There are many ways to enjoy beets — roasted, spiralized, juiced. Even beet greens are edible when sauteed or sliced thinly in a salad.
With that said, preparing beets at home can be tedious. It takes time to clean and peel the bright red roots, which can leave purple stains on fingertips. With so many great beet dishes to discover in Kansas City, why go to the trouble?
Krokstrom Klubb & Market, 3601 Broadway Blvd.
Scandinavian cuisine, which is considered food from northern Finland to southern Denmark, is varied and robust fare. Beets and other root vegetables play an important role in Scandinavian cuisine because they can be stored over long winters in root cellars.
Krokstrom Klubb & Market’s fried beets ($7) is a deliciously simple dish made with beets — golden, red or candy-striped, depending on the season — that are partially cooked, then lightly dusted in gluten-free coating and fried. The beets are served with a tangy curry mayonnaise that complements the sweetness of the beets.
Crane Brewing, 6515 Railroad St. in Raytown
When Michael Crane of Crane Brewing first started homebrewing, his signature beer was cream ale with beets. The first version tasted like dirt because Crane didn’t realize beets have to be peeled first. But despite the beer’s literal earthiness, Crane won homebrewing awards because his beet beer stood out in vegetable categories dominated by pumpkin beers.
Crane Brewing’s recipe for the newly released Beet Weiss has been tweaked since those early days, but the beer is still legendary among local homebrewers.
The beer’s base is tart Berliner Weisse, which cuts through the earthiness of the beets. The complex pink beer pairs well with goat cheese, dark chocolate, raspberry cheesecake and charcuterie. It’s available for a limited time at Crane Brewing’s taproom and at bars such as Krokstrom Klubb & Market and Colony Espresso & Beer, 312 Armour Road in North Kansas City.
The Mixx, with locations at 1347 Main St. in the Power & Light District, 4855 Main St. near the Country Club Plaza, and 11942 Roe Ave. in Overland Park
The rustic beet salad is a mainstay menu item at The Mixx because it’s perfectly balanced in flavor and texture. The sweet roasted beets are firm and earthy, and they perfectly complement the spicy arugula, smoky almonds, tangy goat cheese and velvety sweet potatoes.
The salad, which costs $6.95 for a mini or $8.95 for a full, is crunchy, comforting and bright thanks to the tarragon shallot vinaigrette. For a boost of protein, add chicken for a hearty lunch or satisfying dinner.
Grünauer, 101 W. 22nd St.
Dirty martini fans line up for Der Schmutzige ($8) at Grünauer, the Austrian restaurant in the Freight House.
The drink’s name means “the dirty one” and it is briny and complex, pink and bright. The most prominent flavors are the black pepper and mustard-infused vodka and pickle juice. Beet brine is added for color, sweetness and earthiness; kraut juice adds a tangy bite.
Bar manager Scott Beskow, who prepares the popular Der Schmutzige in 20-liter batches, says the drink was born out of trying to make cocktails fit into a culinary tradition that is effectively devoid of them. According to Beskow, there are cocktail bars in Vienna, but they mostly exist outside the city’s established food culture, so he wanted to develop the cocktail menu to reflect flavors from the kitchen. The Flüssiger Strudel ($8) is a rum-based cocktail that incorporates strudel juice left from making the restaurant’s traditional apple strudel dessert.
Broadway Butcher Shop, 3828 Broadway
Chef Stuart Aldridge makes a wide variety of sausages at Broadway Butcher Shop, from beer brats and all-beef hot links to beef and lamb Merguez, Nashville, Tenn.-style hot chicken sausage and, yes, smoked beet sausage.
Aldridge starts the beet sausage (which costs $7 per pound and is not vegetarian) by steaming and smoking beets. He incorporates smoked beet puree into the pork sausage base with spices such as ginger and nutmeg. Then he folds in chopped beets and stuffs the mixture into pork casing.
The sausages are also on the menu at Krokstrom Klubb & Market, where they’re steamed, wrapped in unleavened potato bread, roasted and sliced. The $8 dish is served with mustard cream sauce.