I honestly think that beets are some of the most underrated veggies out there! Just look at this variety of colours – aren’t they majestic? This is my first year growing rainbow and Chioggia beets, but the classic red beets have been a big staple of our family diet in Russia since I was a kid. Perhaps you have heard of (or even tried) a famous Russian/Ukrainian soup called Borscht, well, that’s just one of the great ways to use beets!
When I first saw a Chioggia beet, I was a bit sceptical – I mean, it looks and smells like a beet, but does it actually taste like one? Also, what about that deep red colour that was meant to stain your nails, fingers, a table top and half of the kitchen? The lack of colour didn’t look very promising, but I quickly learnt that it tasted pretty much the same as your regular beet. I would probably still not use it in my favourite borscht recipe, as the deep red colour equals half of success, but Chioggia beets are just as perfect to use in salads, roasts, pickles and, of course, CRISPS!
Slicing beets and removing extra moisture
To make oven baked beetroot crisps you need to slice your beets very thinly. I used a mandolin, but you can also use a knife. Once the beets are sliced, sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Salt will help bring the moisture out.
My first instinct was to cook them on low temperature over a longer period of time, which works similar to a dehydrator. Last year I used this technique continuously to oven-dry tomatoes, chillies and herbs. I figured it wasn’t worth buying a dehydrator only to use it a couple of times a year, especially as the oven-drying technique worked well for me. So, how did it work for beets? See below!
Difference in cooking temperatures
Can you believe these two batches were cooked on the same day from the same beets, with the only difference being the cooking temperature! There were many test batches in between, cooked at different temperatures between 100-150C, but I feel they didn’t work as well.
These were both perfectly crispy, tasty batches, but, as, you can see, the slow-cooked batch has retained the original colours, whilst the batch cooked at higher temperature turned golden brown. As for taste, the slow-cooked crisps had a more pronounced earthy beetroot taste, whilst the crisps cooked at higher temp had more of a “baked” taste. If you decide to cook your crisps at 150C, please keep a close eye on them, as they burn easily. Ideally, you need to take them out as soon as they crisp up.
Oven Baked Beetroot Crisps
- 2-3 beetroots
- 4-5 tsp sunflower or olive oil
- pinch of salt
- pinch of smoked paprika
- Thinly slice beetroots using a mandoline or a sharp knife
- Sprinkle some salt over sliced beetroot, mix well and let it stand for 10 minutes
- Pat dry beetroot slices using a paper or cotton towel to remove as much moisture as possible
- Add oil (about 2 tea spoons per medium beetroot); mix well and make sure all of the slices are coated (don't worry, you can remove excess oil later when they are ready)
- Cover sheets with parchment paper and bake for 80-90 mins at 100 C (or 20-25 mins at 150 C)
- Sprinkle with salt and smoked paprika and serve!
- Make sure to store any leftovers in an airtight container