Give beets a try with this beet and arugula salad recipe. They provide lots of nutrition and beautiful color for many dishes.
Whether red, gold or beautiful candy-cane striped, beets look pretty, and they’re nutritious.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, they are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate and a good source of fiber and potassium. Did you know the greens are also edible? A one-cup serving of cooked beet greens is an excellent source of vitamins A and K, potassium and magnesium; and a good source of calcium.
Look for the most delicious beets at your local farmers market in early to mid-summer and again in fall, or find them at supermarkets year-round. Like all root vegetables, it’s fine for beets to have a bit of dirt from the field still clinging to them. Shake off any excess and store them in a paper bag so the dirt doesn’t get all over your refrigerator, but don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them.
Challenge the notion of beets as a least-liked vegetable by preparing these nutritious, colorful roots in tasty new ways. The easiest way to cook them is to roast them with their skins on in a 400-degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender in the middle, like a baked potato. When they are cool enough to touch, peel them and use them in a variety of recipes. Some ideas:
- Toss them with a balsamic vinaigrette, like the one in the recipe below, when they are still warm. They will absorb all that deliciousness and be ready for tossing into a salad. Or chill them in the fridge to use later.
- Blend cooked beets into soups for a slightly sweet and earthy flavor.
- Shred raw beets as a crunchy topping for salads, sandwiches, wraps and tacos.
- Puree cooked beets into morning smoothies. Try a blend of spinach, beets, Greek yogurt, raspberries, blueberries and cucumber.
- Sauté well washed greens in a bit of olive oil and fresh minced garlic. Drizzle with lemon juice.
Some additional tips
- Invest in a hand juicer. They cost only a few dollars and will repay you over and over by making it easy for you to add lots of fresh, fruity flavor to your recipes without extra fat and calories.
- Place a protective layer, such as parchment paper, on your work surface before peeling beets. Beets can stain your cutting board.
- Add the dressing sparingly. You can always taste and add more, so don’t create a soggy salad. Any extra salad dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Dressing ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- Salt/pepper to taste (optional)
- Salad ingredients:
- 10 ounces baby arugula
- 3 small beets, roasted, peeled and cut in bite-sized chunks
- ½ cup blueberries
- ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled or chopped
- Prepare the salad dressing by combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mash the berries as much as you can, or use an immersion blender to puree them slightly. It’s fine if they’re still chunky. Set aside.
- Place the arugula in a large salad bowl or on a platter. Arrange the beets, blueberries and pepitas on the greens.
- Drizzle with dressing, and toss lightly.
- Top with the crumbled goat cheese.
Stacey Kendrick, MS, is a health educator with more than 20 years of experience in wellness and population health. She is the mother of two adult daughters. She teaches healthy cooking classes, runs, gardens and enjoys backyard bonfires.