Summer Beets

Beets are everywhere in the farmers’ markets, deep purple varieties, sunny golden beets, and the candy striped Italian Chioggia red beets.  I usually choose the deep purple, as there aren’t many vegetables that are deep purple all the way through, and I remember a Naturopath’s advice to “eat the rainbow every day.”  There is no need to peel organic beets, a plus because peeling beets is not a simple task, and I can just skip that step.   In the winter I roast beets, but in summer I prefer to steam or boil them for use in another recipe.  Just trim the root and stem ends, give them a good scrub, and proceed.  The leafy tops of beets are also nutrient dense, and good to steam or sauté and serve alongside the beets if you like.  I prefer to add them to spinach, kale, and chard in a mixed green quick sauté with olive oil, minced garlic, diced onion, and some grated parmesan cheese. 

Beets are packed with valuable nutrients, loaded with important minerals like manganese and magnesium, iron, potassium and phosphorus, plus vitamin C and the critically important B vitamin folate.   

I’ve been invited to do some teaching at the Cheyenne Farmers’ Market this summer, and the following are a couple of the recipes I’ve shared with market shoppers.  The first recipe calls for cooked beets, but the second features them raw.  If you have a food processor with a grating blade, the prep goes faster.   

Beet Salad with Blackberries

3-4 cups salad greens, nice with a mixture of lettuces and arugula or watercress

Thinly sliced red onion

2 cups cooked beets, slices or chunks

Torn basil and mint leaves

1 cup blackberries, washed

Goat or Feta cheese crumbles

Honey Mustard dressing 

Cook the beets in a little water, or steam until done.  Drain and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar.  Toss all ingredients (except the cheese) together, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Add honey mustard dressing, top with cheese crumbles, and toss again gently.  Serve at once. 

Honey Mustard Dressing

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

¼ cup champagne vinegar

Salt and pepper

2-3 tbsp. honey

½ cup olive oil 

Place mustard in a small bowl, add the vinegars and salt and pepper.  Whisk in the honey.  Slowly add the oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly to create the emulsion.  Taste for balance and correct as needed, toss with the salad. 

Beet and Carrot Salad

¼ cup minced shallot

2 tbsp. minced ginger

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp. soy sauce

Tabasco sauce to taste

½ tsp. dark sesame oil

1 tsp. honey

Juice from ½ orange

1/3 cup sunflower oil

4 cups shredded carrots

4 cups shredded beets

1 tbsp. black sesame seeds 

In a blender, process the shallot, garlic, and ginger with vinegar, soy sauce, tabasco, sesame oil.  Add the sunflower oil in a thin stream while processing on high until smooth.  Toss with the vegetables and serve. 

Bon appetit!