When a vanilla balsamic reduction met up with red beets.

Okay I admit it, I’ve always been leery of the beet!  I’m not sure why.  The red hands, the production, or so I thought to cook them…. in my mind it just wasn’t worth it.  Then, one day, I was pretty much forced to choose either tuna atop of a bed of greens or beets atop of a bed of greens for a lunch date.  I bit the bullet!  I did it!  And much to my chagrin… I loved them.  Earthy flavor.  I do love the color because it means that they are packed with vitamins, which they are.  They are great for runners, which I am.  And as my youngest informed me, if you eat a ton of them she heard that your urine turns pink.  Okay, I have no idea if this is true and I’m not googling it.  I can’t believe I just typed the word “urine” on my food blog but I thought her humor may make you laugh, as it did me.  So here we go… my recipe for roasting them easily and a delicious vanilla balsamic reduction to pour over top. Yum!

Let’s break this down and take the beets first.



Get a large roasting pan lined with foil.  Set aside.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  

Buy as many as you need.  I had two large sized (a bit bigger than a baseball) beets.  I cut the greens off (yes I know you can use them for other recipes but I had to focus on the beets first – and I did compost the leaves). WEARING DISPOSABLE GLOVES (you can get them at the grocery store) scrub them good.  They are filthy little things.  I used warm water and went to town.  Gently place them on your foil lined pan.






Olive oil and salt!  Drizzle them generously with olive oil and sprinkle salt atop of each one.  Give them a good massage.  Then remove your gloves and throw away.  Take another piece of foil and cover the entire pan (over the top of the beets making a tent-like cover).  Place in your oven.  Roast for 1 hour.

Testing… very much like a baked potato.  Stick a knife or fork in it.  If if pierces the skin and goes deep into the vegetable – they are done!  If not, cover and bake for a bit longer.  Keep testing until they’re done.

Remove and let cool completely.

Gloves STAT!  Now, with your gloves on remove the beets and place them on a cutting board.  With a filet knife, I removed the skin carefully-  composting that as well.  Then I sliced them, you can do large slices like an apple ring or cut into bite sized pieces.

There, you totally roasted your beets!  You can store them in a lidded container or eat them right away.

Vanilla Balsamic Reduction:

1 cup of better quality balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract


In a non-reactive small pot, place all of the ingredients and bring it to a boil.  Once boiling, whisk away and turn the flame down to low.  Whisking occasionally, let the mixture reduce and thicken for about 20 minutes.  Avoid over-cooking this or you will have a caramel textured taffy.  When you can coat the back of a spoon or a whisk and 20 minutes have passed, you’re ready.  Pour the reduction into a container or mini pitcher and let cool.  Use this to top your beets, chicken, beef, seafood or whatever your heart desires.  A little goes a long way.




And two pics of the final products.






















— Knead to Cook


  1. This is such a great idea. I love your addition of vanilla in this reduction. Would have never thought of it! Yum!

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