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Beets: Eat them again for the first time

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Beets are a food that people either really like or not. Barb Randall encourages people to try them again, because they taste good and are good for you.

Beets — you either love ‘em or not.

Some folks don’t like the earthy taste. Some don’t like how beet juice can stain your fingers when handling them. But I like ‘em.

Not being one to focus on the negative, let me tell the reasons why you, too, should incorporate the beautiful roots into your diet.

First off, they are gorgeous to behold. Yes, they are rough-looking, gnarly roots — but that is only until you cook them. Underneath that dull exterior is bright red, yellow or orange flesh. Slice or dice them and they become gleaming jewels on your plate.

Cooking beets is easy, which should make them every cook’s first-choice vegetable. Simply scrub them, wrap them in foil and roast them in the oven. You can steam or boil them, too.

Beets are considered a “good-mood food.” According to Full Circle Organic Produce, beets contain betaine, an ingredient found in certain anti-depression medications, and tryptophan, which helps you relax and fills you with a sense of well-being —similar to the effect you get from eating chocolate.

Beets are low in calories. And even though they are high in sugar, the sugar is released into your system gradually, making beets good energy providers.

They are high in potassium — which makes you happy — as well as magnesium; fiber; phosphorus; iron, vitamins A, B and C; beta-carotene; beta-cyanine; and folic acid. They are a wonderful tonic for the liver, working to purify the blood.

All those are great reasons to eat beets, of course. But I eat them because they taste good.

You will find fresh beets now at farmers markets in a variety of colors, and in small to medium sizes. Pick up several bunches on your next visit.

You can eat the greens, too. Cook them as you would kale or spinach for another flavor-packed boost of energy.

I’ve selected recipes for two of my favorite beet dishes. I always roast a couple bunches of beets at a time, so I have plenty to eat. You can keep the pickled beets in the refrigerator or process them in a water bath to seal them for later use. The Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad is sure to become a family favorite.

What do you like to do with beets? Share your favorite recipes on our Facebook pages or email me at the address below.

Bon Appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Pickled Beets

Makes two 1-quart jars

Roasted beets recipe follows

1 large red onion, frenched (thinly slice onion into wedges from stem to root end)

1 cup tarragon wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup water

Roasted beets

6 medium beets, cleaned with 1-inch of stem remaining

2 large shallots, peeled

2 sprigs rosemary

2 teaspoons olive oil

To roast beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients. Place on foil and wrap tightly. Then roast in oven for 40 minutes.

To make pickled beets:

Remove the skin from the roasted beets and slice thinly. Arrange in 1-quart jars, alternating layers with the onion. In a small pot, boil the tarragon wine vinegar, kosher salt, sugar and water and pour over the beets. Tightly lid the jars and place in the refrigerator for 3 to 7 days before serving.

— Recipe courtesy of

Alton Brown.

Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad

8 medium-size beets, tops removed and scrubbed

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup good olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces baby arugula

1/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds, toasted

4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan.

Roast them for 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size, until a small sharp knife inserted in the middle indicates that they are tender.

Unwrap each beet and set aside for 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets with a small, sharp knife over a piece of parchment paper to prevent staining your cutting board.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and set aside.

While the beets are still warm, cut each one in half and then each half into 4 to 6 wedges, and place them in a large mixing bowl.

As you are cutting the beets, toss them with half of the vinaigrette (warm beets absorb more vinaigrette), 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings.

Place the arugula in a separate bowl and toss it with enough vinaigrette to moisten.

Put the arugula on a serving platter and then arrange the beets, almonds and goat cheese on top.

Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, if desired, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature.

— Recipe courtesy of

Ina Garten

Barb Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext 100, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Follow her on Twitter at

@barbrandallfood.com



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