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06. September 2012

I hate beets! 

As long as I can remember, the taste, texture… the very smell wafting from the bowl of beets on the buffet at Souplantation makes me want to well – b_rf!   It’s visceral!  No matter how hard I’ve tried to buddy up with beets, a close encounter with the earthy, red vegetables never fails to trigger the gag reflex.

But just because I can’t stomach the red, root veggie doesn’t mean I should ignore them.  Heck, some of my best friends like beets.  Raw, cooked or pickled (ugh!), my husband digs beets.  I just have to hold my nose.

Fact is, this often unloved (I know I’m not alone!) veggie is packed with nutrition –

including potassium, fiber and folate.  Just a half-cup of cooked beets provides 17% of the folate you need each day.  And like all vegetables, the big, bad beet has no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Researchers believe the red pigment (called betacyanin) in beets could protect against the development of cancerous cells and might play a role in reducing inflammation associated with heart disease.

Traditionally know for their dark, red hue, these root veggies also come in shades of gold and white.  Napoleon made the vegetable famous in 19th century France by capitalizing on the beets’ high sugar content and creating hundreds of refined sugar mills.

Beets can be steamed, boiled, pickled, roasted or eaten raw but because they contain more natural sugar than starch, they are particularly delicious (or so I’m told) oven-roasted…which concentrates the sugar rather than leaching it into cooking liquid.

So, if you can stomach it, don’t pass on that bowl of borscht!  Because when it comes to nutrition, there’s no beating the beet. 

And if borscht isn’t your thing, check out these three, easy recipes I ran across in Prevention Magazine – quick and fresh ideas for those of you who enjoy beets.

Please, don’t let me stop you. 

Cold Beet Soup

Blend together 4 med. diced cooked beets, 2 cups water, 2 Tbsp sour cream, 1Tbsp drained prepared horseradish and 2 tsp fresh dill.  Season to taste.  (Makes 3 ½ cups) Pour into 4 serving bowls and top each with a dollop of sour cream and a dill sprig.

Roasted Beets and Sautéed Beet Greens

Trim 1 bunch med beets with tops to 1”.  Wash and chop greens and stems.

Scrub beets and wrap tightly in heavy-duty foil.  Roast in a 400-degree oven until tender, 50 minutes. Cool, peel and cut into wedges.

Sauté greens, stems and 2 tsp minced garlic in 1 Tbsp oil in skillet over medium heat until tender, 6 minutes.  Season.

Top beets and greens with 2 Tbsp each pistachios and goat cheese.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Beet Hummus

Rinse and drain 1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas. Add to food processor with 2 med. chopped cooked beets, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 ½ Tbsp each tahini and extra virgin olive oil, and 1 tsp chopped garlic.  Puree until smooth.  Season to taste. (Makes 2 cups.)

Serve with sweet potato chips.


Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.