Beets with Lime and Pepitas

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Beets with Lime and Pepitas

Beets with Lime and Pepitas

May 19, 2017Recipes, Spring, Summer

Beets are not a veggie that I grew up loving.  Probably, because the only ones I had growing up were from a can.  All of that changed about ten years ago when I enjoyed a steak salad with pickled beets.  That salad made me rethink them, so I embarked on a journey of trying out various ways to prepare beets.  I discovered that I absolutely LOVE them!  Pretty much anyway they can be served, even beet kvass (which I drink every day.)  The big downside is that they are not the easiest to prep and that color gets everywhere, so when I saw this set of recipes, I thought, “hey, new method, lets see if it is as messy and bonus new flavors I never thought of.”  This recipe is on my list for weekend cooking and I think will make a great side dish for steak or roast/grilled chicken.  I hope you guys do too.  Ban the can, go fresh!


1 ½ pounds beets, trimmed and halved horizontally
1 ¼ cups water
  Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
½ cup pepitas, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Place beets, cut side down, in single layer in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven. Add water and ¼ teaspoon salt; bring to simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until beets are tender and tip of paring knife inserted into beets meets no resistance, 45 to 50 minutes.

Transfer beets to cutting board. Increase heat to medium-high and reduce cooking liquid, stirring occasionally, until pan is almost dry, 5 to 6 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar; return to boil; and cook, stirring constantly with heat-resistant spatula, until spatula leaves wide trail when dragged through glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

When beets are cool enough to handle, rub off skins with paper towel or dish towel and cut into ½-inch wedges. Add beets, shallot, lime zest, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to glaze and toss to coat. Transfer beets to serving dish, sprinkle with pepitas and cilantro, and serve.

We sought a streamlined recipe for beets that maximized their sweet, earthy flavor. To achieve this goal in less than an hour, we braised the halved beets on the stovetop in minimal water, reduced the residual cooking liquid, and added light brown sugar and vinegar. This flavor-packed glaze was just thick enough to coat the wedges of peeled beets. For flavor and texture contrast, we added toasted nuts (or pepitas), fresh herbs (or scallions), and aromatic citrus zest (or pungent freshly grated ginger) just before serving.