Citrus roasted Alberta beets
Photo courtesy of ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen
Fall is upon us, which means summer fruits are out and autumn bounty is in. This is the time of year for comfort food packed with darkly coloured nutrient-rich vegetables and hearty flavours that nourish both the body and the spirit. Alberta offers perfect growing conditions for many fall favourites, which means there’s plenty of opportunity to eat locally grown produce throughout the season.
Root vegetables including carrots, beets and parsnips, as well as winter squash, are fall weather stand-bys, but often home cooks don’t know what to do with them beyond roasting. Switching up preparations is one way to keep fall vegetables interesting. A beet, for example, can be roasted and served hot, boiled and put in a cold salad, or spiralized and served as “pasta” the following week.
“Spiralizing creates a very appealing-looking dish,” says Tracey Christensen, manager of the provincial culinary/ quality team at Alberta Health Services. “If you spiralize your beets with your carrots it really comes out beautifully.”
While the seasonal vegetables offer vitamins and nutrients, Christensen says that fall cooking has the added benefit of offering warmth or comfort for those undergoing or recovering from treatment, be it in the form of a sippable soup or a belly-warming stew. Fall produce works particularly well with slow cookers and modern-day pressure cookers, which also make for easier preparation. And, for those who want to cook now and have convenient food later, pickling or preserving is a good way to extend the shelf life of harvest vegetables.
Recipe: Citrus Roasted Alberta Beets
This recipe from the ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen’s latest cookbook From Our Roots brightens up fresh beets with orange juice.
2 lbs beets, tops and roots removed
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. salt, divided
¾ tsp. freshly ground pepper, divided
⅓ cup fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh chives
1½ tsp. grated orange peel
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Toss beets with oil, ½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper in a large bowl.
3. Wrap beets tightly in foil and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 to 2 hours. Baking time may vary depending on beet size. Unwrap beets and cool.
4. Peel and quarter beets when they are cool enough to handle. Toss with remaining ingredients
Reprinted with permission from ATCO Blue Flame Kitchen.