Beets. The bane of many a child, but for the more refined palate, a delicious root veggie. It’s hard to say, but I think beets may be the one vegetable that made the biggest 180 in my dining repertoire (probably a tie with Brussels sprouts). When I was a tyke, just the thought of those red devils would have me digging in my heels at the dinner table. Now, I can’t get enough. Baked, boiled, pickled, chopped in a salad, beets are now a solid addition to my vegetable rotation. Here, I want to share my love for the tasty roots and set you up with some recipes and some fun facts to keep kitchen detail enjoyable.
Roasted Beets and Sweet Potatoes
This is a hearty recipe for anyone who likes their roots. For an additional pop of flavor, add some baby carrots into the mix.
- 6 medium beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
- Olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. dried rosemary
- 1 tsp. dried minced garlic (or 4 fresh cloves, minced)
In a medium bowl, toss beets and 1 tbsp. of olive oil until evenly coated. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
In the same bowl, add sweet potatoes, onion, 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and seasoning. Toss until equally coated.
After beets have cooked for 15 minutes, add the sweet potato/onion mix. Smooth into an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring about halfway through.
Fun Fact: Healthy Snack
Beets are packed with vitamins and minerals. Lacking magnesium, folic acid or beta-cyanine in your diet? Snack on some beets. For those needing a boost of vitamin B, beets don’t start with ‘b’ for nothing. Pair all those B’s with rich levels of folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium, and these roots are a downright superfood, and perfect for pregnant women.
For those suffering from autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, or chronic inflammation (as in some heart diseases like atherosclerosis) beets are excellent additions to that fresh fruit and veggie juice. Containing phytonutrients betanin, isobetanin, vulgaxanthin and betalain, these anti-inflammatory compounds inhibit the activity levels of certain enzymes that trigger inflammation.
Beets are also regarded as nature’s energy drink—low in calories and high in sugar, which is released into the system gradually instead of in the sugar-dump of some foods, like chocolate. This also makes for a great natural way to sweeten that smoothie or kale juice.
- How to choose your beets: Select firm beets with smooth skins and non-wilted leaves if still attached. The smaller the beet, the more tender the flesh.
- How to Store: Remove the leaves, leaving about an inch of the stems. Store in a bag in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
For a tasty Beet and Citrus Salad and easy recipe for Pickled Beets, see page two.