Ah, beets. Those boldly hued, sweet-flavored, healthy harbingers of summertime. They’re as appropriate at a sophisticated luncheon in a smartly dressed salad as they are wrapped in tinfoil and thrown on the grill at a casual barbecue. Now that summer’s underway, they’re with us to stay for a while—in New England that means June through September.
Nutrition-wise, this root vegetable is a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are the two best-studied betalains, and both are hugely helpful to our detoxification systems, providing antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Use beets that are large, firm, and feel heavy for their size. Rinse any dirt off of them (scrubbing them if necessary)
Wrap each beet in a piece of tinfoil and either preheat the oven to 375°F or, if you’re grilling, set the grill to medium.
Roast them for about 30 minutes, or grill them for about 20. They’re done when a sharp knife slides in and out of each unwrapped beet easily. At this point they should be easy to peel.
Serve them peeled and sliced up (either hot or cold) with a dressing of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a shake of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Or also add chopped walnuts or hazelnuts, crumbled blue cheese or feta. Enjoy!