There are two primary varieties of beets consumed in the US – sugar beets, which are mostly used to make table sugar, and table beets, which are the type you’re probably used to seeing at your farmer’s market or grocery store.
While table beets are high in sugar (they have more sugar than any other vegetable), they’re also packed with valuable nutrients and antioxidants. Most people can safely eat table beets a few times a week (and their greens in unlimited quantities), enjoying not only their sweet, earthy flavor but also their powerhouse nutrients that may improve your health.
Although table beets have been cultivated for thousands of years (both for the root and the greens), they are not widely grown in the US compared to other crops. Table beets generally account for 10,000 acres or less of US farmland (close to half of which is in Wisconsin).
The vast majority of table beets produced in the US are processed. If you’ve only tried jarred or canned beets in the past, pick up a fresh bunch the next time you see them.
You’ll be in for a pleasant surprise, as not only are beets easy to prepare (they can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, roasted, baked, or pickled), they’re incredibly delicious when eaten fresh.
- In this tasty beet salad, beets are combined with creamy goat cheese and arugula, then dressed with a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing
- Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium
- Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress
- Because beets are high in sugar, it’s best to enjoy them in moderation
Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese
If you’re looking for a recipe to compliment the flavor of your fresh beets, try the Food Network’s take on beet salad below. The beets are combined with creamy goat cheese and arugula, then dressed with a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. Walnuts, another nutrition powerhouse, are added in for some crunch.
The recipe makes four servings – enough to feed your family for dinner or save for a quick lunch for the week.
- 2 bunches medium beets, (about 1 ½ pounds) tops trimmed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 bunch arugula, trimmed and torn
- ½ medium head escarole, torn
- 4 ounces goat cheese, (preferably aged goat cheese) crumbled
- Put the beets in a saucepan with water to cover and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them–the skins should slide right off with a bit of pressure from your fingers. If they don’t, use a paring knife to scrape off any bits that stick. Cut each beet into bite-sized wedges.
- Whisk the vinegar with salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a slow steady stream to make a dressing. Toss the cut beets in the dressing; set aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and oven-toast, stirring once, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Cool.
- Toss the arugula and escarole with the beets and divide among 4 plates. Scatter the walnuts and goat cheese on top. Serve.