I bought the most amazing striped beets at the farmer’s market last week but had a horrible time trying to decide what to do with them. I wanted to be sure to preserve the beautiful pattern, so boiling or pureeing the beets was out of the question, but I also didn’t want to eat them raw in a salad. Eventually, I decided the best option would be to make them into a chip that I could serve with a simple dipping sauce.
Obviously, the best way to make a crispy chip from a vegetable is to fry it in oil, but I was looking for a healthier option so I oven-roasted the beets instead. But of course this lead to a debate over the best way to roast beet slices. I tried many methods including boiling the beets with the skin on before slicing, peeling and roasting raw, roasting at 350°F, and roasting at a very low 225°F. However, I found the best results were to roast the beets raw at a moderate 325°F.
It turned out that boiling the beets, then peeling, slicing and roasting them didn’t do anything to speed up the cooking time and the colors bled a bit more. As for cooking temperatures, 350°F was a bit too high and caused some of the beet edges to char while the centers were still soft, and roasting at 225°F for a long period resulted in a chewy, dried-fruit consistency. Roasting at 325°F made for a perfectly crispy and crunchy chip that was cooked evenly.
Then, to serve the chips I whipped up a simple cumin yogurt dipping sauce using fat-free Greek yogurt, dried cumin, honey, lemon juice and a sprinkle of powdered sumac. In the end, my little experiment turned into a healthy and refreshing snack.
But did I mention that the beets brought a “friend” home with them? Uh, yeah. This little slug hid in the beets and somehow survived my refrigerator for more than a week. He was a hearty little bugger. Oh well, that’s the price you sometimes pay for buying local and organic, but produce of this quality is worth a little extra “protein” once in a while.
Here’s the recipe:
Oven Roasted Beet Chips with Cumin Yogurt Dip
1/2 pound fresh beets (sizes vary so you may need to adjust the cooking time)
Cumin Yogurt Dip:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch powdered sumac
To make the beets, preheat the oven to 325°F. Peel the skins using a vegetable peeler. Using a sharp knife or mandolin set to the most narrow setting, slice the beets as thin and even as possible.
Lightly brush both sides of the beet slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the beets until the slices are crisp. Be sure to keep an eye on the beets because they can easily burn. Allow the beets to cool on the baking sheet and serve immediately.
To make the dip, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with the beet chips.