Sara's Kitchen's Revelations – You Can Cook Beets in 3 Minutes

The Husband loves beets. Me, not so much. I think they taste like dirt. They take forever to cook – 45 minutes to boil or to steam, and if you steam them you have to keep adding water.  They take a whopping 1 1/2 hours to roast, which is the best way to cook them, but then the whole house smells like dirt. And, when you peel a cooked beet, your hands get stained purple. My hands are already dry, I don’t need to be scrubbing them any more than I already do.

bunches of beets

But the husband, being a nice Jewish boy from Detroit, grew up eating them frequently, either cooked or in the form of a chilled brand called “Mother’s Borscht.”  After I graduated from cooking school I promised I would cook beets for him often. I also promised I would make homemade mayonnaise once a week…

One day, after he had reminded me yet again that I had not cooked beets in recent history I pondered my reservations (long cooking time, purple hands – there was nothing I could do about the dirt like flavor) and thought, hmmm,  if I peeled them raw and then cut them into small pieces, they would not take as long to cook. Cutting them by hand could be perilous – since they are round and hard as rocks. How about coarsely grating them?  But those box graters can be lethal. Suddenly I remembered that dusty box of food processor attachments – there was a grating blade in there. Maybe I could read the instructions and actually figure out how to use it.

Well eureka!! It worked!!

First of all, it only took 5 minutes to peel and cut the beets so that they would fit in the feed tube:

Peeled Beets Ready for the Feed Tube

Secondly, I discovered that raw beets do not stain your hands the same way cooked ones do:

my not so stained hands

Then it only takes two minutes to put them through the feed tube (and what a satisfying activity particularly after a long bad day at the office).

Shredded Yellow and Red Beets

Finally, it only takes 3 minutes to saute them in a thin layer in your choice of oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat.

Shredded Cooked Beets

I usually throw in a splash of balsamic to accentuate their natural sweetness. Sometimes I add toasted pine nuts or walnuts. After I discovered this brilliant method of quick cooking beets, I started experimenting with every other vegetable I could find.

Needless to say, The Husband was thrilled.

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13 Responses to Sara's Kitchen's Revelations – You Can Cook Beets in 3 Minutes

  1. Allison says:

    Hi Sara!
    I have discovered the same method of shredding in the food processor, but go even one step further in the easy department. I make a raw beet salad out of them with a lemon juice vinaigrette. It is delicious and since I live inflorida, needs lots of cool stuff to serve during the summer. You can even put goat cheese on top, and I also mix them with shredded carrots. And no dirt flavor with the lemon! Thanks for your continued inspiration!

  2. Limes says:

    Thanks for this tip, Sara. I love this blog entry; it incorporates more of your story, and so we get to know you in the process. Love that about blogs.

  3. Andrea Lynn says:

    I love beets too! I feel your pain with the stained hands. this sounds amazing and will definitely try this one at home and at work. Thanks!

    • Tery says:

      I also love beets. Never thought of dirt being associated with them. In any case, I solve the stain problem by using tight rubber gloves. Zero stain in hands!

  4. Nancy says:

    Love this! Hubby bought some beets, which have been sitting in the fridge for a few weeks now waiting for us to have the energy to fuss with them. I think I know how we’ll use them now!

  5. Christine says:

    This husband only likes them sliced so I took your idea and used my mandalin and sliced them paper thin and they do cook up faster as well as your way. Thanks for the great ideas

  6. Barb Sanko says:

    Sara, I LOVE beets, and actually, I don’t mind roasting and peeling them. I then slice them and add sliced raw red onion rings, a little balsamic vinegar,olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little thyme. However, your method looks interesting to me, and I think I’ll try it, although I wonder if shredded beets will hold their color and have the same mouth appeal that sliced ones have. I so enjoy your attidue and the way you teach so comfortably. I always look forward to watching you on WTTW Create – Chicago.

  7. Judy Wallisch says:

    I was so happy to read this recipe and couldn’t believe it. I had just been given a few beets from a friend and had the brilliant idea of grating and sauteeing them and voila! Then I saw your recipe and felt proud that I had come up with that brilliant idea myself… My eureka moment 🙂

  8. Laura says:

    This is a great recipe and so easy to prepare! I put a splash of blood orange flavored vinegar on at the end to enhance the natural sweetness of the beets. Delicious! Love having a fast way to prepare beets.

  9. 1-14-2023
    I myself also love beets!!
    Would it be possible to make this with canned beets…. I have no intention of finding beads let alone cooking them and using them…. When, as far as I’m concerned they’re probably the same and I know you’re going to differ…
    What do you think??
    Thank you Happy New Year…

    • Sara Moulton says:

      Canned beets are just fine but basically already cooked, so you just need to shred them and heat them gently in a skillet with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

  10. Joan says:

    This is good, but even easier is to cut them in quarters and do them for 2 minutes with a little water in the microwave! I have those Stoneware Cookers, and I just quarter them and add a tablespoon or so of water, put on the lid and bingo! 2-3 minutes later they’re done! Hubby is very happy!

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