Though they’re sweet enough to use in dessert (like a sensational naturally dyed red velvet cake), earthy beets are fantastic in savory dishes, especially when they involve a nice hit of tangy vinegar or goat cheese. Here are 15 ways to use them that go beyond adding them to a salad.
1. Crushed. For beets that are crispy on the outside and supertender within, steam them whole, then mash them until flattened and sear them in butter and olive oil.
3. Sandwiches. Slice rounds of cooked beets and sandwich them on slider rolls with goat cheese or horseradish crème fraîche. Or use them in a vegetarian Reuben.
4. Salt-roasted. To create perfectly seasoned, incredibly flavorful beets, bury them in salt and then roast.
5. Risotto. Stain the creamy rice dish magenta by adding shredded beets soon before serving.
6. Tomato soup. Make a lighter soup that nods to borscht by combining beets and tomatoes and pureeing with stock.
7. Latkes. Shred beets along with potatoes to make a (slightly) healthier version of the fried savory pancake.
8. Soy-braised. Braise beets in a soy sauce and vinegar-seasoned stock to serve as an incredibly flavorful side dish.
9. Gnocchi. Puree beets to use in these deliciously earthy dumplings.
10. "Tartare." Shave cooked red beets and top them with classic beef tartare ingredients, like capers and onions.
11. Slaw. Shred beets and serve them raw in a citrusy dressing.
12. Kebabs. Skewer cooked beets and finish them off on the grill so they get nice and smoky.
14. Salsa. Broil cooked beets until charred, then chop and toss with garlic, chiles and cilantro; serve with tortilla chips.
15. Red velvet cake. Dye this classic cocoa cake naturally by adding beet puree.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.