The winter months can be difficult if you don’t know how to navigate your way through your grocery store’s produce section (or farmers’ market, depending on where you live). However, you might not know that there are some amazing winter veggies out there that are loaded with the vitamins and minerals you need to keep you from getting the winter cooking blues.
One of the more versatile winter root vegetables is the beet. Beets are surprisingly in the same family as chard and spinach, and are chock full of betanin. Betanin is the cause for their bright red color and is also an extremely powerful anti-oxidant. In addition, their properties can assist in digestive problems including irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and certain parasites. As if that wasn’t enough, they also have anti-inflammatory properties that can aide in health problems from arthritis to heart disease.
Another great characteristic of the beet is that they have a sweet, earthy taste, giving them the flexibility to go back and forth between sweet and savory. Our very favorite recipe is for a Roasted Beet Salad with Citronette. It’s the perfect salad to make at the beginning of your week and take with you for lunch. This salad is hearty enough with nuts and goat cheese to keep you full, but not heavy enough to leave you feeling sleepy after lunch. Plus, all the nutrients in its ingredients will give you an energetic boost for the rest of your day!
Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Pistachios + Citronette
- 3 beets
- 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 pcs. citrus
- 2 oz. pistachio, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1/2 lb. arugula
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on beets and fill roasting pan with 1/4” of water and roast for about 40 minutes or until tender. Cool beets and peel skins off, cut in half and then into half moon shapes.
2. Segment citrus and retain juice.
3. Soak minced shallots in retained citrus juice for about 10 minutes before adding the olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Toss arugula with citronette. Garnish with beets, goat cheese, citrus and pistachios.
If you’re in the mood to do something with beets on the sweeter side, Tyler Florence has a recipe for a beet cake with cream cheese frosting that will blow your socks off.
One of the most distinguishable characteristics of the beet is it’s bright, beautiful, red color. Native Americans used to make their red paint out of beets, and while we use a different recipe, we love using this idea for a garnish! I’ll admit that It is a bit of a process, but the magenta hue that it creates makes for a very bold statement on a white plate!
For the beet paint:
Puree roasted beet until they can’t be pureed anymore and add just dashes of the following until a thin, yet sticky consistency remains: water, sherry vinegar, olive oil and salt.
So fear the produce section during winter no more. Beets are here to the rescue! There are thousands more recipes out there that will give you new, creative, healthy ways to incorporate this power vegetable into your diet.