Beets are a nutritional powerhouse -- they cleanse the body, are chock-full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and are a great source of energy. Here, they're oven-roasted, which intensifies their natural sweetness, and then tossed in a tart and syrupy balsamic reduction. You can serve them as a side dish or just keep them in the fridge for snacking and tossing over salads.
Begin by cutting off the tops and roots off the beets, then peel the skin using a vegetable peeler. Be sure to use a stain-proof countertop or cutting board (not wood) because the juice stains. It will turn your hands pink too, but washes off pretty easily.
Cut the beets into 1 1/2-inch chunks, and then toss them on a foil-lined baking sheet with olive oil and kosher salt. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a thin-bladed knife.
In the meantime, make the balsamic glaze. Combine the vinegar and maple syrup in a small, shallow pan and reduce it by about half. The syrup should just lightly coat the back of a metal spoon. Pay close attention and be sure not to over-reduce it; because of its high sugar content, it goes from sweet and syrupy to burnt and hard very quickly.
Toss the syrup with the beets and season to taste with salt and pepper. As you can see, the beet juice bleeds into the glaze, which turns it a gorgeous purple color and makes it earthy, sweet and -- quite honestly -- good enough to drink.