After years of being banished to the back of the salad bar, beets are having a resurgence.
The popularity of the bright red taproot comes as part of an overall increase of interest in health and nutrition.
A study published in the American Medical Journal in 2016 found that the number of Americans with poor diets fell from 56 percent to 46 percent between 1999 and 2012.
For many health conscious consumers, beets have been enjoying their rightful place center-stage of a balanced diet. They’re chock-full of essential nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium and manganese, and have all kinds of positive impacts on the human body.
Consuming just one glass of beet juice per day has been found to lower systolic blood pressure by several points, while also lowering chances of heart disease and artery damage overall.
Nitric oxide found in beets relaxes and dilates blood vessels, increasing blood to the brain and giving brain function a boost.
Other benefits include cleaning and detoxing the blood, preventing certain types of cancer, improving digestion and improving endurance.
If you’re one of the newcomers to healthy cooking, chances are roasting beets is one of those entry-level cooking skills you may have skipped. While beets can be delicious raw, roasting them is a great skill to have and a must if you’re interested in better nutrition, since many low-calories, vegan and vegetarian recipes call for them.
Roasting beets can make them more appealing to some appetites. The heat in the over caramelizes the natural sugars and brings out the natural sweetness and more depth of flavor.
Here is my favorite method for roasting beets:
Roast the whole beet (The simple method)
Step 1: Trim the greens back, leaving about an inch on top. Be careful not to cut into the flesh of the beet.
Step 2: Scrub the beet and rinse away any dirt. Do no peel the skin. Wrap each beet in foil and create a seal so juices won’t run out. You want to keep as much moisture in the beet as possible. Large beets should be wrapped individually, while small beets may be wrapped together. Arrange on a cookie sheet.
Step 3: Roast in an oven at 375º for about 90 minutes or until beets can be easily pierce the center with a knife. Remove from oven, let sit until cool enough to handle.
Step 4: Peel the skins. They should slip right off now that they’re roasted.
You now have beets ready for use in soups, salads and sandwiches.
Roasted beets can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.
Roasted Beet and Blueberry Salad
Serves 4-5; 10 minutes
- 1 bunch of kale, chopped
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 3 large beets, roasted and cut into half inch cubes
- 2-3 handfuls of blueberries
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small to medium jar or container and shake well.
- In a large salad bowl, combine all salad ingredients, and slowly drizzle dressing over contents. Toss until leafy greens are coated well.
- Serve immediately.