Each week, my husband and I get a CSA box full of fresh vegetables – which means I have to come up with quick, creative ways to put those vegetables to use.
One thing we get quite frequently? Beets.
Usually when I talk about these veggies, people wrinkle their noses and tell me how much they dislike them. However, the trick to skipping that earthy dirt taste is all about how you prepare them – and when prepared right, they really don’t taste bad at all!
On that subject, I recently started spiralizing these ruby red roots. I found this was a great way to use them up in large amounts, and to change the way they are traditionally used in recipes.
Once you turn them into spiralized noodles, you can add them raw to salads – whether right away, or up to a few days after spiralizing. Kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, they will last 3-4 days.
Or, you can lightly heat them up and serve them instead of noodles in your favorite pasta recipe. It’s a healthy, grain-free, low calorie option. Try using golden beets to make them resemble spaghetti noodles.
If you’re not currently eating this veggie (or only eating it very rarely), maybe this article will change your mind. Below, I’ll share some of my favorite reasons to include this root vegetable in your diet.
1. They’re widely available
You can find them year-round at most healthy grocery stores and farmers markets, making them a reliable choice for your meals.
2. They’re anti-inflammatory
According to World’s Healthiest Foods, they are a great source of betalains, an antioxidant phytonutrient that helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
3. They provide sustainable energy
I love incorporating them into my post-workout nutrition, as I sometimes feel tired after an intense workout. This vegetable is a great source of carbohydrates, and contains a little bit of protein.
Some people avoid beets due to the sugar content, however, their high fiber content helps to slow the release of the sugar into the bloodstream.
4. They’re a wonderful cleansing food
According to board-certified nutritionist Jonny Bowden in his popular book “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What You Should Eat and Why,” which is available on Amazon, this root vegetable purifies the blood, and can be a great liver tonic.
5. High in betacyanin
Betacyanins are the antioxidants that give this vegetable their bright red color, the stuff that stains your hands and clothes. I argue that they are worth the mess. In Bowden’s book, Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, physician and medical researcher in the field of Alzheimer’s disease, stated that betacyanin is a “potent cancer fighter.”
6. Red, pink, or golden – doesn’t matter
According to registered dietician Jill Corleone, “The difference between the red and the orange beet is the pigment compound found in different varieties. Red beets are rich in betalain pigment, while the orange variety are rich in b-xanthin. Though their color differs, their nutritional benefits are the same.”
Personally, I prefer the red. I find them to be less sweet than the orange (or golden, as they are often described), however, I recommend that you give them both a try and see for yourself.
The Greens and Roots Are Nutritional Powerhouses
If you get a bunch with the greens still attached, don’t throw them out!
You can use the tops similarly to how one might use Swiss chard, in fact a very close vegetable relative. Juice them, put them in your smoothies, or sauté them in your favorite stir fry or side dish.
The greens are full of nutrients you don’t want to miss! This includes protein, phosphorus, and zinc.
The beets also offer a lot of nutritional benefit. They’re rich in fiber and antioxidants, as well as:
- vitamin B6
- vitamin C
Preparing Your Wraps
Since beets do grow in the ground, be sure to give them a good scrub and get all of the dirt off before using. You can pre-soak them in cold water, to loosen the dirt on the surface, before scrubbing with a brush and then rinsing. This method is efficient, and will help you to save a little water.
I love the following recipe, as it’s tasty and filling, yet still really fresh. The beet noodles give it a good texture, and even add a little bit of sweetness.
The hummus adds some richness too, and keeps me full for hours!
I’ve been using coconut wraps to make these, as they’re a simple grain-free option. Feel free to substitute with whatever kind of wraps you like.
I hope you give this recipe a try, and that you consider adding more of this root vegetable to your diet – I promise they won’t taste as horrible as you might remember them to be! The key to making them taste great is in how they are prepared, and what you serve them with.
Are you a lifelong beet lover, or a recent convert? Share your serving suggestions and experiences with me in the comments!
About Sarah Hagstrom
Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog "The Seasonal Diet" (www.theseasonaldiet.com). She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.