Sally came home the other day asking for “beet chips.” It was a new one, even for me, but she says one of the boys in her class has beet chips at snack time some days, and they’re purple and triangular and look yummy. We decided to give it a try.
So I got out a mandolin and sliced up some beets and because I had only two beets I also sliced up some sweet potatoes, the very last from the garden. I spread them all out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and I turned the oven on hot. I drizzled the chips with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper and baked them until they were just crispy. A few around the edges got burnt, but for the most part they were a cheery deep red and orange, autumnal and almost regal in a way.
Then Sally came down and announced that mine were nothing like the beet chips she had envisioned and tasted disgusting. I decided to eat them all myself in an indignant rage.
Unfortunately, before I could finish the entire batch — because really, they were good — Sally walked back into the kitchen and apologized. She explained that she had left to do a puzzle to calm herself down and that the reason she’d been so upset is because, as she thought she had already explained, the beet chips were supposed to be triangular. We had a good long talk about beet shapes and chip processing, and then we polished off the remainder of the chips together on the couch, holding our pink fingers carefully to avoid stains.
Ultimately we decided that the beet chips were good but that they were even better mixed with sweet potato chips, because of the beautiful colors, and because sweet potatoes were better at holding their (round) shape.
We made another batch the next day and have been making them now for a few weeks on repeat.
Root chips (beets, sweet potatoes, and other veggies)
It’s a good time of year for creative root vegetable bakes, and I think you could also add purple potatoes and white potatoes and maybe even turnips for some real pizazz.
The key with this recipe is to spread your chip rounds evenly on a baking sheet without too much overlap, otherwise they’ll be soggy instead of crispy. Also, rotate the baking sheet a couple of times and stir the chips around while it’s in the oven so chips around the edges don’t burn. I suppose these chips would keep a few days, but we haven’t had them last more than an hour.
2 pounds beets, sweet potatoes, or other root vegetables — or even better, a mix
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, tallow, coconut oil, or other good cooking fat
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash and peel the root vegetables. Use a mandolin to cut them into pieces 1/16 of an inch thick. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, then spread them evenly on two cookie sheets without much overlap. (If there isn’t enough space, bake the chips in batches rather than overcrowd them.) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until just crisp, turning the pans several times during baking. Cool just enough to start eating.