We've Got the Beet—
both above and below the soil, this vegetable is super sweet
When it comes to getting color on your plate, beets are hard to beat. The brilliantly hued roots come in a range of tints—red, pink, yellow, even stripes. All that intense color is more than just good looks. Research shows that the pigments in beets are potent antioxidants. The betacyanin that gives red beets their color could protect against development of cancerous cells and might play a role in reducing the inflammation associated with heart disease. Golden beets provide lutein, a healthful antioxidant that may help slow the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a cause of blindness, and seems to aid in blocking early stages of cancer. Expectant mothers take note: beets contain folic acid, which supports a baby’s developing brain, and just a half cup of cooked beets provides 17% of the recommended daily folate intake.
Eat your (beet) greens
The leafy green beet tops are both delicious and loaded with good stuff like calcium, vitamin K, vitamin A, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Instead of tossing them, strip the green leaves from their stems. Chop the leaves, and saute them in olive oil with crushed garlic and sea salt. Season with lemon juice or vinegar.
Like most root vegetables, beets are incredibly versatile and can be used to make soups (hello, borscht), salads, side-dishes, and yes, even desserts (hint: beets are a great match for chocolate.) This week, we’ve got one of our favorite-ever beet recipes on the menu, Chicken with Rosemary-Roasted Beets and Oranges. The combination of rosemary and oranges, roasted with beets, is an eye-opener, to be sure.