Beets: Love ’em or hate ’em…

In our final week of Healthy January, does any food generate a more passionate reaction? Fans of beets rejoice when they see them on a menu.  Haters claim they taste like dirt.

Let me just say to all the haters… Beets are one of the best foods you’re not eating.  Packed with nutrition and full of incredible flavor when prepared PROPERLY!  Forget everything you’ve tried in the can or those gross bins you see neglected at the salad bar.  Roasting beets is the way to go- bringing out their sweet, rich taste.  Red are the most popular but my personal favorites are golden beets so I like to serve a combo of both.  I think they are best appreciated with some mixed greens tossed in a vinaigrette dressing, topped with crumbled goat cheese and crushed black pepper.  Here’s an easy and quick recipe that will make you a believer.

Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets & Goat Cheese

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 medium or 6 small beets, roasted (*see instructions below) and peeled – about 1 pound of beets

6 ounces mixed greens, washed and dried thoroughly

About 1/4 cup of **Simple Vinaigrette Dressing  (or use your own)

2 ounces crumbled goat cheese

crushed black pepper

Directions:

Slice beets to your liking (sliced, diced or quartered) and add to the mixed greens.  (Note: If you are using red beets, add them AFTER adding the dressing so that the color doesn’t bleed onto the other beets/greens.)

Add vinaigrette and toss until well combined.  You may not need to use all the dressing- you never want to “drown” the greens in it.

Top with crumbled goat cheese and crushed black pepper and serve.

*How to Roast Beets

Ingredients:

1 pound beets

water

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Trim the greens of the beets (the leaves and stems) down to about 1/2 inch. Wash and scrub beets thoroughly.

Place beets in a baking dish and add a little water- just enough to cover the bottom of the dish about 1/8 inch.  Sprinkle with salt.

Cover tightly with a cover or foil and bake for 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of your beets) until they can be easily pierced with a knife.

Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle with your hands

Cut off the tops and ends and slip off the skins.  (I like to wear latex gloves- a staple in my kitchen- for this process, especially when working with red beets.  Their color will bleed onto everything and stain so be sure to wear an apron or cover up- this is a slightly messy job.)

Cut beets into wedges, dice or slices.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I also sometimes like to toss beets with a teaspoon of vinegar (balsamic, cider, red wine, sherry, etc- they all work nicely.)

Serve alone or over salad greens.

Beets can last 5 days in the refrigerator.  Leave already roasted beets unpeeled until you are ready to use.

P.S…. Those leafy greens that come attached to your beets?  Yes, you CAN eat them and they are delicious!  Rinse them really well to get all the dirt out, chop and sauté over medium heat with olive oil, sea salt and pepper until tender.

**Simple Vinaigrette Dressing

Makes a little more than a 1/4 cup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vinegar (balsamic, cider or red wine work beautifully)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In small bowl, whisk all ingredients together.  Serve over mixed greens or veggies.

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