Salt-Roasted Beets ♥

Fresh beets encased in a crust of kosher salt and horseradish
Today's (crazy?) beet recipe: Fresh beets roasted in a salty crust, topped with a horseradish sauce. Low carb. Weight Watchers 1 point.

To sell a house, forget baking cookies just before prospective buyers arrive, so last-century passé! Instead, roast beets wrapped in salt and horseradish and citrus zest. Oh my, who knew that horseradish could smell so good? (And besides, how could I resist an addition to all the ways to cook beets?)

The recipe comes from the February 2008 issue of Bon Appetit, bookmarked in a dozen spots for intriguing new ideas for cooking vegetables. This is the first of several, I suspect, to appear here ...

SO IS THIS A NOVELTY or the LATEST & GREATEST? Well, I'm not sure. The aroma while baking was -- wait, you already know that was amazing. And then -- it was easy enough to crack open the salt layer but once that was off, the beets were hard to peel, a real surprise since after beets bake (wrapped in foil, say, like the ones pictured behind the salt mounds), the peels slip off as easily as banana peels, no trouble. (Possible explanation: The skin-level dryness may have been caused by the difficulty I had getting the salt-horseradish mixture to adhere to the entire beet, exposing a band around the middle.) And the salt-roasted beets tasted like, well, roasted beets. (Possible explanation: I didn't have fresh thyme the recipe called for, and only a small amount of lemon zest. So it's possible that these flavors would have infused into the beet flesh.) I'll have to try again, to see. And I'm definitely looking forward to that horseradish scent wafting through the house ... and the horseradish crème fraîche , which was wonderful.

~ Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ~
~ Harvard Beets ~
~ Beets with Feta ~

~ Karelian Borscht, from Kitchen Parade, a favorite from my time in Finland ~
~ Those Pink Potatoes, from Kitchen Parade, the casserole that took a party by storm ~

~ still more beet recipes ~

~ one year ago this week, Simple Skillet Green Beans,
what just 1/4 teaspoon of sugar does to beans ~
~ two years ago today, Cashew Chicken Curry, from Kitchen Parade,
a wonderful curry that reminds me of London take-away ~


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 4

1 pound fresh beets (about 3), washed well, tail trimmed about an inch long, top trimmed without cutting into the beet itself (this is to keep the beet juice inside)

2 cups kosher salt
5 tablespoons horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh thyme (I recommend trying this, for more special flavor)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (ditto)

HORSERADISH SAUCE - more than enough for the beets
1 cup crème fraîche (how to make homemade crème fraîche) or sour cream
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped chives (the extra color would be nice)
2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar (I used a gorgeous port vinegar from O Olive Oil)

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix the salt, horseradish, thyme and zest. On a baking sheet, create a pile of salt mixture for each beet and press beet into it. Cover each beet with the remaining salt, using your hands to encase the beet in salt, covering completely. Roast for 1 3/4 hours. Remove from oven, crack off salt. Peel the beets, slice, place on plates, drizzle with horseradish sauce.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. How interesting! So you mix salt and horseradish? Most fascinating, Alanna. I'll try this soon (and I mean it:)

  2. Pille ~ Yes, the salt and horseradish form a pungent paste. I hope you'll try the thyme and zest, too!

  3. So my question is, was it worth all the effort, if in the end they tasted like non-salt-crusted roasted beets?

  4. Lydia ~ That's exactly my question. But since I didn't execute the recipe perfectly, I'm giving the concept the benefit of the doubt.

    But I'll tell you, I almost put some horseradish/salt in the oven yesterday, all by itself, just for that special aroma.

  5. Bookmarked, I´m going to try this in a couple of days I hope! Thanks for posting such an interesting recipe!

  6. 2 things I've been meaning to do...cook more beets and cook with salt crusts. So, thanks!

  7. I'm assuming that the horseradish is prepared horseradish sauce in a jar, rather than grated fresh horseradish?

    I'm really intrigued by this. I like the idea of not using foil (less foil in landfill can only be a good thing)

    Just curious, why would it be necessary to remove the peel? As long as the beets are cleaned well, why not just eat them skin and all? Then the lemon zest, thyme, horseradish and salt would add flavour, making them taste a little different form regularly roasted beets.


  8. Ilva ~ Let me know how it goes!

    Stef ~ An two-fer, my goodness!

    Elizabeth ~

    Yes, prepared horseradish. It's one of those thing I didn't think about even starting fresh until the last couple of years.

    Less foil, interesting. You Canadians are far ahead of American in consideration of environmental issues. I wonder about the trade-off with extracting/transport salt however. ???

    Beet peels, very interesting. I guess I peel them because ... well, I just always do. Thanks for the challenge!

  9. I was intrigued by this recipe too, not to mention the entire February issue of bon appetit (all lowercase now).

    But I don't think I love beets enough to do it. Maybe need to try parsnips or potatoes in the horseradish-salt crust!

  10. Very interesting. I have yet to find a beet recipe that I am fond of, but this one has caught my eye. Thanks for this post.

  11. I confess that I have never peeled the skin from baked beets. And I have never covered them in foil either. Or olive oil....

    If I'm steaming them, I peel them before. I know. I know. I'm not supposed to do that....

    You've got to try grating your own horseradish and mixing it with a bit of mayonnaise. It's fabulous. Hot though (and watch your eyes when you're grating the horseradish)!


    P.S. We Canadians might like to pretend we're further ahead on environmental issues but sadly, we are just as profligate as the rest of the world. I suspect that some of our recycling verve is due to parsimoniousness.

    [rant]I'd love to see the food network jump on the recycling bandwagon though. They are really in a position to do something positive. I actual scream out loud at the TV when I see some of the hosts whiz off HUGE pieces of aluminum foil to cover a plate resting on the counter - a plate that could just as easily be covered with a lid or another plate or bowl. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Rachael Ray but I know she has a huge following. Just imagine how many people would start composting and recycling if Miss Rachel was advocating it.[/rant]

  12. Cool Post -

    You can reuse the salt and use it as a bottom on a baking dish when roasting whole vegetables. Just chop the salt up (place into a blender if needed) and place on the bottom of a backing dish - then place fresh veggies and roast - the veggies will be amazing! This was a trick I learned while in Italy.

    Thanks for the post,



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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna