Beets are a staple in the world of healthy dieting. Not only are these vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals, but they also contain specific nutrients that are usually missing from the average diet. Adding beets to your weekly meals will help increase levels of vitamin B, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper and potassium, but these tasty treats also feature some pretty surprising benefits to your overall health.

People who eat beets on a regular basis have reported health benefits including improvements in blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart disease. Beets are great for the heart because they contain nitrates, which help relax blood vessels and increase circulation throughout the body. With better blood flow, your liver will also have an easier job cleansing your blood.

Beets contain high levels of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants that help in the fight against chronic diseases. This includes obesity, heart disease, and even cancer. Because beets are rich in fiber, they can help your body with digestion and prevent constipation and irregularity. Beets are one the healthiest vegetables on the market and are a great way to bolster your diet. But how do you cook them?

group of beets resting on wooden surgace
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How To Prepare Beets

When preparing beets for a dish, the primary task is to remove the outer skin. Start by cutting off the stem about an inch from the root. Then wash the beet with water using your hands to remove as much dirt as possible.

You can remove the skin when the beet is raw by using a peeler, though this will stain your hands -- and everything else -- a deep scarlet. The easiest and cleanest way to remove the skin is by boiling the beet and then placing it in cool water. Once the vegetable is cool to the touch, the skin will easily peel off by hand.

beets on a table cut open
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How To Cook Beets

You can prepare beets by roasting, steaming and boiling them. Boiling and roasting are easy ways to remove the outer skin of the beet and allow you to cut it depending on your recipe. Steaming, meanwhile, is ideal for when you need to add beets as a side dish.

Steaming

  • Peel the outer skin and cut the beet into half inch slices
  • Place the cut beets into a steamer basket and fill a pan with about two inches of water
  • Bring to a simmer
  • Add the basket and cover until the beets are tender to the touch. This step should take between 15 and 20 minutes.

Slow Roasting

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
  • Drizzle the fresh beets with olive oil and wrap them loosely in foil. If your recipe requires a lot of beets, you can place them all inside a baking dish and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 45 to 60 minutes and let cool
  • After 10 to 15 minutes, you should be able to peel the skins away with a paper towel

Quick Roasting

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Peel and cut the beets into half-inch squares
  • Spread the cut beets on foil and coat them with oil and seasoning
  • Curl the edges of the foil up to create a pocket
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The beets are ready to eat when you can easily pierce them with a knife.

Boiling

  • Place the washed beets into boiling water for around 15 to 20 minutes
  • When the beets are tender, drain the water and put the veggies in an ice bath
  • Once they are cool to touch, you can remove the skins with a paper towel, cut and enjoy
beets on a wooden surface
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Beet Pairings

What should you serve with your beets? Goat cheese is one of the most popular pairings because many recipes for beet-centric dishes call for the vegetables to be roasted and dusted with goat cheese before eating. Other foods also go well with beets, including nuts, apples, citrus, mustard and fennel.

Beets are sweet and pairing them with fatty nuts brings out their flavor. Try combining beets and almonds into a dip or adding pistachios and beets to a veggie slaw. Apples are another great pairing because they add a slight taste of acidity to the mix, as do oranges, grapefruits and lemons.

What Can You Make With Beets?

Pickled Beets

Pickling is a great way to cook beets, and it doesn't result in a vinegar aftertaste associated with pickled veggies. This recipe requires minimal ingredients and can keep well for 1 to 3 months.

pickled beets in mason jars on a wooden table
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Buddha Bowls

Though fancy by name, Buddha bowls are nothing more than a mixture of healthy vegetables, proteins and grains. A good recipe to follow is to combine beets with avocado, chopped carrots, rice, spinach and eggs. These bowls are also great for parties and can double as salad-bar toppings.

buddha bowl with vegetables
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Beet Chips

Beet chips are a delicious snack packed with sweetness. But unlike potato chips, you can snack on this recipe all day long and feel totally guilt-free.

beet chips in a white bowl on marble surface with beets in the background
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Carrot and Beet Slaw

Beets share a lot of similarities with carrots. Both of these vegetables can be consumed raw, they are crunchy unless cooked, and are sweet to taste. By combining the two in one meal with this recipe, you get double the benefits.

carrot, apple and beet slaw on a white plate
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