Beets are now in season, and it is the perfect time to start incorporating this summer vegetable into a few dishes! If you are not sure where to start, or have never cooked with beets this quick article will help to get you started. First lets explore some nutritional facts about why beets are a great addition to any diet!
- Beets are a low calorie vegetable that are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
- They are a great source of naturally occurring folate or folic acid, which is important for a healthy pregnancy. For a woman of childbearing age, one should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid and a pregnant woman should consume 600 micrograms. By consuming the recommended amount of folic acid this will allow for healthy neural tube formation and brain development of the baby.
- Consuming beet juice can help lower high blood pressure and help increase stamina when working out due to the amount of nitrate
Some beet preparation tips are:
- Grate raw beets for a colorful addition to salads or decorative garnish
- Steam beets for 15 minutes to ensure they retain their maximum nutritional value and flavor
- Marinate steamed beets in fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh herbs suggest to Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and bake them at 400˚F for1 and 2 hours, or until the blade of a knife slides easily in and out. After they are cooled slightly, the skins easily rubbed off with a paper towel. Cooked beets are like sponges, so soak in vinaigrette of woodsy sherry vinegar and virgin olive oil.
Here are a few recipes to try out
Adapted from Inventive Vegetarian
Juice of 2 lemons
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup tahini
Salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 400F
1. Wash and trim, but don’t peel, the beets, then wrap each one in tin foil and toss it in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until a knife can easily pierce each beet. Once the beets have cooled enough to handle, rub them with your thumbs and the skins should come off easily.
2. Roughly chop the beets and the garlic and put both in the bowl of a food processor. Give them a quick pulse to start breaking down the beets.
3. Add the tahini and lemon juice and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust salt as desired. Serve cold or room temperature with crackers or raw vegetables.
Quinoa Salad Recipe with Roasted Beets, Chick Peas, Baby Spinach and Orange
Adapted from Gluten- Free Goddess, Serves 4.
3 cups cooked quinoa
2 beets, trimmed and quartered
1/4 cup fruity olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons organic gluten-free tamari sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon organic raw agave nectar or local honey
1 cup drained rinsed chick peas
2 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 fresh orange, peeled, trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. Here’s how to cook quinoa in a rice cooker. While the quinoa is cooking, roast the beets in a medium size roasting pan, by combining the beets with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt. Place the pan in the center of the oven and roast until the beets are tender (roughly 45 minutes). Remove the beets from the hot pan and set them aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, rub off the skin. Cut the beets into bite sized pieces.
3. To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, orange juice, GF tamari, vinegar, and agave in a glass measuring cup and whisk. Set aside.
4. Combine the warm, cooked quinoa in a mixing bowl with the chick peas and baby spinach leaves. Pour in the salad dressing and toss lightly. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Gently add in the cut up roasted beets and fresh orange pieces. Do not over mix or your entire salad will turn beet red. I think it’s more attractive to keep the staining to a minimum.
5. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh goat cheese, or slivered almonds, if desired.
Adapted from VegKitchen, serves: 4 to 6
6 medium beets (or any size, as long as it adds up to about 2 pounds)
2 teaspoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated orange zest for garnish, optional
Minced fresh dill or other herb for garnish
- To cook the beets:Rinse the beets and cut away all but an inch of the stalks. Combine in a large deep saucepan with water to cover; bring to a boil, then simmer until just tender. How long this will take varies greatly upon the size of the beets; start checking after about 20 minutes, but don’t poke too many test holes into them, or they’ll bleed like crazy! When done, drain.
- No matter which cooking method you use, let the beets cool (you can plunge them into a bowl of cold water to speed things up), and when cool enough to handle, peel them and cut into bite-sized chunks.
- Combine the cornstarch and vinegar in a small container and stir until dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat the orange juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Whisk in the cornstarch and vinegar mixture, stirring carefully to avoid lumps.
- Stir in the diced beets. Cook over very low heat until heated through, about 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a serving bowl.
- If you juiced an organic orange, I highly recommend using grating some of the zest to garnish the beets, along with a sprinkling of dill or other fresh herb. Serve at once or cool until just warm.
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