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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Fall Beets: Versatile Leaf-to-Root Eats

Oct 01, 2022 06:00AM ● By April Thompson

Versatile, nutritious, colorful and flavorful, beets are quite the package deal. This easy-to-grow, multi-season vegetable is packed with nutrition and plays well with other ingredients. Beets can be enjoyed raw, roasted, boiled or pickled. They can be blended into quick dips, thin-sliced for healthy chips or incorporated into desserts for a mild, sweet flavor and bold color. 

“Beets have been a staple ingredient on our vegetarian menus for generations. They are an easy way to add natural sweetness and gorgeous color to so many dishes, both savory and sweet,” says Danica Wilcox, owner of the Moosewood Restaurant, in Ithaca, New York, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. The quintessential vegetarian eatery’s go-to beet dishes include hummus, burgers and borscht.

“Beets boast so many health benefits. Being rich in folate, manganese and copper, they are good for heartbrain and bone health. They are also a good source of fiber, which will feed the good bacteria in your gut, leading to improved gut health,” says Candace Bell, a Phoenix-based holistic nutritionist and food blogger at The Wheatless Kitchen. “Beets have a unique earthy flavor that goes perfectly with bright citrus. Roasting them brings out their sweet and savory flavors, and they pair well with arugula, crunchy walnuts and tangy goat cheese in a salad.” 

Lisa Keys, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, author of the food blog Good Grief Cook, grows beets and uses them in a number of ways. “Beets get their color from natural plant pigments called betalains, which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that help control illnesses like diabetes and heart disease,” she says. Her blog offers a recipe for a hearty, roasted beet sandwich, which pairs the root veggie with feta and a smashed avocado, dill, lime and yogurt spread.

Versatility is one of the beet’s star qualities. The root vegetable can be quick-pickled with other garden vegetables, pureed into soup, roasted for a side dish, shredded raw into salads, juiced into a smoothie or even concentrated into a powder—a favorite of registered dietitian nutritionist Mascha Davis, in Los Angeles. “Beet powder can be added to so many recipes for a fast and easy superfood boost,” she says. Her go-to applications for beet powder include a beet and rose latte, a beet-colored “pink yogurt” topped with berries and cacao nibs, and overnight oats swirled with beet powder.

If the benefits of the beetroot didn’t already run deep enough, its stems and leaves are not only edible, but also packed with vitamins A, B and K, as well as copper, manganese, iron and calcium. The greens make a great side dish to accompany a beetroot main dish or can be incorporated into a beet soup, salad, sandwich or smoothie for a zero-waste meal turbocharged with nutrients.

Like spinach, chard and other vegetables in the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae), beets are rich in oxalates which can contribute to kidney stones. For most healthy people, though, oxalates aren’t harmful, if enjoyed in moderation. ❧

Connect with Washington, D.C., freelance writer April Thompson

Beet Recipes

pPhoto Michelle Demuth-Bibbbrp

Beet, Greens and Goat Cheese Linguine

Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350° F. Wash, dry and remove the leaves from the beets; thinly slice the leaves and chill until ready to use. Wrap the beets in recycled aluminum foi... Read More » 


pPhoto Michelle Demuth-Bibbbrp

Kale and Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Add beets to a full pot of water and bring to a boil, cooking them until they are fork tender. Remove beets from stove and drain into a colander. Run cold water over them to cool slightly... Read More » 


pPhoto Reynolds Wrapbrp

Beet Chips with Sea Salt and Smoked Paprika

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line two, 18-by-13-by-1-inch baking pans with aluminum foil. Combine sea salt and paprika. Cut the beets into very thin slices using a sharp knife or mandoline. Read More » 


pPhoto Michelle Demuth-Bibbbrp

Beet Hummus

Peel and dice beets into cubes and roast in the oven at 350° F for 20 to 25 minutes. Once the beets are cooled, place them in blender or food processor and blend until only small bits rem... Read More » 


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