets: Pick beets that feel firm and hard in your hand, never soft or squishy, with smooth skins and no noticeable bruising. If you have the choice, pick bunches with their greens still attached and reserve for the greens for another use or recipe. You can enjoy the greens by themselves massaged or tossed in a salad or with other leafy greens, or sauté them in a bit of olive oil or balsamic vinegar and salt, blanch them and toss them in a pasta. You can also freeze them and use them for soup stock. If the beets have been trimmed, then look for beets with at least 2 inches of stem still attached.
Storing fresh beets: If you purchase beets with the greens attached, try and cut the greens from the beets as soon as you get home, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem attached. You can leave the beets on the counter at room temperature (if it’s cool) for a few days, if not using them right away, or store them in the fridge for up to 10 days. Be sure to use the beet greens within a day or two, as they don’t keep well. You can wash and use them day 1, or store them unwashed in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for a day.
When you’re ready to roast the beets, slice off the beet leaves close to the tip of the beet, leaving yourself enough to grip.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Get out a large rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment paper.
Rinse and scrub the beets under cool water, using a vegetable brush to get off any caked on dirt. Don’t scrub the beets too hard, as you don’t want to damage the skin.
Rub each beet with a bit of coconut oil. The coconut oil doesn’t need to be melted, just grab a bit from the container and rub it over each beet. Sprinkle each beet with a bit of sea salt.
Roast the beets until a knife or skewer slides easily to the middle of the beet, anywhere between 40 to 60 minutes. Roasting time varies depending on the size of the beets.
I would check the beets at 40 minutes, and if a knife goes easily and smoothly through the center of the beet, then they’re ready. If not, roast another 10 minutes and test again. Continue to roast and test until they’re ready.
As you can see, the skin will darken up in color and get a bit wrinkled.
Let the beets cool, about 5-10 minutes.
Once the beets are cool enough to handle, cut off the beet stems and the tails.
Peel the beets by pulling off the skin off with your hands, or by holding the beet in a paper towel and using the edges of the paper towel to rub the skin away. I always just use my hands, and yes, they turn red, but the redness washes away after a few hand washes. You can also peel them under cool running water with your hands!
Storing roasted beets: Once roasted, beets will keep refrigerated for up to a week. You can store them whole or sliced. I store them whole in a glass container with a lid, and slice off just what I need for whatever I’m making.
You can use roasted beets in just about anything. I love them paired with diced avocado for a quick snack. Toss them in your favorite salad, pasta dish, or top them on a pizza.
If you like beets, then try my roasted matchstick beets with coconut oil. These matchstick beets are the perfect vegan or gluten-free crouton to add to salads or soups, and take just 12 minutes to roast up.
The matchstick beets taste amazing on my beet ginger and coconut soup.
Up next I’m posting the recipe for this super simple weeknight salad of roasted beets, arugula and toasted salted almonds tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette! Delish!