I didn’t come up with this method for cooking beets, but I just have to spread the word. It’s easier than anything, and it means that I can still have the sweet taste of roasted beets in salads without having to use my oven on a hot summer day. There’s plenty of places on the internet to find the basic method of “roasting” whole beets in your slow cooker, but I’m choosing to give you this link because I loved the name of the blog, Parents Need to Eat Too.
I had smaller beets, so made two foil wrapped packages to fit into my slow cooker. I did exactly as she and others instruct; I left the tails and about one inch of the stems on the top. It was delightful to realize how easy the skins and the stems came right off with a slight dunk or rinse in cold running water. Like taking off gloves, only easier!
The “before” pictiure is at the top of the blog post. And here is the “after” photo:
I was so pleased with the texture and taste of these little beauties from the Farmer’s Market that I whipped up a quick dressing to go with them atop a stir-fry of various green plants from my garden: broccolini flowers, sugar snap peas, baby chard, orach and arugula flowers. If fresh herbs are available, this easy, tasty fat-free dressing is as effortless as cooking the beets, only faster.
Orange Dressing with Sage and Mustard
fresh squeezed juice of one orange
orange zest from orange (at least a teaspoon, more to taste)
1 tbs of no salt added mustard (or more to taste)
1 tbs of sage flower vinegar (see notes)
5 or 6 leaves of fresh lemon sage, chopped
a few sprigs of lemon thyme, chopped (blossoms are okay to use along with the leaves)
garlic and/or onion granules, to taste
Mix all this up in a little jar. Pour over salad. Refrigerate leftovers. Will keep for several days. Notes: If you don’t have lemon sage or lemon thyme, use regular, and add some lemon zest for a lemony lift. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried, but fresh are best, because they give this dressing its unique flavors. If you haven’t made sage flower vinegar, try using a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and add a tiny bit of powdered fennel, or a few crushed fennel seeds or a sprig of leaves from a fresh fennel plant.
If you want to take the time to peel and cube your beets the night before, here is another slow cooker recipe for beets from Kathy Hester. It looks yummy too. She uses mint, and that might be a good substitute for the sage if you don’t have any. It will change the effect though. If I was going to use mint and/or parsley in a dressing similar to the one I came up with here, I’d choose a pureed red berry for the base of the dressing, such as raspberries or strawberries, rather than the orange juice. Bon appetit!!