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Food

Learn to love beets by roasting them in chile oil

Chile Oil-Roasted Beets with Feta, Almonds and Mint
Large wedges of golden beets are roasted with spicy chile oil, then layered with cool creamy feta, almonds and mint. Prop styling by Kate Parisian.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

I spend a lot of time trying to persuade people to eat certain foods. One of the most common complaints? Beets. Can you blame them? The root vegetables are usually slimy orbs rolling around on a plate, having been decimated by canning or boiling.

476949-la-fo-20200102-cooking-ben-mims-006.JPG
Golden beets are at their peak now and through early spring. Prop styling by Kate Parisian.
(Silvia Razgova / For The Times)

My philosophy is: If you haven’t had a particular ingredient cooked in the best way, then you can’t say you don’t like it. With beets, I believe the optimal preparation is roasting, then surrounding them with a few simple ingredients that balance out their distinctive sweet-earthy flavor. Spicy, nutty chile oil coats the beets on the sheet tray; the oil’s assertive flavor goes toe-to-toe with that of the beets and both come out on top. Fatty almonds add crunch, salty feta a creamy tang, and freshly toasted coriander seeds and cold mint leaves twist and tweak the beets’ sweetness into focus.

As is, these beets are my go-to for a quick weeknight meal, but they’re just as good served alongside a pork chop, stuffed in a pita with a soft-boiled egg tucked in the middle or as a snack eaten cold from the fridge.

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Large wedges of golden beets are roasted with spicy chile oil, then layered with cool creamy feta, almonds and mint.
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