About Bunched Beets with Greens

golden beets, chioggia beets, and red beets bunched with greensBeet greens are often discarded in favor of their roots, which is unfortunate, because they contain a wonderful, earthy flavor and are highly nutritious. Use them as you would chard or spinach.

Beets are very low in cholesterol, and they are a good source of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, folate, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber. They are especially good for cardiovascular health due to certain unique pigment antioxidants in the root, as well as in the green tops that have been found to protect against coronary artery disease and stroke, and lower cholesterol levels within the body. They are also reputed to provide relief for women from menstrual cramps.

Beet greens have almost twice the potassium of beet roots and higher amounts of beta carotene, an important antioxidant that helps fight numerous diseases. So eating both the root and the greens is especially nutritious—not to mention delicious!

To store beets, separate the leaves from the root, leaving an inch or two of the stems attached to the root. Remove any leaves that are damaged before storing the tops in a loosely wrapped plastic bag or a clean wet dish towel in the crisper section of the refrigerator, for no more than a few days. Roots should also be stored similarly—if left in the crisper unwrapped, they will quickly dehydrate and become soft.

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Rutabaga Borscht

Rutabagas in a basket

What to do with a basket full of rutabagas?

2 Tbsp oil or butter
1 1/2 chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped potatoes
1 or more cup chopped beets
1 large carrot sliced
1 stalk of celery sliced
3 cups chopped rutabaga
1 cup tomato, diced or puréed
1 tsp caraway seed
4 cups stock (veggie or chicken)
2 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp dill weed
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp honey

Sautee onions in oil or butter. Add caraway and salt.  When soft add the other veggies, stock/water and remaining ingredients.  Simmer until tender for at least 30 minutes. Whiz in the blender until smooth.  Serve with sour cream or yogurt dollop on top.

We thank Pam & Liam Antrim for this recipe.

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Beet Citrus Soup

golden beets

Pair these sunny golden beets with lemon and grapefruit!

1 bunch beets, 1/2-inch cubed (about 5 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, roughly diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 apple, roughly diced
1 quart vegetable broth
Juice from 1/4 grapefruit slice
Juice from 1/4 lemon slice
Sour cream or plain yogurt for topping

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place beets in roasting pan and add olive oil and 14 teaspoon salt; mix until evenly coated. Cover and roast for 25 to 30 minutes.

Heat butter in pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add apples and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add beets, broth, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and remaining salt. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Allow soup to cool before pureeing with an immersion blender to a thick, smooth consistency. Top with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.

We thank Virginia Newman for this recipe.

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Walnut Beet Patties

Sliced beets1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 medium onions, finely diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice)
4 teaspoons dried oregano*
4 teaspoons dried basil*
4 teaspoons dried thyme*
2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 pound carrots (about 3 medium), grated
1 1/4 pounds (about 3-4 medium) beets, grated
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
3/4 pounds walnuts, chopped in food processor
Extra virgin coconut oil for frying

Rinse quinoa and place it in a small pot with the broth. Cover and bring to a boil; let simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for another 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Sauté onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and herbs and sauté another 5 minutes. Grate the beets and carrots.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Form into 15 to 20 patties. Over medium heat, fry the patties in a little coconut oil until lightly brown, about 7 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking tray and continue cooking in the oven for another 15 – 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm or let them cool. Got extra patties? They freeze well!

*If fresh herbs are available, you only need 1 1/2 teaspoons of the fresh herb.

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Beet Slaw

Sliced beets

Betalains are a class of phytonutrient found in beets that have been studied for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support. These fragile plant compounds can be lost in the cooking process, so this recipe offers a way to eat beets while preserving the valuable betalains —raw!

Beets make a delicious and gorgeous slaw, a perfect side dish to a picnic as we welcome the spring weather.

8 medium beets, grated
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Grated peel from one orange
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons caraway seeds

Depending on how juicy your beets are, you may want to squeeze with a paper towel to pull out moisture that will make the dressing too watery.

Vigorously whisk cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, grated orange peel and honey in small bowl. Gradually beat in oil. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the beets and mix well.  Add the rest if needed. Add caraway seeds and toss. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from www.thekitchn.com.

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Chocolate Beet Cake

Perfect Heart

For your valentine, a chocolate beet cake!

8 ounces beets, unpeeled, rinsed and scrubbed free of dirt
7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup hot espresso
7 ounces butter at room temperature, cubed
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar

Grease an 8 1/2 inch pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Boil the beets in salted water until very tender, about 45 minutes. Drain, then rinse with cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the peels, cut into chunks, and grind in a food processor or grate until a coarse puree.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring as little as possible. Once melted, turn off the heat, pour in hot espresso and stir once. Press butter pieces into chocolate and allow to soften without stirring.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in separate bowl. Remove bowl of chocolate from heat and stir until butter is melted. Let sit to cool, then stir egg yolks together and briskly stir them into chocolate mixture. Fold in the beets.

In stand mixer, or by hand, whip egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold sugar into egg whites, then fold into melted chocolate mixture, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.

Scrape the batter into prepared cake pan and reduce oven heat to 325ºF, and bake for 40 minutes, or until sides are just set but center is still is wobbly. Do not overbake. Let cool completely, then remove from pan.

Spread with crème fraîche and sprinkle with poppy seeds shortly before serving.

We thank davidlebovitz.com for this recipe.

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Creamy Kale Salad

* Avocado *1 ripe avocado, halved, seed removed
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons walnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 bunch kale (8 ounces), stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 small red beet, peeled and thinly sliced
1 sweet, crisp apple, cored and cut into thin wedges
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Combine avocado, vinegar, mustard and oil in a food processor. Pulse until smooth (it will be thick). Season with salt and pepper. Combine kale, beets, apple and walnuts in a large bowl. Toss with avocado dressing and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

We thank Whole Living, January/February 2011 edition, for this recipe.

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Cold Beet Soup

Sliced beets

Ever have leftovers of roasted beets? Use them up in this tasty soup!

1 1/2 pounds cooked beets,* diced
2 cups water
3 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons fresh dill

Blend all ingredients together and pour into 4 bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh dill.

*Beets can be steamed or boiled. For a richer flavor, cut them up into 1/2 inch pieces, toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper, and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender, turning halfway through. Use for this soup, or in a salad, or just on their own as a tasty side dish with sautéed kale and goat cheese.

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Beet – Pear Soup

Pears in the orchard

Pair your pears with beets for a soup you can’t beat!

4 medium beets
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1 ripe pear, peeled and cored, cut into 1 inch strips
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Steam beets (as described at the bottom of our About Beets post). Heat the butter on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the pear and cook for about 3 minutes more stirring occasionally. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the beets, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Allow to cool. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or carefully puree in batches in the blender. Can serve hot or cold, topped with goat cheese. Serves 4-6.

Adapted from 50 Best Plants on the Planet, the Most Nutrient-Dense Fruits and Vegetables, in 150 Delicious Recipes by Cathy Thomas.

P.S. Save those greens! Beet greens are a lovely sauté green and offer you the same nutrient density as the beet root. It’s a two for one deal! Prepare them like you would Swiss chard.

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Red Velvet Cake

cake

The secret ingredient in this sweet dessert is — you guessed it — beets!

3 medium beets
3/4 cup butter, plus more for greasing pan
3/4 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups Nash’s soft white flour*
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the tip of a knife slides easily into the largest beet, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool until beets can be handled, then peel. (This may be done up to a day ahead.)

Butter two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment and then butter again.

In a food processor, chop beets to pieces about the size of finely diced onions. Measure 1 cup and set aside (remaining beets can be reserved for another purpose). Return cup of beets to the food processor. Purée with buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar and vanilla until smooth.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Slowly add sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Alternate adding flour mixture and beet mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl after each addition of the wet ingredients.

Divide batter between prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting or other white icing.

*Nash’s soft white wheat flour has been milled fine, but if you want your Red Velvet Cake to be really silky, sift it before measuring it. We usually don’t, so we can get all the health benefits from the germ and bran.

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About Beets

Sliced beetsBeets are getting a lot of attention for being a unique source of ‘betalains’, phytonutrients that are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification supportive properties. To ensure that you get these benefits when enjoying your beets, keep your steaming times to 15 minutes or less and your roasting times to 1 hour or less, as the betalain concentration diminishes with heat exposure.

Beets are an excellent source of folate and a very good source of manganese, potassium, and copper. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, iron, and vitamin B6.

Folate is a water soluble B vitamin, critical for the normal development and function of our brain. This is why foods like cereals are fortified with folic acid, the synthetic form. A folate deficiency has been associated with an increased risk in cardiovascular disease. Beets provide a sweet and natural source of folate.

Steam beets for 15 minutes to maximize their nutrition and flavor. Fill the bottom of the steamer with 2 inches of water and bring to a rapid boil. Add beets, cover, and steam for 15 minutes. Beets are cooked when you can easily insert a fork or the tip or knife into the beet. Serve on top of a salad or sprinkle balsamic on top and serve as a vegetable side dish.

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