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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Black Currant, Blueberry & Wild Bergamot Syrup

Summer is in full swing in Michigan, which means fresh berries and herbs are available in abundance. I love to make various preserves throughout the season so that I have a few jars to give as gifts to friends & family and some wonderful treats to enjoy myself during the long winter months when nothing is growing.

This delicious, unique simple syrup combines some of my favorite flavors of these lovely summer months. Blueberries are a familiar favorite and the addition of black currants and wild bergamot gives this syrup a tasty twist.

Black currants are not extremely popular, at least in this area, and can be a bit tricky to find. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get them at a farmer’s market or find a fruit farm that will let you pick them yourself. We are fortunate enough to have a great orchard nearby where we can pick these tasty berries. If possible, growing your own is a great option. If you can’t find black currants and still want to make this recipe, just substitute an equal amount of blueberries. The currants add a lovely flavor, but blueberry-bergamot syrup is also wonderful.

Freshly picked black currants

When eaten fresh, black currants have a sweet, earthy flavor that some people don’t enjoy. I personally think they’re wonderful, but they are definitely different. Most people do like black currants when they are added to syrups, jellies, and wines as they have a delicious flavor that is similar blackberries, though it is a bit richer and more concentrated.

Wild Bergamot is a lovely plant that can be found flowering in the fields, meadows, and roadsides in our area right now. I love its strong, spicy, oregano-like flavor. It’s definitely not what you would expect from such a delicate and pretty flower! It is wonderful as a cooking spice, garnish for salads, and to flavor syrups and jellies. The below graphic – excerpted from Dina Falconi’s book, Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook – provides lots of wonderful information about how to wildcraft and use wild bergamot. This is one of my favorite books on foraging wild edibles as it has very thorough plant profiles, amazing recipes, and is beautifully illustrated. Click here to get a copy of your own.  Continue reading

Curry Ketchup Recipe

This homemade ketchup is quick and easy to make and is definitely worth the effort. Whip up a batch before your next cookout to impress your friends. After all, nothing screams gourmet like handcrafted condiments.

The best homemade ketchup is made by cooking down ripe, fresh tomatoes for 10-12 hours until they turn into a thick sauce. But, most of time tomatoes aren’t in season (at least here in Michigan!) and sometimes you don’t have half a day to make ketchup. So, in those cases, you cheat a little and use organic tomato paste. The flavor will be just as rich and tomatoey and this little trick will definitely save you a lot of time!

Because you don’t have to wait for this ketchup to cook down, you can make a batch in about 15 minutes, meaning you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the wonderful summer weather.

The curry in this recipe compliments the tomatoes in delightful way and lends some interesting flavor to a classic condiment.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz organic tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 5 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • A pinch of chipotle powder, I use just the tip of a spoon
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Directions:

Combine tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, water, and molasses in a sauce pan and whisk together til well combined. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well to get rid of clumps.

Simmer on low for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld. Add more water if needed as the sauce is cooking and before serving if the ketchup is too thick.

Serve with hot dogs, burgers, or potatoes.

Making your own condiments is a wonderful way to reduce your intake of highly processed foods and honestly, they just taste better! Enjoy making this handcrafted ketchup for your next cook out this summer. This tasty twist on an old favorite is sure to be a hit!

Homemade Barbecue Sauce  

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Summer is the perfect time to go camping or have a cook out in the yard with your friends and family. Cooking outdoors gives you a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and to add some delicious deep, smoky flavors to your food that are difficult to reproduce with your oven or stove top.

And what is a cook out without condiments? This homemade barbecue sauce is a delicious alternative to conventional BBQ sauces that contain processed, artificial ingredients. It is smoky, sweet, and a bit spicy – everything a good BBQ sauce should be.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced finely
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, diced finely (this will depend on the size of your garlic cloves and how garlicky you enjoy your food. I tend to enjoy lots of garlic, so I use 4 cloves.)
  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
  • 6 oz of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of chipotle powder (reduce or omit this if you don’t like a spicy BBQ sauce – this amount will result in a medium-spicy level of heat.)
  • 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup (omit this step if you don’t want your sauce quite as sweet. Tip: The sweetness of the maple syrup can counter the spiciness of the chipotle if you went a little overboard with it.)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • salt, to taste

*This recipe makes about 1 pint of sauce. 

Directions: 

Heat a sauce pan on medium low. Add oil and let it warm up. Then add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir frequently until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the other ingredients and stir well to combine. Taste the sauce and make sure it is to your liking. Add more maple syrup to increase sweetness, more chipotle powder to increase smokey spiciness, or more salt if needed. Reduce sauce to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

When sauce is finished smear it on tempeh, tofu, or your favorite meat option before or after grilling. Unused sauce can be stored in the fridge for a few weeks. 

 

 

Easy Summer Pesto Recipe

Zucchini Pesto Pizza
zucchini, pesto & tomato pizza

Pesto is one of my favorite things to make in the summer. Its a great way to use up the bounty of fresh produce I have on hand, its super easy to make, and you can use it a million different ways. I follow this basic recipe using whatever greens/herbs I have on hand from the garden or farmers market.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups fresh greens of choice,* roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs of choice (use one kind or a blend of several)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or less if you don’t like a lot of garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • salt and pepper to taste

*If you don’t want to use any greens in your pesto, you can just use 2&1/2 cups of fresh herbs.

Directions:

Blend seeds and nuts together in a food processor until they are finely ground.

Add the greens, herbs, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to the food processor and blend until smooth. You may have to scrape things down with a spatula as you go to make sure everything gets mixed in.

Use your pesto on pizza or a sandwich, stir into scrambled eggs or pasta, or serve with crusty bread for a delicious appetizer.

Not sure what kinds of herbs and greens to use in your pesto? Here’s a few ideas:

Greens:

  • turnip greens
  • radish greens
  • beet greens
  • collards
  • kale
  • chard
  • Spinach

Herbs:

  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano

Feel free to use whatever greens or herbs you have on hand to make a unique and tasty pesto that’s all your own. Enjoy!