I have a love-hate relationship with beets. I’m always drawn to them because of their beautiful magenta hue and the fact that they’re an affordable source of healthy nutrients. Then, once I start working with them in my kitchen, that love fades because that beautiful hue stains everything and they taste like dirt. That earthiness you always hear people referring to when talking about their love, or hatred, of beets is not a flavor I’ve personally acquired a taste for. Yet, I still find myself buying them and trying to make them palatable, usually by adding copious amounts of other things to cover the flavor.
After my most recent beet purchase, I was determined to turn them into something tasty. At first, I roasted them and placed thin slices on a crusty French baguette smeared with goat cheese. I added some balsamic dressed greens and shaved fennel thinking it would all be enough to balance the flavor of the beets, but, alas, it still wasn’t as good as I had hoped. My next attempt was blending some of the roasted beets with goat cheese and herbs into a spreadable dip. It turned out much better than the sandwich and is something I actually want to eat. The addition of sour cream and lemon juice give it a little tang while aiding in getting things moving in the food processor. I had mine on crackers, but it would also go nicely on toast points or spread on a sandwich filled with arugula and a fried egg.
Wait to peel the beets until after they’ve been cooked as they’re much easier to peel at that point. The skin should just slide right off with a little rubbing. Wear gloves when handling the beets to save your skin from stains. I also suggest wearing clothing you don’t care about, even when wearing an apron, because inevitably some beet juice will splatter and find its way around you and your kitchen!
Herbed Beet & Goat Cheese Spread
- 2-3 beets (I used 2 medium sized, you may want to use 3 if they’re small)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on beets before roasting
- 4 oz. garlic & herb flavored goat cheese
- 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, chives, and oregano, plus extra for garnish
- 1 scallion, chopped, plus extra for garnish
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup sour cream (may substitute Greek yogurt if desired)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse beets off, trim any bad spots, and dry with a paper towel. Place beets on aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap foil tightly around beets and place on a baking sheet. Roast beets for about 50-60 minutes or until a fork can be inserted easily. Remove beets from oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, remove skin from beets by rubbing off with paper towels. Wear gloves while doing this to avoid staining your skin. Next, place prepared beets in the bowl of a food processor along with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and other ingredients. Process until well combined and to your desired consistency. I like mine still slightly chunky. May be thinned out with additional olive oil, sour cream, or lemon juice if desired. Serve on crackers or toast garnished with minced herbs and scallions.