I used to hate beets with a passion scarcely human, and have avoided them for most of my adult life. I guess it was from being forced to eat them at school, cold and... vinegary, with mystery white fish and lumpy white mashed potatoes, a most unfortunate lunch. Then I came to America. I was at a Thanksgiving dinner where someone had brought a dish of roasted vegetables to the feast. There were parsnips, carrots and, of course, beets. I was encouraged by my friend to at least try one. I was shocked. The taste could not have been more different than what I remembered, sweet, rich, and deep. So, if you think you don’t like beets, be brave, try roasted beets. You will fall in love.
Top and tail the beets and peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut them in half lengthwise. If the beets are large, you may want to quarter them. Toss the pieces in the 2 teaspoons olive oil and transfer them to a cookie sheet. Bake them until they are tender, about 40 minutes.
Beets tend to take their sweet time to bake, so always allow extra cooking time so you don’t get frantic if they do. Beets come in all sizes, from huge to quite tiny. For even cooking, try to make all the pieces the same size, either by buying beets of similar size, or by cutting them to be similar sizes. For larger pieces try covering the baking sheet with foil for half the cooking time.
If your beets come with greens, don’t throw them away. Cook them as you would chard. They are surprisingly delicious.