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So hey, all of a sudden I'm among the last ones standing from my high school class. As of two days ago, every one of my guy friends is hitched. Isn't boarding school supposed to make you all independent and mess you up to the point where you say fuck all, move back to New York where you came from and write candid stories about gluten-free dating site experiences? How Caleb did not move back to New York where he came from and proposed to his girlfriend is rad enough to give me plenty of hope, plus a craving for beets, which is odd.

He put a ring on a beet in their elaborate backyard garden that they Instagram all the time (gag) and told her to go pull it up! There's a whole food/gardening/cooking-related story attached to it, but I'm making him write it up to publish here for all the world to see, cause I can't afford a regular engagement present. And I already have a website. And it's seriously a good story.

That root vegetable-related and marriage news aside, I have some new ideas for getting beets where they need to be: in your lunch. Qualm #1: beets suck to cook because they're hard to peel, take forever to cook and stain everything pink. Solution: Nowadays you can buy pre-cooked beets in vacuum sealed packages in any well-stocked supermarket, because beets do suck to cook. This being a lunch column and you not being about to find a way to roast or steam beets at work, I recommend you use these beets and not the canned ones (unless specified). 

Pickled beet chicken salad
Okay, specified! Diced canned pickled beets (make sure it says pickled on the label or jar) turn chicken salad pink and the acid cuts the richness of the mayo.

Kimchi pickled beets
Employ the same technique as kimchi pickled eggs, minus the cooking. It is the cheatiest cheat in the Asian-fusion world. Thickly slice pre-cooked beets and drop them in the empty container of juice once you've finished all the kimchi. Two days later, you have a sandwich component David Chang himself would ransack and blow up. 

Beet caprese
Don't do this right now because the tomatoes are divine, but the second they go back to being essentially red paperweights, sub in beets for an equally if not more nutritious veggie to go with fresh basil, olive oil, salt, pepper and what used to be white mozzarella. It's pink now.

Quite possibly the worst portmanteau I've come up with to-date. Make that classic gazpacho EVEN REDDER (and healthier) by blending in roughly chopped cooked beets. 

Basically I'm enamoured with the beet until that proposal stops being romantic and starts making me go off on how all-terrain strollers are ruining this city again.

More great vegetables for lunch on Food Republic: