Ah, the humble beetroot. If you have never tried a beet before, you are most definitely missing out. Aside from the post-bathroom shock of red toilet water (unless you’re eating a white or golden beet, which puts you in the clear), you will find that beets are a delicious and easy way to incorporate some major health benefits into your diet.
Beets pack in a plenty of nutrients and vitamin C in very few calories while fighting chronic inflammation that is associated with a number of diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease and cancer. And you won’t turn beet red as the root vegetable keeps your blood pressure in check.
Did you know that the beet is a favorite among athletes as well? Mainly because several studies suggest that dietary nitrates found in beets may enhance athletic performance.
Beets have also been known to improve digestive health and support brain health, especially as our mental and cognitive health declines with age.
You can consume beets in their natural form, simply by boiling, roasting or steaming them, but you can also get creative and pickle them or turn them into fine dining entrées. Gnocchi, ravioli, salads, juices, gazpacho, Borscht, chips and beet dip are some of the many ways you can have fun in the kitchen. But beware: preparing a beet is messy and can look like a bloodbath, so avoid wearing any clothes you don’t want to chance with a stain.
To avoid artificial forms of red dyes in food and crafts, turn to the beet. The red color compound, Betanin, is obtained from the roots and has been used to improve the color and flavor of sauces, desserts, jams and jellies and candy.
With so many benefits and varieties to enjoy, this simple root veggie just can’t be beet.
Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Pistachios
The beets bring the meaty sweetness, the goat cheese cuts said sweetness with a creamy and tangy bite and the pistachios drive it home with a salty crunch. The perfect summer or fall salad or over a bed of greens like spinach or arugula, just some olive oil, salt and pepper is all that is needed to let the beets shine in this dish.
3 medium beets, cooked and quartered
⅓ cup pistachios (or almonds or walnuts), roughly chopped
4 oz. soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups salad greens, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Toss the beets in a bowl with olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper and let sit for a few minutes. Place the beets on the prepared baking sheet and roast until slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Set aside and cool.
3. Once cooled, plate the beets, sprinkle with goat cheese, pistachios and a drizzle of olive oil and serve.
*If plating with salad, add your own vinaigrette and additional toppings like avocado, walnuts or dried cranberries, as desired.