I dig beets. This hearty root vegetable is good for your heart, helps athletes run faster and longer, and it’s also versatile, so you can add them to everything from smoothies and salads to these turkey meatballs.
Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness, which makes for a truly family-friendly side dish. Read on for tips on how to roast beets to perfection and how to “weave” them into hearty meatballs.
How to Roast Beets
– Preheat the oven to 400°F.
– Trim the stalk and root ends of the beets. Reserve the leaves for later use (I’ll tell you more about the beet leaves in my next post).
– Scrub the beets to remove any dirt and pat dry with a paper towel. Place each beet on a piece of aluminum foil large enough for wrapping. Drizzle each beet with about a half teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Wrap loosely with the foil and place all “packets” on a large baking sheet. (If using small beets, you can wrap a few together, but for larger beets, wrap individually.)
– Roast for about 60 minutes. Check carefully at about 50 minutes to make sure the beets are not scorching. If they are, drizzle with a few teaspoons of water and then re-wrap. They are done when you can easily insert a fork or toothpick into the center.
– Remove the beets from the oven, carefully vent the packets, and let cool. Peel away the skin with a paring knife. (I wear disposable plastic kitchen gloves when I do this so my hands don’t turn magenta!)
– Slice the beets or keep them whole and store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Here is Elizabeth (my nutrition intern from Brigham & Women’s Hospital) taking photos of the beet meatball ingredients.
I add a roasted beet to the meatball mixture by first shredding on the large holes of a box grater.
The meatballs take on a reddish color from the beets. To entice your kids, you can call them ruby red beet balls!
- Serves: 6
- Serving size: 3 to 4 meatballs + spaghetti + sauce
- Calories: 480
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated fat: 3.5g
- Carbohydrates: 61g
- Sodium: 620mg
- Fiber: 11g
- Protein: 34g
- 1¼ pounds lean ground turkey
- 1 roasted beet (5 or 6 ounces), peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ⅔ cup quick-cooking oats
- ⅔ packed cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 green onions (white and light green parts only), very thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- One 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
- 12 ounces whole wheat or whole wheat blend spaghetti
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil or coat a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Place the ground turkey, beets, egg, oats, basil, Parmesan cheese, green onions, garlic, and salt in a large bowl and mix until just combined.
- Shape the meat mixture into 2-inch balls. (You'll end up with 20 to 21 meatballs.) Place on the prepared baking sheet and cook until lightly browned, 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the pasta sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and bring to a simmer. When the turkey meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the meatballs are fully cooked and have absorbed some of the sauce flavors, about 20 minutes.
- While the sauce and meatballs are simmering, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, transfer to a large bowl or platter, and serve with the sauce and meatballs on top. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese as desired.
Have you ever added beets to a smoothie, meatballs, or something unexpected?