Matthew Kaplan is the Editor for FaveDiets.com, a free online resource featuring hundreds of free healthy recipes, healthy cooking tips and loads more. Be sure to check out FaveDiets on Facebook and on Twitter.
In my experience, beets are one of those love/hate food items that everyone has an opinion on. Either you love their sweet, uniquely earthy taste, or you despise these purple orbs like none other. I can see both sides of the debate. After all, my first gross-out experience with food was watching my father slurp down a bowl of cold beet borscht, a repulsive idea to my youthful sensibilities.
Thankfully, I have since learned to appreciate the distinct taste that comes with fresh beets. The sweetness is there (after all beets were once a trusted source of sugar), but so are so many different flavors. From earthy roasted beet chunks to silky and buttery beetroot slices, nowadays there isn’t a beets recipe that I will not try.
Outside of their unique taste, I love cooking with beets for all of their distinct health benefits. Beets, one of the few purple foods readily available, contain some powerful antioxidants that can help lower your risk of heart disease and inflammation. On top of that, one cup of boiled beets has only 74 calories and is a fantastic source of potassium, fiber and vitamin C.
The only problem with beets and their lovely hue is that they have a tendency to color everything. When cooking beets, the cutting board, knife, your hands and just about everything they touch will turn purple. If you eat a lot of beets at once, it may turn some surprising things purple too.
Don’t let that deter you, and beets are still plenty worthwhile to have in your diet. My favorite way to enjoy beets is just simple roasted beets. I peel the beet roots with a vegetable peeler, chop them up in chunks, flavor them with thyme and rosemary, and then I roast them in a 400 degree F oven for about 35 minutes, or until the pieces are tender. For even easier prep, par boil the beets for a minute in boiling water, and then run them under cold water to rub off the skin.
That super simple roasted beets recipe is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cooking with beets. If you want to learn how to cook beets the traditional way, then a borscht recipe is the way to go. If you don’t know, borscht is a traditional Eastern European soup featuring a beet based broth. Every region has their own distinct take on the dish. The borscht I grew up with is very similar to this Super Easy Beet Borscht recipe. However, my preference is definitely for my Chunky Vegetarian Borscht recipe.
If you want to mix things up a bit, here are my favorite non-traditional ways of cooking with beets:
Regardless of whatever beet recipe suits your interest, know that you are doing well by your body and your stomach by cooking with this root vegetable, as the health benefits of beets are plentiful.
Your turn: Are you a fan of beets? What is your favorite method of cooking beets?
November 5th, 2011