One of the most beloved vegetables in our house is the beet, a root crop veggie that’s become a lunch-time side staple for Harper (age 6), Asher (almost 4!), and me. Lightly steamed beets sprinkled with sea salt are the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
If you think you don’t like beets, I ask you to please give them another chance. Beets are incredibly good for you—they contain vitamins A, B, and C, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous, and they’re full of phytonutrients. Beets are also one of only a few plants that contain pigments called betalains, which exhibit strong antioxidant activity–in other words, they can help prevent cancer. And because they’re high in dietary nitrates, research suggests that consumption of beets can also help lower blood pressure and increase athletic performance. They’re one of those foods that taste good and actually ARE good for you at the same time.
Since these beauties are already harvested, you get to spend all your time focused on the cooking (and the eating!).
You’re going to start by cutting and setting aside the greens, then thinly slicing and gently steaming the beets. While the beets are steaming, chop up those greens, then toss them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for your salad base.
Once the beets are cooled, toss half the beets with the greens, then place the other half on top of the salad. Sprinkle the salad with feta, chopped toasted walnuts, and a little more oil and vinegar.
If you’d like, season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
For the printable recipe, scroll to the bottom of the page.
What to do with the cooking water and leftover greens?
One of the downsides of steaming beets (as opposed to eating them raw) is that you lose some of the nutrients in the water. Because I want to get as much as I can out of each beet, I use the cooking water for the liquid in my smoothies throughout the week. I also use the leftover beet greens in my smoothies.
I’ll eventually post more about my experience with green smoothies, but for now, here’s a simple recipe for those of you who are already familiar with this amazing drink.
Smoothie with Beet Greens
Place beet greens, banana, strawberries, and beet water in blender. Blend to your desired consistency. Enjoy!
Photographs and Food Styling: Anne Kingma
- 6 small beets, with their greens
- ¼ cup feta, gorgonzola, or chèvre
- Olive oil, 1 T 1 ½ tsp
- Balsamic vinegar, 1 T 1 ½ tsp
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Start by boiling a couple inches of water in a medium-sized pot.
- Remove greens from the beets and set aside.
- Thinly slice beets and place in steamer. If you don’t have a steamer, place the beets directly in the water. Cover and steam for 10-15 minutes, until you can easily insert a fork into the beets (but not so long that the beets are falling apart!). Remove from steamer and cool. Set aside the cooking water.
- Meanwhile, wash and dry the greens. Chop the greens until you have about 4 cups. Set aside the extra greens.
- Pour 1 T oil and 1 T vinegar into the bottom of a salad bowl. Place the chopped beet greens into the bowl and toss with the vinegar and oil.
- When beets are cool, toss half the beets with the greens. Place the other half of the beets on top of the tossed salad.
- Sprinkle with feta and walnuts. Drizzle with ½ tsp oil and ½ tsp vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
- This recipe includes every part of the beet. If you’d like to eat the beets on their own, simply steam the beets and sprinkle with sea salt.