Ode to Beets: 150+ Reasons to Love this Root Veggie

Beets, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 

Beets are definitely one of my favorite vegetables. One of the most amazing things about them is how good they are for your health. They are loaded with nutrients and are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, & phosphorus. They also provide fiber and antioxidants.

This root veggie also has some medicinal benefits. It helps to cleanse the liver and can be helpful for promoting healthy digestion. Because beets contain nitrates they aid in improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and can even boost stamina so you can excerise longer. They also contain betaine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid that helps to protect the body from environmental stress.

Beets contain several minerals that are essential to healthy nerve and muscle function and promote bone, liver, pancreas,and kidney health. They also contain B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

Beet greens are extremely healthy too. They are an important source of essential nutrients, like vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. They also contain more iron than spinach and are a good source of fiber and protein.

In addition to being super healthy, beets are also really tasty and versatile. They are a great addition to soups, pastas, salads, juices, smoothies, and even make lovely desserts and condiments.

Below are 150 recipes to help you fall in love with beets. If you’re already a beet lover, some of these recipes may be familiar, but there’s also a lot of fun, unique recipes that will have you wanting to eat beets for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Enjoy!

[BREAKFAST]

1. Beet Hashbrowns from The Roasted Root

Photo Credit: The Roasted Root

2. Beet & Chia Pancakes from The New York Times

3. Chocolate Beet Muffins from Cake Student

4. Beet Hash Breakfast Wraps from Reclaiming Provincial

Photo credit: Reclaiming Provincial

5. Pink Breakfast Bowl from Ricki Heller

6. Roasted Beet, Baby Spinach & Goat Cheese Quiche from Food52

7. Red Flannel Hash Cakes from Martha Stewart

8. Beet & Carrot Muffins from Hidden Ponies

9. Breakfast Beet Shakshuka from The Whole Tara

Photo Credit: The Whole Tara

10. Beet Crust Leek Quiche from Prevention

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Grilled Tempeh Sliders

Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s a perfect time for some outdoor cooking. We love spending warm evenings on the deck or by the fire pit cooking our dinner and enjoying the weather. Not heating up the house with the oven or stove is an added bonus!

When many people think of grilling, they think meat – hog dogs, hamburgers, steak, chicken, etc – but there are many tasty meatless ways to enjoy cooking on the grill this summer. Tempeh, tofu, and many fruits and veggies are delicious grilled. There are also some very tasty  veggie “hot dogs” available at the natural food stores near us that are made from real vegetable not weird “meat like” ingredients. They are worth trying if you can find them.

This easy tempeh burger recipe is a favorite warm weather recipe around our house. Grilled veggies make a simple, delicious side dish. We use whatever’s in season. Asparagus, corn, zucchini, sweet potatoes, leeks, beets, and peppers are just a few tasty options. Be creative!

This recipe makes enough for 4 slider size tempeh burgers. This is enough to feed 2-4 people, depending on how hungry people are and what your side dish options are like. You could easily double the recipe to make more burgers if you are feeding more people.

 

Ingredients:

Sliders –

  • 8 oz tempeh patty
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup liquid aminos
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 small, “dinner roll” sized buns, sliced in half

Toppings –

  • 2 slices onion, diced
  • A handful of fresh arugula leaves
  • Condiments of your choosing. Some great options are: homemade pickles, slaw, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce (click here to find out how to make your own!), or mayo

Directions:

Cut tempeh patty into 4 equal pieces.

Combine liquid aminos, molasses, and diced garlic together in a wide dish. The dish does not need to be very deep, but ideally will be wide enough for the 4 tempeh pieces to sit in the bottom next to each other.

Add tempeh to liquid and spoon marinade over the pieces so they are drenched. Let marinate for about 30 minutes, occasionally flipping the tempeh so that each side has soaked for a bit in the liquid.

Start your grill. Once it is hot, add your tempeh patties. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until both sides look nice and brown. As the tempeh cooks, spoon some marinade over it occasionally to keep it from drying out and to add more flavor.

When the patties are nearly done, add your buns to the grill, sliced side down and cook them just a few minutes, until toasted. Then take everything off the grill and assemble your sliders using the arugula greens, onions, and condiments of your choosing. We like topping our sliders with things like ketchup, mustard, diced olives, assorted veggie pickles, and barbeque sauce.

homemade veggie pickles – asparagus, kohlrabi, & beets
We make our own super tasty pickles and condiments. It’s a lot easier than you think and it’s more than worth the effort. Some of the best condiment and assorted veggie pickle recipes come from my favorite canning cookbook, Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff. We especially love her recipes for zucchini pickles and ketchup. So tasty! I would definitely recommend picking up this book if you like preserving your own food.

 

Enjoy crafting your own tasty tempeh sliders this summer. We’d love to hear about any awesome variations you come up with!

Purple Dead Nettle: Not Just A Weed

Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium Purpureum) is a lovely and useful herbaceous plant. It grows abundantly around our site in Southwest, Michigan and I see it popping up all over this area. It can be found throughout the US, Canada, and many other parts of the world. This hardy weed thrives in lawns, roadsides, and can grow in a variety of conditions. It is also frost tolerant. It is most commonly found growing in loamy or sandy soils, but will also do well in clay soils. It is an self-seeding annual. Each plant produces lots of seeds (it’s estimated to be several hundred to several thousand) and those seeds can germinate year round.

Purple dead nettle is considered to be an “invasive species” due to its ability to thrive and reproduce in many environments. In fact, much of the literature available on this plant is geared towards methods of eradication, including pulling up the herb to control its population. It is interesting to note that purple dead nettle seeds germinate better when the soil is disturbed. “Invasive” plants like purple dead nettle often grow in places where humans have disrupted the natural balance.  These plants are simply trying to restore equilibrium to their environment. When we pull and spray these plants we are further disturbing the areas where they grow and actually increasing their ability to return and spread.

If we care about the environment, should be be attempting to eradicate these species, like purple dead nettle, that have been determined to be invasive? Research shows that meddling with nature isn’t necessary and could cause more harm than good. Tomás Carlo, assistant professor of biology at Penn State, states that “Invasive species could fill niches in degraded ecosystems and help restore native biodiversity in an inexpensive and self-organized way that requires little or no human intervention.”In 2011, he conducted a study on how invasive species affect their ecosystems.  He found that some invasive plants actually helped improve natural areas that had deteriorated due to human use. He stated that attempting to get rid of invasive species could actually harm the newly found balance in these ecosystems. In fact, the areas he studied, for example,have actually had an increase in the native migratory bird population because the invasive plants that grow abundantly there provide an important food source that had previously been displaced by human development. Carlo also stated that trying to eliminate invasive species on a large scale could also be a waste of time and money. He explained that when organizations try to rid an ecosystem of a particular invasive plant, it often ends up growing back despite all of their efforts.

Instead of pulling and spraying these weeds, we can appreciate and utilize them. Invasive plants often play important roles in their ecosystem. For example, purple dead nettle blooms in the early spring and is an valuable food source for insects when not much else is is flowering.  Many invasive plants are also useful to humans and make wonderful food and medicine. They require little to no care as they often occur and thrive naturally in our gardens and yards. These wild edibles can be a great low-maintenance, free food source. Foraging wild greens like purple dead nettle is easier than tending to more fickle commercially grown greens and is certainly cheaper than buying organic greens at the store. If you aren’t sure how to forage purple dead nettles, visit the Edible Wild Food site for more tips on finding and identifying this plant so you too can enjoy this spring green.Always be sure you properly identify a plant before eating it! For more foraging tips, check out our post on foraging spring edibles.

Purple dead nettle can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves have tiny little hairs that some may find strange texturally, but I have found that they aren’t bothersome when the plant is cooked. The leaves taste similar to spinach. When bruised, the plant has a noticeable green, earthy scent. Purple dead nettle leaves are great source of fiber, iron, and other important nutrients. They can be used in recipes much as one would use more conventional greens like kale or spinach.

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Parsnip-Rhubarb Lentil Bowls

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I’ll be the first to admit that this dish sounds a bit odd. In fact, I wouldn’t tell Matt what was in it til he’d already tried a few bites and had exclaimed his approval.

These strange ingredients really do come together quite deliciously though. The sweetness of the parsnips is a perfect contrast to the sour rhubarb. The earthy lentils and brightly flavored herbs tie everything together. Pure hearty, flavorful goodness.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 big stalk of rhubarb, thinly sliced
  • 2 small parsnip, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • smoked sea salt, to taste (Regular sea salt will do, but the smoked stuff adds tons of flavor)
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 ounce of feta, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Combine lentils and water in a sauce pan and cook on medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are soft and have absorbed all of the water.
  2. While the lentils are cooking, heat a skillet on medium high and add coconut oil. Once the oil has melted, combine rhubarb, parsnips, garlic, and onion in the skillet and cook until rhubarb and parsnips are soft. Add a teaspoon of sea salt about 5 minutes into cooking.
  3. Once lentils have finished cooking, remove from heat and add contents of the skillet, herbs, salt and pepper.
  4. Dish into bowls and serve topped with crumbled feta, and more salt, peppers, or herbs if you so desire. Serves 3-4 people, depending on portion sizes. It’s pretty filling dish, so you won’t need a lot to be satisfied.

Veggie Loaf

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a veggie loaf fresh out of the oven
This lovely loaf is hearty and rich, a perfect autumn meal. It’s everything you love about traditional meat loaf, minus the meat. I whipped up this recipe to curb a craving I’ve been having for meatloaf, just like my mom used to make. And I must say that it is quite a satisfying substitute.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 large head of cauliflower (or about 2 lbs)
  • 2 small poblano peppers
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp Shiitake mushroom powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup nettle leaf powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 3 Tbsp homemade ketchup (can substitute store bought organic ketchup), plus extra to top the loaf and serve with it
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 eggs

    Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the walnuts, sesame seeds, and spices to a food processor and process on high til the walnuts are coarsely powdered. Empty the mixture into a large bowl.

    Chop and food process the rest of the veggies in batches, adding them to the large bowl once processed. Stir the mixture until fully incorporated then add eggs, ketchup, oil, soy sauce, and pomegranate molasses to the bowl, stirring well to combine.

    Once the mixture is fully incorporated pack it into a greased bread pan (I like to use coconut oil) and spread a layer of homemade ketchup over the top of it (if desired). Bake for 1 hour or until the loaf is browned and bubbling.

    Remove loaf from the oven and let cool for a few moments. Serve with ketchup if desired.