Orange Sesame Beets & Sweets

Orange Sesame Beets & Sweets
Orange Sesame Beets & Sweets by Hali Bey Ramdene

For a long time the goal of nearly every recipe I worked on as a food editor was ease.

Can we use fewer ingredients?
Can we use one less pot?
Can we make it in under 30 minutes?
Quick, Fast, Easy, Easy, Easy.

There's a true art to cooking in a way that checks all of those boxes and I'm happy to have been part of a cohort of cooks and editors who learned how to produce those kinds of recipes. But in my own kitchen the meals and dishes I tend to make are concerned less with checking those boxes. Instead I cook in the pursuit of satisfaction, and sometimes satisfaction requires a little extra effort.

This dish of roasted beets and sweet potatoes infused with a toasty orange-sesame dressing asks you for extra — mostly in the form of your time.

Extra time spent peeling the beets and sweet potatoes and chopping them into chunks.  Don't rush this part; chopping can be soothing or a release.

Extra time tossing them in oil and cumin before roasting. Sometimes, when I'm feeling like I want to touch my food, I'll use my hands and care less about them staining pink from the beets. It will wash away.  

Extra time spent mixing up the fragrant dressing of orange zest, orange juice, sesame oil, oregano, and honey. I like to enjoy the look of all that fluffy orange zest in the bowl. Orange is such a happy color.

Extra time pouring the dressing over the vegetables while they're steaming hot and partially cooked so they finish their last dance in the oven soaking up the flavors of orange, oregano, and honey. This is a signature move and my favorite trick for the most glorious roasted vegetables.

Extra time waiting for the meal to cook while the kitchen fills with the most inciting smell. Inhale deeply.

Eventually though, the time needed — including any extra— will have passed and you'll be onto the eating part of things and it'll all be worth it because nothing we're doing in this recipe is without purpose.

So is it easy? Perhaps not. This recipe, like the many others you'll encounter at Vegetable Loves Spells, is about decadent simplicity instead. And that guarantees you satisfaction.

Yours in earthy opulence!

Hali :)

Want to Cook This Together?

Every last Thursday of the month I hang out and cook with my friends at Honest Weight Coop in Albany, New York. We're making Orange Sesame Beets & Sweets this Thursday, April 28 at 7:00 pm est. There's still time to sign up here.

Orange Sesame Beets & Sweets

Start to Finish : 1 hour 30 minutes


For the roasted vegetables
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 pounds beets (red, golden, Chiogga or a mix of both), chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

Orange Sesame Dressing
2 oranges
2 cloves garlic
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 Tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon oregano

For Serving
2 ounces Feta in brine, drained and crumbled (such as Valbreso)
Mixed greens (optional)

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

In a large bowl whisk together the oils, cumin, and salt. Add the beets and sweet potatoes. Toss to evenly coat.  Transfer to a baking sheet and spread into one layer. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the Orange Sesame Dressing: Zest one of the oranges and add to a small bowl. Juice both oranges and add to the bowl.  Grate in the garlic. Add the oil, honey, and oregano. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Remove roasted vegetables from the oven and set on a heat-safe surface. The stovetop is a good place. Gently spoon over ¼ cup of the dressing. Return the pan to the oven and cook for another 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Roast 2 to 3 minutes more or until vegetables are golden brown and the seeds have toasted. Remove the vegetables from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.

To serve, lightly drizzle greens with dressing, gently tossing to coat. Transfer to a serving dish. Add the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle over feta and drizzle with more dressing. Relish immediately.

Your Shopping List

Pantry Items

  • avocado Oil
  • sesame Oil
  • honey

Spices & Seasoning

  • cumin
  • kosher salt
  • oregano
  • sesame seeds


  • 2 pounds beets (red, golden, Chiogga or a mix of all three!)
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 oranges
  • mixed greens


  • Sheep's milk Feta in Brine (such as Valbreso)