Whenever I try to convince people to eat more beets, I’m sometimes met with a bit of resistance. One, of many, excuses that I’ve heard was that beets “taste like dirt.” Hearing this, I assumed those people hadn’t had a properly prepared beet dish or they were very picky eaters. But after doing some research, I learned that there is some truth to this “dirty” taste complaint. Let me explain.
Beets are high in geosmin – a plant chemical that gives beets their earthy odour and flavour. Some people are very sensitive to this plant chemical and will struggle to enjoy the taste of beets, even if they’re cooked to perfection (e.g. like my favourite – beets fire roasted into candied chunks. Delicious!). Cilantro, similarly, has a plant chemical that will make it taste like soap.
If you react this way to beets, you’re excused. But to everyone else – beets should become a part of your diet. Consuming raw beet juice is great, and seems to be the trend these days, but roasting, steaming or baking your beets are also great ways (if not better) to get even more nutrients out of them, like Vitamin C, potassium, manganese and boron. Boron is a powerful mineral to pay attention to; it’s responsible for lowering blood pressure and increasing circulation and stamina during exercise – and is known as nature’s viagra! 😉
Here’s a simple nutritious and delicious recipe that combines cooled roasted beets with densely nutritious micro-greens.
- 4 medium beets, whole, scrubbed and trimmed (leave an inch of the stem as it’ll preserve more of the nutrients in the beets as they cook)
- 3/4 cup micro greens of any kind (sunflower sprouts, pea shoots or radish sprouts, or a mixture of all three)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 1 oz goat cheese
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil to drizzle
1) Toss the beets in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in the oven at 425 F for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork.
2) While the beets are roasting, add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then immediately lower the heat and simmer until it’s reduced to a quarter cup (approximately 4-5 minutes). Set aside.
3) Once the beets are done, set them aside to cool. While beets are cooling, arrange your micro-greens evenly on a large plate or shallow bowl.
5) Once beets are cooled, slip off the skin and slice them into 1/4 inch pieces and place them evenly on top of the micro greens that you’ve laid out.
6) Crumble the goat cheese on top, followed by the pumpkin seeds. Finally, use a spoon to drizzle your reduced balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil across the salad.
WARNING: Don’t commit a culinary crime by tossing out your beet greens. They are high in calcium, iron and folic acid. Enjoy them by sautéing in a little garlic and olive oil, and top them with the balsamic reduction if you have any leftovers from the salad.
Always remember tasty food and healthy food are not mutually exclusive . . .