An immersion circulator (a sous vide machine) is an incredibly handy kitchen tool that I recommend to any home chef. Not only is it great for cooking proteins - to perfection, I might add! - but it's also a great way to cook vegetables. And if your oven and stovetop are full of other dishes roasting, cooking, and sautéeing, as they might be if you're cooking for a crowd, then the sous vide gives you another way to cook! These Citrus Sous Vide Beets come together easily and can easily be adapted to suit flavor preferences.
I'll be fully transparent: my personal preference is to cook beets in the oven. It's faster and I don't find it to be challenging, but again, that's a personal preference. That said, if you're needing the space and your other appliances are being used, this can be a great way to extend your cooking options.
You only need a few things to make Citrus Sous Vide Beets.
- Whole beets: both red and golden beets work well with this recipe, so choose your preference!
- Citrus: I use lime in this recipe, but this would also be great with orange, or your favorite citrus. It helps to brighten the dish a little bit.
- Honey: we'll be making a spicy honey drizzle to put on top of the cooked beets.
- Paprika: this adds a nice smoky flavor to the honey drizzle.
- Pistachios: you want to add a little crunch, and pistachios are a great way to do that! You could also swap this for another nut of your choice.
- A few pantry staples including olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
See full recipe below for detailed instructions.
Sous vide recipes come together so quickly -- it's the cooking process that makes them truly special!
Peel and chop your beets into bite-sized cubes.
Place the cubed beets, olive oil, salt, pepper and citrus in a sous vide bag, or sealable plastic bag (I like to use gallon-size Ziplock bags). Remove as much air from the bag as possible.
Mix your ingredients in the bag and submerge in the sous vide water bath.
Mix together your spicy honey drizzle and set aside until plating.
Once the beets are fully cooked, carefully remove them from the bag using a slotted spoon. There will be excess water and juices in the bag that you will not want to pour onto your serving plate (it's ok if you do, it will just be a lot of liquid). Place the beets on a serving platter and drizzle with the spicy honey mixture and toasted pistachios. Garnish with citrus slices and fresh parsley.
Hint: Cooking vegetables sous vide is not the same as cooking a protein. With protein, you can leave it cooking for a wide range of time and it will be the same level of done-ness. With vegetables, it's much more like using the oven. It's done at a certain time, and if you leave it in for longer, they'll start to get mushy.
They won't burn and there is some wiggle room, but you do need to take the vegetables out once they're done and not let them continue to sit in the warm water.
There are a few easy substitutions that can help you customize this recipe to suit your taste.
- Citrus - I used lime for this recipe but you could also use orange or any type of citrus. You don't need a lot - just enough to brighten the dish.
- Nuts - pistachios are wonderful here, but you could also use pine nuts, almonds, or another nut of your choice.
- Type of beets - this recipe works well with both red and golden beets.
- Spice levels - feel free to make the spicy honey as sweet or as spicy as you like! The spice balances out the sweetness of the honey, and also the tang of the citrus. All the pieces are working together here!
- Warm or cold - this dish is delicious served warm, or you can let the beets cool and serve this cold, as you might serve a salad.
There are a few key pieces of equipment you will need to bring this recipe together. First, you'll need a cutting board and knife (I like to use a Wüsthof Chef Knife). You'll need a large pot such as a stock pot or a heat-resistant container. I like to use our Le Creuset Stock Pot as there is plenty of room for the immersion circulator, the food, and then still space for the water to move freely. I have also seen this done with a large plastic tub - just make sure to keep it on the countertop or other heat-resistant surface.
Of course, you will need an immersion cooker. There are tons of different options, sizes, and capabilities, but the Anova Culinary Sous Vide Cooker is a leader in the space. Immersion cookers are also a great gift item and are often on sale for major shopping holidays (Labor Day, Black Friday, etc.) so you can often get a great deal.
You will also need a plastic bag of some kind. You can buy sous vide bags that allow you to suction the air out of the bag or you can use a vacuum sealer to pack your ingredients in an air-tight seal. Personally, I just like to use a gallon-size Ziplock bag. I squeeze as much air out as possible, and if needed, I use a spoon or another weighted item to help keep the bag submerged in the water while cooking.
Working with sous vide
There are a few key elements to working with your sous vide cooker. First, fill your water bath and set up your immersion cooker according to your device's instructions. Make sure you have filled the bath close to the "MAX" line on your cooker.
Your bag of ingredients will need to be fully submerged to cook. If needed, you can use a wooden spoon or other weighted item to help keep your bag from floating in the water (likely to happen if there is still some air in there). Overall, you want to make sure the water bath still has room for the water to flow and circulate freely, and doesn't feel overly stuffed.
You can check on your beets while they're cooking to test if they're finished. Carefully open the bag and use a fork to test whether the beets are tender. If not, continue cooking! Just make sure to reseal the bag securely and immerse in the water again.
Once cooked, these can be served right away or stored in the refrigerator for later use. Let the beets cool fully, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Ideally, store the honey drizzle separately at room temperature. If it's already drizzled on the beets, that's ok! When you reheat the dish, the honey will soften again.
It's important that your bag is well-sealed during the cooking process. You do not want the water from the sous vide bath to get into your bag of ingredients. You want to keep all of those delicious flavors sealed tightly together!
Citrus Sous Vide Beets
- 4 whole beets red or golden, peeled and cubed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lime quartered, or other citrus
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons pistachios toasted and chopped
- parsley for garnish
- Fill your water bath (a large stock pot or heat-safe container works well) and preheat your immersino cooker to 185°F.
- Peel and chop your beets into bite-sized peices. Transfer to a sous vide bag or other sealable plastic bag, then add olive oil, salt, pepper, and quartered lime. Seal the bag and shake to mix the ingredients. Remove as much air from the bag as possible.
- Immerse the bag in the prepared water bath, ensuring it's fully underwater. Use a wooden spoon or other weighted object to hold the bag down if necessary. Cook for 2 ½ hours.
- While the beets cook, combine honey, paprika and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Carefully remove the bag from the water and use a fork to test that the beets are tender. If not, continue to cook until tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beets to a serving platter, discarding the excess liquid in the plastic bag.
- Drizzle the beets with the spicy honey mixture, chopped pistachios, fresh parsley, and additional salt and pepper. Serve while warm, or allow the beets to cool, depending on your preference.
Frequently Asked Questions
No! You can use any kind of sous vide immersion cooker with this recipe.
Yes, definitely. I used lime in this recipe, but this would also work well with orange, or your favorite citrus.
Yes, feel free to use whatever nuts you prefer. Almonds or pine nuts would also work well with this recipe.
Eventually, yes. Keep an eye on the beets as they're reaching the end of their cooking time to test if they're tender. Continue cooking if they're not there yet. But if you leave the beets in the water bath for much longer after they're done (i.e. an extra hour or more), they will start to get very mushy and fall apart.