Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ingredient: Beets!

n. [beet] the edible root and leaves of the biennial crop plant

Beets are here! We just enjoyed some nice red beets from our CSA box. Beets can be a bit divisive on the veggie front, although I think that folks that don't like them have never had them cooked properly. They are delicious and nutritious, being high in folate, manganese and potassium. They do have a high sugar content (the most of any vegetable), but remain low calorie. Several studies have also proven them to be effective in fighting heart disease, cancer and inflammation.

Beet greens are often overlooked, but as with their cousing Swiss Chard, they can be eaten in a variety of ways including raw. I recently added to some to a stir-fry with excellent results!

As for the beets themselves, I prefer them roasted. And for our dragon-slayer 3 year old, they have become 'Roasted Dragon Hearts'. A little disconcerting, but effective.

Simple Roasted Beets

-Pre-heat oven to 450˚
-Remove greens and save for later use. Scrub beets clean, leaving skin intact
-Quarter large beets, halve smaller ones, and place on a baking sheet
-Toss with olive oil, salt + pepper
-Roast for approximately 30 minutes or more, until beets are just tender when pierced with a knife (turn 1-2 times during cooking to ensure even roasting)
-Remove from oven and let beets cool
-Once cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to remove softened skin
-Use the beets as a side dish, in salads or even in ice cream!

I like to use them in a salad, topped with an Indian Yogurt Dressing. I'll post the recipe on Friday!

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