Seasonal Recipe: Beets


Written by Cheyenne Watts | Reviewed by Jennifer Calo MS, RDN, CDN, CDE, CLT

LET’S RAISE AWARENESS!

In February of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first National Heart Month to raise awareness of cardiovascular health, the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.  Often people will wear red to honor the holiday, to remember those who have lost their lives to heart disease, and resolve to improve its prevention, detection, and treatment.  Scientific research proves that diet plays a big role in the prevention and intervention of cardiovascular disease and stroke.  One such heart-healthy food is the focus of our recipe article of the month: beets!

WHY EAT BEETS?

Beets contain naturally occurring nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.  

Beets also contain a nutrient called betaine which helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation and may prevent cardiovascular disease. According to Dr. Axe, there have been promising studies that suggest betaine boosts muscle mass and strength, aides in improved endurance, and helps to lower fat in the body.  

While beets may stain your teeth and skin the color of Barney the Dinosaur, the very phytonutrients that give red beets their deep color contain some anti-cancerous properties.  The flavonoid betazyane in beets has proven to inhibit tumor growth, and high iron content increases cellular respiration which allows the body to kill cancer cells.

Along with it’s superpower properties, beets contain many micronutrients necessary in our diet such as fiber, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, folic acid, manganese, and potassium.

HOW CAN I ENJOY BEETS?

Here’s the thing:  we know that some people have not eaten and will not eat a beet.  You may think that beets are “yucky”, “weird”, or have an “odd texture”.  That’s alright!  We are here to provide you with three recipes to assist you in introducing this nutrient-dense and healthful root vegetable into your diet.  You won’t even know you’re eating beets!  Except your food might be pink… but that’s more festive anyway!  

ROASTED BEET HUMMUS by Minimalist Baker

Prep time  10 mins

Total time  10 mins

Super creamy roasted beet hummus featuring a whole roasted beet, lemon, plenty of garlic flavor. Perfect with chips, pita, veggies or as a sandwich spread. (Vegan)

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 small roasted beet

  • 1 15 oz. can (1 3/4 cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained

  • zest of one large lemon

  • juice of half a large lemon

  • pinch salt and black pepper

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 heaping Tbsp tahini

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, remove the stem and most of the root from your beets, and scrub and wash them underwater until clean.

  2. Wrap beets in foil, drizzle on a bit of canola oil, wrap tightly, and roast for one hour or until a knife inserted falls out without resistance. They should be tender. Set in the fridge (in a bowl to catch juice) to cool to room temperature.

  3. Once your beet is cooled and peeled, quarter it and place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.

  4. Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.

  5. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.

  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.

  7. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1/6 batch

Calories: 165 Fat: 12g Carbohydrates: 12g Sugar: 1.2g Fiber: 2.6g Protein: 3.4g

BERRY, BEET, MINT, LIME, AND CHIA SEED SMOOTHIE by Claire Saffitz for Bon Appetit

Choose whichever alternative milk you’d like- nut milks add body and protein, but if you prefer something lighter, go with coconut water.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup almond milk

  • ¾ cup frozen blackberries and/or blueberries

  • ¼ cup grated beet (from about 1 small)

  • ¼ cup mint leaves

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Using smoothie or ice crush setting, purée almond milk, blackberries, beet, mint, lime juice, chia seeds, honey, salt, and ½ cup ice in a blender until smooth.

  2. Pour and serve.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ½ recipe

Calories: 173  Carbohydrates: 35g  Protein: 3.5g  Fat: 6g  Sugars: 25g  Fiber: 8g

BARLEY AND KALE SALAD WITH GOLDEN BEETS AND FETA by Jeanne Kelly for Bon Appetit

Ingredients

Serves: 4

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale***, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch squares

  • 1/4 cup minced shallots

  • 3 medium golden beets (about 1 bunch), trimmed

  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley

  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled

  • 2 teaspoons (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar

***Tuscan kale, also called black kale, dinosaur kale, Lacinato kale, or cavolo nero, has long, narrow, very dark green bumpy leaves and is available at farmers' markets and some supermarkets.

Instructions

  1. Whisk 1/4 cup oil, white wine vinegar, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add kale and shallots; mix until completely coated. Cover and chill until kale is tender, at least 3 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Arrange beets in a small baking dish and drizzle with a little oil. Season with salt and turn beets to coat. Cover with foil. Bake beets until tender when pierced with a thin knife, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces (you should have about 2 cups).

  3. Cook barley in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 45 minutes. Drain barley and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool completely.

  4. Add beets, barley, and feta to kale. Drizzle salad with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar; fold gently to combine. Season to taste with pepper and more rice vinegar, if desired.

  5. DO AHEAD Salad can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Nutrition Information

Nutritional Content

Serving size: ¼ recipe

Calories: 550  Fat: 27g  Carbohydrates: 66g  Dietary Fiber: 14g  Sugars: 7g  Protein: 15g  

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