I was never a fan of beets…until I met the Carpenter. Mainly due to the fact that my experience with beets was from a can put on a plate to pass around a holiday table. It is the only canned food that I can think of that was saved for the holidays as something ‘special’. I think my parents only made me try them once, probably because they didn’t like beets out of a can either. Now I do realize there are some of you who really loved canned beets, more power to you.
My mission with this post is threefold:
1. If there is a food that you don’t like (or think you don’t like) keep trying it…again and again. Our taste buds do ‘mature’ as we age.
2. Try various methods of cooking foods. A canned beet does not taste like a boiled beet does not taste like a roasted beet. You get the point.
3. Most importantly – EAT YOUR ROOTS!
It took me awhile to warm up to beets when the Carpenter and I first married. Let me point out that there are only 2 foods that the Carpenter will NOT eat: #1 bologna and #2 escargot (a.k.a. snails). I haven’t quite figured out his snailphobia and I’m still convinced that I can get him to try them. I might need to disguise them in rice someday, that’s what he tries with me and chicken livers. If you come for dinner and the Carpenter says he has made ‘dirty rice’ watch out!
Now back to the beets, they are what I would consider a superfood. A beet is a non-starchy root vegetable, which means they have less carbohydrates than their starchy counterparts. The roots are a great source of folate, potassium, manganese, Vit. C, B6, magnesium and iron. Beet greens are rich in fiber, potassium, copper, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and vitamins A, C, K, E and B6. Historically, beets were cultivated for their edible leaves, or greens, while the beet itself was primarily used medicinally or as livestock feed, according to the book “Wellness Foods A to Z.” The greens provide the highest concentration of nutrients per calorie so make sure to eat those beet greens!
I have discovered that my absolute favorite way to eat beets is by roasting them in the oven. The 2 most common ways that I roast beets in the oven is by wrapping them in foil (per the recipe below) or by chopping them up in large hunks or wedges, drizzle with olive oil and put them on a baking sheet with some sea salt. Since I made these particular beets for dinner with friends I decided to combine them with my other farmer’s market finds and make a warm salad.
Balsamic Mustard Dressing
¼ c balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. brown mustard
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the beets and greens. Remove greens from beets and set aside. Set beets on top of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, seal the foil and put on baking sheet in oven for ~45 minutes or until a knife is easily inserted into the beets.
2. While the beets are roasting de-stem and chop the beet greens and combine with chopped kale. Shred the carrots and set aside.
3. Combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together in large bowl.
4. When there is 8 minutes remaining for the beets you can begin sautéing your greens. Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to pan, add the greens and drizzle the ¼ c water over the greens, along with a couple of pinches of sea salt. Cover with lid and cook on medium low for ~6 minutes. Halfway through give the greens a toss.
5. Remove beets from oven, slice gently so as not to stain yourself with beet juice. Slice like you would an apple and then cut each slice into thirds. Put the sliced beets into the bowl with the dressing and toss.
6. To compile the salad on a large platter: greens, scatter the beets, shredded carrots and drizzle dressing on top. Serve.