Batty for Beets

Here is the third installment in our series on the nutritional benefits of winter vegetables: Beets! (See past posts on turnip and kale).

Beets are a versatile – and delicious vegetable! Both the beet and its greens are edible and can be used in a variety of tasty and simple dishes. Beets come in a red-purple colour, as well as in a golden-yellow colour. Beets are a good source of potassium, a nutrient that helps the body maintain a healthy blood pressure; and folate, a nutrient that is especially important for pregnant women and women who could become pregnant. Adding beets to your diet, along with a variety of other vegetables can help to ensure you meet your folate needs!

Once you get beets home, cut the greens off (leaving only 1-2 inches of stem) and refrigerate both the beets and the greens. The beets will last up to a week in the fridge, but the greens should be used within 2 days. Both the purple-red and golden beets are great served sliced up in a salad or on their own. Typically beets are cooked before eating them. To keep the colour from seeping out, clean them thoroughly and then cook them with the skins on. Once cooked, you can remove the skin with minimal colour leaking. Beets can also be roasted with potatoes and carrots or other vegetables – just use a little olive oil and pepper and wrap them up in tin foil – they can be cooked in the oven, or on the barbeque. Raw beets can also be grated over salads, which adds nice colour to the dish. The greens are a nice addition to salad, but they can also be sautéed with a little canola or olive oil and seasoned with pepper and garlic for a unique side dish!

Here’s a simple recipe to add some colour and zest to your summer, autumn or winter menu:

Roasted Root Vegetables
•    6 small red new potatoes
•    4 baby Yukon gold potatoes or fingerling potatoes
•    1 cup whole baby carrots, peeled
•    2 turnips, peeled
•    6 whole shallots, peeled
•    6 small white boiling onions, peeled
•    4 baby beets, scrubbed and stemmed
•    1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
•    1/8 cup olive oil
•    1 teaspoon dried sweet marjoram
•    Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. 

In a large bowl, combine red potatoes, gold potatoes, carrots, turnips, shallots, onions, and beets. 

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sweet marjoram. Pour over vegetables and toss so they are evenly coated. 

Transfer vegetables to a large, deep roasting pan and spread in a single layer. Sprinkle with fresh-ground pepper. 

Roast vegetables uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning the vegetables 2 to 3 times during the process.

Serves 4 – 6.

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