I’ve always said that beets are my spirit vegetable. There’s something about the transformative nature of these dirty roots that just gets me! Served raw, they’re crunchy with similar earthy undertones to mushrooms and spinach. But when you roast them, their sweetness comes out to play, and they really become magical.
If you’re not on the beet train yet, it’s possible you’ve never discovered how to cook them properly. Why not give grilled beets a shot?
Can you grill beets?
Yes: Beets are one of those surprising foods you can (and should) grill! I love how the smoky flavor of the grill fuses with beet’s natural earthiness, and the grill’s high heat creates a caramelized coating that accentuates the sweet flavors. The best part? Grilling beets is super easy to do in a foil packet, creating a dinner or a side dish with little to no clean up required.
Do you peel beets before cooking?
Peeling beets is a messy, time-consuming endeavor, but it’s unnecessary when grilling or roasting whole beets. Simply slice off the top and bottom of each beet and cook them in boiling water, roast them in the oven or wrap ’em up in a foil packet for the grill. When the beets are tender when pierced with a fork, their skins will also slip right off.
To keep my hands from getting stained, I always wear gloves when peeling beets. You can use your hands to peel beets under cold running water, or grab a clean kitchen towel and use it to shed the skins. Keep in mind that red beets may stain your towels (sometimes golden ones do, too), but you can pre-treat them with vinegar or lemon juice to remove the extra color in the wash.
Is beet skin edible?
Provided that you’ve scrubbed the beets to remove the dirt, beet skins are absolutely edible! Like potato or carrot skin, they contain a lot of fiber and other beneficial nutrients. That being said, beet skins can taste bitter (this is especially true with mature beets). If you’re already apprehensive about beet’s earthy flavor, I’d recommend peeling before eating.
How to Grill Beets
Psst: Looking for a way to use up leftover roasted beets? Skip straight to step 4!
- Aluminum foil
- Olive oil (you can use butter or lard, if you prefer)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Step 1: Prepare the grill
Charcoal grills infuse the smokiest flavor into your grilled beets, but you could also use a gas grill. Either way, prepare the grill for medium-high heat while you prep up the beets.
Step 2: Create foil packets
Prepare your beets by scrubbing the skins under cold running water. You don’t have to peel them, but you do want to remove any caked-on dirt. Once they’re clean, remove the top stem and about a 1/4-inch of the bottom (this step helps with peeling later).
Place each beet on a piece of aluminum foil, douse them with a good glug of olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Wrap the foil tightly around each beet.
Step 3: Grill until tender
Place the foil packets directly on the grill grates and cook over medium heat until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork. This should take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the beet. Carefully unwrap the beets and let them cool slightly before removing the skins (if desired).
Step 4: Grill your beet slices
From here, you can serve the beets as-is, or you can slice each beet into wedges or 1/2-inch slices. Brush each slice with olive oil and cook them over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes a side until you have an extra boost of caramelized flavor and beautiful grill marks.
How can I serve grilled beets?
Beets are tasty with nothing more than a sprinkle of finishing salt to bring out their sweet flavors, but you can also turn your grilled beets into an appetizer, vegetable side dish, salad or more. Here are some of our favorite ways to serve grilled beets!
- Cut the beets into slices or wedges and toss them with fresh chopped herbs (basil, mint or rosemary are my favorites). Finish the plate with a drizzle of good-quality olive oil, a splash of lemon juice or a thick balsamic reduction.
- Create an easy salad by pairing beets with peppery arugula or juicy spinach.
- Make an appetizer by topping the beets with a crumbly cheese like salty feta, pungent blue or creamy ricotta. You can also add toasted nuts, like walnuts or pistachios.
- Puree the beets to create hummus.
- Cut the beets into “fries” and serve them with your favorite dipping sauce.
- Serve sliced beets on sandwiches or burgers.
- If you have any leftovers, pickle them for later!