Yah, The Beet Goes On, Da Da Da Da Dee, Da Da Da Da Di
Remember that song, The Beat Goes from the 60’s? A great song wasn’t it. Any who that has nothing to do with Beets as a food but at least I got you to read this far in. So, hang in there with me while I tell you a bit about why this kind of Beet is almost as cool as the Beat referred to in the song. Ok Ok, I know I am pushing it but ….
Likely, if you have had beets in the past, it was from one of those cheeky generic salad bars inside a market or a pizza joint, pickled and leaking all over your lettuce salad-Yuck right. Get that image out of your head and let’s fast forward to 2013 folks. It is time to expand your palette and I have some simple recipes to introduce or properly re-introduce you, to this amazing root vegetable.
Behold the Beet- Beets pack an incredible powerhouse of benefits. They are a rich source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6) and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Further, they contain high levels of potassium, approximately 325 mg of potassium for a medium serving. That is 7% of daily requirements. If you didn’t know it, our little compadre, the beet, lowers heart rate and regulates metabolism inside the cells by countering detrimental effects of sodium. It is also low in calories, only 45, and it contains zero cholesterol and an itty bitty amount of unsaturated fat. Its nutrition benefits do not stop there and also come from fiber, vitamins, minerals, and unique plant derived anti-oxidants.
It is always better for the body to receive it’s nutrients and vitamins through food over a supplement because it is like mainlining the natural source into your bloodstream. The benefits are far superior and faster with real food over powder mixes or pills. Studies have shown that beets guard against cancer, especially colon cancer.
Whew- and there you have it, the Fabulous Beet. Now-get yourself to the store, farmers market or roadside stand today-These Little darlings are IN SEASON NOW!!!!
On the recipes
Roasted Beets and Carrots
2 1/2 cups rinsed and drained lentils or Basmati Rice**
10-12 small to medium red or golden beets
1 dozen large carrots, with their tops on
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs a combination of any of the following: parsley, thyme, chives or basil
1/2 cup chopped carrot tops
Grated zest of one organic lemon
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and center sprout removed
Juice of one large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
Dash of cinnamon
- Remove the leafy tops from the carrots and beets. Reserve the carrot tops.
- Wash and scrub the carrots and beets, removing any soil, leaving their skins on.
- Place the whole carrots and beets in a large casserole dish with lid that is oven-safe or enameled iron pot. Add olive oil, fully coating the vegetables in oil.
- In a 375 F oven, roast the vegetables for about 30 to 45 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Place rinsed lentils in a medium saucepan. Cover them with water and bring to a boil.
- Simmer on medium heat, uncovered, for about 30 to 40 minutes, until tender but not mushy. (Add water if necessary through the cooking).
- **If using Basmati rice-follow cooking directions on package-NOTE-Rice will cook faster than the lentils so if you are in a hurry or just plain don’t care for lentils, Basmati is a Great alternative
- Drain the lentils and place them in a large shallow serving bowl.
- If using Basmati instead, not need to drain just place them in a large shallow serving bowl
- In a blender or food processor, puree the garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil and puree until thick and opaque and no chunks of garlic remain.
- Pour this mixture over the lentils or Basmati.
- Add the chopped carrot tops, chopped herbs, and grated lemon zest and toss it all together.
- Season with a bit of salt and pepper if you wish.
- Place the roasted carrots and beets on top, then crumble the feta all around. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 5-6 servings
Here are two Simple Ways to BBQ your Beets
BBQ Grilled, Eaten Without Skins- Technique from Martha Stewart
2 pounds beets, trimmed 1/2 cup ice
STEP 1-Heat grill to high. In heavy-duty foil, wrap beets, in one layer, with ice. Cover grill; cook until beets are tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 40 to 45 minutes, turning once.
STEP 2-Rub off skins with paper towel. Cut beets into wedges. Toss in bowl with oil and 1 tablespoon vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Enjoy
BBQ Grilled, Eaten With Skins– Technique from Cousin Ed :>)
Heat the grill to medium-hot – you should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the cooking grate for about 2 seconds.
Do not Peel, just slice the beets.
Brush the beets with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
Place the beets on the grill. If using a gas grill, close the cover. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, turn, and continue cooking until the beets are tender and grill-marked, another 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve the beets hot, warm, or at room temperature, drizzled with olive oil. . Enjoy
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