Vegetable Spotlight: Beets

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Beets

Today, we are putting the spotlight on a nutritious and delicious vegetable, which one of its most popular varieties is known for its deep red color. I’m talking about the beautiful beet!

Beets are vegetable that, according to the University of Maryland Extension, have been cultivated around 4,000 years. They belong the Amaranth family alongside spinach, swiss chard, and pigweed. The beetroot, which is commonly eaten more than the greens, are high in vitamin C and Folate. Vitamin C is important for immune health, and Folate is beneficial with helping expecting mothers prevent neural tube defects in developing fetuses.

The University of Maine Extension explains that beets boast 44 calories in a ¾ cup serving. The greens of the beet can also be consumed and provide Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Vitamin A is beneficial for maintain good vision. Beet greens can be eaten raw or sautéed, while the popular beetroot can be cooked down and softened by boiling or by microwave to enjoy warm or chilled. Enjoy this wonderful recipe from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, perfect for cool weather to come, Roasted Carrot and Beet Soup!

Roasted Carrot and Beet Soup

Ingredients

Vegetable oil cooking spray
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced (3 cups)
1 pound fresh beets, peeled and chopped*
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced (1½ cups)
1 large onion, quartered (2 cups)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
 ½ teaspoon nutmeg
 ¼ teaspoon black pepper
 3 14-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream for garnish**
 Fresh chives, chopped, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with the cooking spray. Combine the carrots, beets, celery, and onion in the dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper. Toss to coat vegetables. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are fork tender. Cool slightly.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree the roasted vegetables with the broth in batches until smooth. Combine the batches in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Heat on medium-low until warmed through.
  4. Garnish with sour cream and chives

Additional

*Subsititute 1 15-ounce can beets, rinsed and drained. Instead of roasting, purée them with other vegetables in food processor or blender.

**Substitute with greek yogurt.

References:

“Bulletin #4252, Vegetable and Fruits for Health, Beets and Beet Greens” – Cooperative Extension Publications – the University of Maine Extension

“Beets” – Home & Garden Information Center – the University of Maryland Extension

“Roasted Carrot and Beet Soup Recipe” – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics