Beet It!

This weekend at the farmers market, my tote was filled with beets!! They are one of my favorite things to eat this time of year, but one of the questions I get asked the most is "what do I do with them?"  So here is one of my favorite recipes (and some nutritional notes) to keep you rooted in health for your cooking pleasure!  

Beet It! 

Beetroots have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. They have a cleansing effect on the liver and can be used to treat liver maladies, kidney stones, and disorders of the gallbladder, stomach, and intestines. Beets aid digestion and the lymphatic system. They combat anemia, tone the blood and help build red blood cells. [1

Beets also contain special types of pigments, called 

betalins

. These pigments have been shown to support the body’s detoxification process (specifically, in Phase 2) by stimulating specific enzymes to “hook-up” with unwanted toxic substances to be neutralized and excreted. If you are exposed to toxins in your daily life (pesticides from non-organic food, pollution, body care products etc.), or simply looking for extra detox support, add a couple servings of beets to your diet every week. 

Summer Heat with Horseradish! 

It seems that most people are familiar with horseradish but in a very limited way. I know that I grew up with the bottled sauce version spooned beside of a hunk of roast meat, and that was about it. When I bought my first house it had an amazing garden and landscape and in one of the beds was a ginormous plant of Horseradish. I had no idea what to do with it and it certainly was one of the most proliferous plants in the garden!  I tried it fresh one day and fell 

entirely

 in love. Fresh horseradish is pungent, deeply heating and has this unbelievable kick that acts like a spark plug that ignites your tastebuds. It works well with many foods besides red meat. Try it grated onto fresh green peas in spring, or potatoes and celery root in winter.  

Horseradish is part of the Brassica family, which includes kale, broccoli, cabbage and mustard. Wasabi also comes from this family of plants and once you taste fresh horseradish you will see why. That fantastic, sinus-clearing rush you get from wasabi paste or Dijon mustard comes from the 

glucosinolates

 (organic compounds) found in this group of plants.

These compounds are also responsible for the health benefits of horseradish, and studies are now looking into the cancer-fighting potential of glucosinolate. In addition, Horseradish is antibacterial and antiviral – a powerful ally to have on your side as we head in to the colder months.

Horseradish has been used as traditional medicine for centuries for aiding digestion. Horseradish increases appetite, while stimulating the release of enzymes to help break down your food.

After purchasing a horseradish root, keep it wrapped loosely in plastic in the crisper of the fridge, and only peel and grate as much as you need at a time. Once exposed to air, the flavour of horseradish changes rapidly, becoming bitter and unpleasant. If placed in vinegar however (like in a dressing) the taste and awesome heat will remain until it’s ready to use.

I absolutely LOVE this recipe from My New Roots. 

Roasted Kale and Beets with Honey-Horseradish Vinaigrette

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale (about 12 leaves)

4 medium-sized beets (any kind – red, golden, striped, etc.)

melted coconut oil or ghee

flaky sea salt

handful of pumpkin seeds, if desired

Honey-Horseradish Dressing

Honey Horseradish Dressing

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil

1 Tbsp. grated horseradish, plus more for garnish

1 tsp. raw honey (or maple syrup)

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

2 pinches sea salt

Directions:

1. Whisk all ingredients together.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C. Rinse and trim off ends of beets. Wrap in foil and place on a baking sheet and bake until you can easily pierce through the beets with a sharp knife (time depends greatly on size of beets, but around 60 minutes). Remove from oven and peel back a corner of the foil to let some of the steam out. When beets are cool enough to handle, slide the skins off.

2. Wash kale and spin entirely dry (otherwise the kale will just steam in the oven). Drizzle with a little oil and rub to coat each leaf, sprinkle with salt. When the beets are nearly done, place them on the lower shelf of the oven and put the kale chips on the middle to upper wrack. Bake until crisp – about 15 minutes.

3. Slice beets into any shape you desire – I chose thin discs to show their interior pattern, but quarters or cubes is fine too. Toss with a little of the dressing and set aside.

4. To assemble, place a few whole kale leaves on each plate, add dressed beets and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds if desired. Drizzle remaining dressing over the kale, and add more grated horseradish if you dare. Enjoy.

P.S. Please share your favorite beet recipe in the comments below!!