Roasted Beets with a Curry Vinaigrette


I absolutely love beets — it is such a refreshingly sweet vegetable.  I love to eat them with salads or in borscht like Holodnik (Russian cold soup).   Typically, you can cook the beets by simply boiling them in water until tender.  My chef friend Kei, who works at a very fancy Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco, gave me an amazing recipe for roasted beets and oh my goodness… you will never go back to boring boiling after this!

Beets are as richly intense in flavor as in color, and this recipe kicks it up a notch by infusing the naturally sweet taste with aromatic herbs and spices.  The resulting roasted beets are absolutely beautiful, and you can eat them alone,  in a salad, serve them with a tangy Curry Vinaigrette, or complement the dish with Poached Saffron Apples.  This recipe is a bit a of a time investment (1.5-2 hrs), but you can cook a bunch at the same time and they will keep well in the refrigerator.  Also, rather than throwing the tough stems away, be sure to save the beet tops as you can make a deliciously simple Beet Top Stew.

There are three common types of beets: red, yellow, and chiyoga-pink.  Stick with one type per batch because otherwise you will end up with tie-dyed colored beets, which is essentially blasphemy according to Chef Kei.  When I suggested that might just make the beets look cooler with a swirl of red and yellow colors, Kei looked like he was about to cry.  So respect his artistic (albeit slightly high maintenance) culinary vision, and stick with one color beet type. 😛

Roasted Beets (courtesy of Kei Kurobe)

Yields: 3-4 servings (12 beets)


  • 1 dozen heirloom baby beets (stick with one color lest suffer Chef Kei’s wrath)
  • 5 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin or 1 tbsp of whole cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander(optional)
  • 1 tbsp whole fennel seed (optional)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)
  • 1/2 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 5 cups water (enough to slightly cover beets)
  • aluminum foil


Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cut the top of the beets and wash.

Don’t throw the beet tops away!  You can save the beet tops (leafy stalks and all!) to make a deliciously simple Beet Top Stew.

Place beets in a oven pan large enough to accommodate 12 baby beets (should have some space in between each one.)

Toast all the spices (salt, peppercorn, cumin, coriander, fennel) in a small sauté pan until aroma is noticeable.  This step just brings out the characteristics of the spices.  You can also microwave the spices; the point is just to heat them so that the flavors are released.

Add the toasted spices, EVOO and red wine vinegar to the pan.  Massage the beets with your hands to ensure each beet is seasoned.  At this point, add your aromatic fresh herbs as well.

Add the water to the pan and make sure the beets are slightly covered.  Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in the oven at 350°F for 1 – 1.5 hours until the beets are tender.  Toothpicks are a good indicator — if it goes through without resistance you are golden.

Once the beets are done roasting, remove them from the aromatic herb and spice bath to let cool.  The skin should be easy to peel right off from the beets. Let the beets chill for a bit before eating them.

A great way to enjoy beets is with a Curry Vinaigrette and Poached Saffron Apples, or tossed with a salad.


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