Beets fall into the category of foods I never ate or liked but never actually tried. Until they started showing up in my first CSA a few years ago. And while most people do not like their raw, earthy flavor, I love them straight up. While roasting them certainly brings out their sweet, juicy flavors, the gritty earthiness of a raw beet is perfect in smoothies and salads. My all time favorite meal at a restaurant was a beet carpaccio with super thinly sliced beets dressed with mango and arugula. Simple perfection.
Beets are one of those sneaky powerhouse foods, packing a whole lot of nutrition density into a seemingly small vegetable. A single cup comes in at 60 calories with no fat, a ton of fiber, and a little protein. Micronutrients with over 10% DV include potassium, vitamin C, manganese, and folate. They also contain moderate amounts of copper, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and phosphorus.
The beet’s hallmark bright red color comes from betalains that gives it cancer fighting properties. The orange/yellow varieties also contain different types of betalains that function as antioxidants and detoxifiers.
With a whopping 37% DV folate per cup, beets are a terrific food for pregnant women. Their vitamin B6 and iron content is also beneficial to gestational growth.
Don’t throw away the tops! Beet greens are high in antioxidants and vitamin A. Swap your kale for them in a smoothie or saute like chard and enjoy an extra nutritional boost.
Scared of beets? Give them a shot in one of these recipes, full of these red roots hidden among other flavor goodness: