Slow-Baked Beets with Orange Gremolata

Slow-Baked Beets with Orange Gremolata
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slow-baked beets
Slow-baking takes time to save time!

As with yesterday’s post, this recipe takes all day. In fact, we made both on the same day, and no, you don’t need to work on it all day; You do some prep work, pop the beets into the oven for the day — you can do other things while they’re cooking — then, at the end, you take them out of the oven, peel, then finish and presto: a beet side dish ready for serving.

Just like the One-Pot Mac ‘n’ Cheese, this recipe comes from Cooking Slow, by Andrew Schloss; it’s full of recipes like this that would be perfect for holidays, or times when you want to enjoy time with your family, yet still have a nice meal ready at dinner time. We could see this type of cooking replacing take-out. After all, it’s not really that much more difficult.

Slow-Baked Beets with Orange Gremolata

Yield: 1/3 cup

Slow-Baked Beets with Orange Gremolata


    For the beets
  • 2 pounds beets, scrubbed, greens and long roots removed
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • For the gremolata
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
  • Zest and juice of one orange
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried chervil, or 1 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Abbreviated Instructions

For the beets

Preheat oven to 225°F.

Place the beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 Tbs olive oil. Wrap tightly, then wrap in an additional layer of foil.

Bake beets for 6 to 7 hours.

Let cool, then peel, and cut each beet into eight pieces.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beets and heat through. Toss with gremolata and serve.

For the gremolata

Chop hazelnuts into small pieces, then combine with remaining ingredients. Set aside until needed.

Ingredient discussion:

There really isn’t too much here, but try to make sure that your olive oil is truly extra-virgin. A quick test is to taste it. If it doesn’t have much flavor, it’s not extra-virgin. We think you can substitute any nuts for the hazelnuts: walnuts, pecans, cashews. Just be sure to toast them to enhance their nuttiness. Finally, since you’re using the zest from the orange, try to find an organic orange; or, at a minimum, wash it very well.

Procedure in detail:

There are really three parts to this recipe: prepping and baking the beets, making the gremolata, and combining the two. We’ll cover the prepping and combining first, then cover making the gremolata, which you can make anytime while the beets are baking.

Preheat oven to 225°F. Yes, that low. We actually baked the beets at a slightly lower temperature because we were making the one-pot mac ‘n’ cheese at the same time.

adding olive oil
We didn’t bother to measure out the oil, we just gave the beets a good drizzle.

Foil beets. Place the beets on a large sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap it all up tightly. Then, just to be sure that steam or liquids won’t escape, warp it again in another layer of foil.

beets wrapped in foil
Double-wrap the beets in aluminum foil; you’d hate for the beet juice to leak out into the oven.

Bake. Place in the oven and bake, well, basically, all day, at least 6 to 7 hours. See, you’ll have plenty of time to get the gremolata together before the beets are done.

peeled beets
You can use paper towels to “wipe” off the skins; the dull edge of a table knife works, too.

Peel and cut. After the 6 to 7 hours, remove the beets from the oven and let cool until you can handle them. Use a paper towel, or the edge of a table knife, to peel off the skins. This is the most time-consuming part, but you can do it. Once you’ve peeled off the skin, cut each beet into eight pieces.

heating beets
Once peeled and cut into pieces, reheat the beets in a bit of olive oil.

Reheat. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the beet pieces and stir occasionally until the beets are heated through, about 5 minutes.

adding gremolata
Once hot, add the gremolata, and toss. Your beets are done.

Add gremolata. Once the beets are hot, stir in the gremolata until all the beets are coated, and serve immediately.

beets and gremolata
Stir just enough so the beets are coated in gremolata, then serve.

Just as we promised, now we’ll cover making the gremlata.

toasting hazelnuts
We used a small cast iron pan for toasting up the hazelnuts, but any heavy skillet will work.

Toast nuts. Since the oven is on very low, we’ll just toast up the nuts in a heavy skillet. Place a heavy skillet on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the nuts, and remove from heat. The residual heat of the skillet with toast the nuts. If you’re using hazelnuts, rub off the skins with your fingers.

chopped nuts
Once toasted, chop the nuts into small pieces. Yes, you could use a food processor, but a knife works just fine, too.

Chop nuts. Once the nuts are toasted, give them all a quick chop, cutting them into small pieces. Try to get them about 1/8-inch, or so. It’s okay if some are bigger.

zested orange
A microplane grater makes short work of zesting.

Zest and juice orange. We use a microplane grater for zesting, but a sharp chef’s knife will work as well. Just be sure yo don’t get any of the white pith, as it’s bitter. Once you’ve zested the orange, squeeze out all the juice and transfer to a small bowl along with the zest.

adding juice
We use an old-fashioned glass juicer. It works well, and it’s easy to clean.



grating green garlic
The microplane grater is perfect for mincing garlic very finely. In case you’re wondering, that’s a bulb of fresh, or green, garlic.

Add garlic. Since we had the microplane out, we just grated a bit of garlic right into the orange juice and zest. You could also mince the garlic finely with a chef’s knife.

Once the garlic is added, add everything else, and stir. The gremolata is done.

Add everything else. Add olive oil, nuts, chervil, and some salt and pepper, and stir everything together. That’s it. The gremolata is done.

We weren’t extremely happy with these beets. Sure, the slow baking is easy, but we found that slow-baked beets are a little harder to peel than boiled beets. Plus, to us, baked beets have a slightly bitter taste, which just doesn’t occur with boiled beets. Then, finally, while we try new recipes for beets, we have yet to find one better than our Beets and Walnuts in an Orange-Balsamic Sauce. So, we’ll have to give these beets just three stars.



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