Among my finds at the farmers’ market last week were some beautiful beets. I have shied away from the beets at the market in the past, because I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love beets in salads and on sandwiches. I’ve even had them sliced paper-thin in a playful vegetarian appetizer called “beet carpaccio” and I loved them. However, when it comes to preparing them at home, I simply have not played in that arena before.
I started out by washing and scrubbing the beets, and then I did a little research as they dried. Before hitting the books, all I knew about The Beets involved a fictitious musical group that performed songs like “Killer Tofu” that provided a soundtrack to my childhood.
It turns out that the kind of beet you get at the market is even better food for young minds and bodies. They are high in folate, manganese, potassium and fiber. In addition, beets provide a decent amount of vitamin C. They have also been found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune health-boosting properties. In order to maintain the nutrients responsible for all of these health benefits, beets should be cooked lightly. The healthiest way to prepare them is to steam them for 15 minutes, while the most common method is to roast them.
I got right to work.
I chose to roast the beets in their skins in a covered baking dish with a few tablespoons of water. I popped them in a 425 degree F oven for 45 minutes. When they were done cooling, the skins slid right off – no vegetable peeler required! I sliced a few for a salad, but you could dice them, grate them, or cut them into matchsticks.
The first thing I made with these beets was a fresh salad, which I served with barbecue tempeh tacos. This was a great meal for the hot weather we’ve been having lately.
Arugula and Beet Salad
- sliced beets
- crumbled goat cheese
- black walnut pieces
- fresh mint, chiffonade
- your favorite vinaigrette (I used raspberry)
Toss everything together in a large bowl and add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Split between plates and serve immediately at room temperature.