By Brenna O’Dea
Beets hold a special place in my heart. I remember the first day I learned of the existence of this magnificent vegetable and sunk my teeth into my first bite of pure joy. Okay, it’s not like beets are comparable to chocolate soufflé or anything, but they sure are sweet, and believe it or not, they can be made into some pretty perfect desserts that are actually pretty healthy.
Beets bring a whole lot more to the table than their sweet taste and smooth texture. Where to begin? Fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid, phytonutrients, manganese, magnesium, vitamins A & C…phew, I’m out of breath. These bad boys boast countless health benefits, some of the best being for runners. Beets are chock full of nitrates. Not the nasty kind we see added to processed meats as a preservative, the naturally occurring kind that actually help your health, not hinder it. These friendly chemicals aid in blood flow, increasing athletes’ endurance abilities. So the next time you lace up those sneakers for a long run, sip on some beet juice or slurp down a beet-blasted smoothie.
A beet smoothie?? Sounds strange…tastes spectacular. A smoothie for the vampire in all of us, this baby is blood red but damn delicious. Now there are a few variations on this one, so whether you prefer a creamier texture with a plant milk base, or you like to add apple and avocado to the mix, I bet there’s a beet smoothie out there that’s right for you. This strawberry spin even has oats and dates for the most fiber-ful fix of all. And if the beet flavor isn’t for you, these still might please your palate. Just add some extra berries or banana, grab a straw, and get to slurping!
Trader Joe’s is the place to go for your last minute beet buying needs. Found in the snack section, Just Beets, are what they say they are: just beets. Dehydrated and done. No added oil, salt, sugar, nothin’ but beet beauty. They taste like any other beet chip you can find, but better. Less really is more when it comes to root veggies. And for when you are hungrier for more than just a snack, Love Beets brand offers the most convenient option out there, fully cooked beets that are ready to eat. Buy them plain or marinated, and toss them over tonight’s dinner. They also sell beet juice, and their most mysterious product, beet powder. I have not had the privilege of trying this stuff out yet, but it’s definitely on my beet bucket list.
Two words: cup+cake. Actually, three words: beet+cup+cake. Yep, that’s right. BEET CUPCAKES. These little chocolatey clouds are heavenly and your little ones will definitely want to help out in the kitchen. From the always delightful, Minimalist Baker, comes this recipe for Fudgy Vegan Beet Cupcakes that seems too good to be true. But alas, I have made these cupcakes quite a few times and they just never fail. So moist, fluffy, flavorful…I could go on, but it’s time to get baking. Gather your sous chefs, small to tall, and soon enough their tastebuds will take a trip worth remembering. Make sure to write this recipe down, the chocolate lovers in your family will more than likely be asking for these again real soon. And you can actually feel GOOD about making these cupcakes a regular occurrence, because they are loaded with energy-boosting apple cider vinegar, protein-rich almond milk, and of course, beautiful beets.
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Looking for lunch? Take on this two handed beet bruschetta and spend the rest of the day happy and FULL. Piled high with marinated kale, smoked pecans, shaved red onion, and drumroll for the dairy…whipped goat cheese. This ain’t no ordinary bruschetta, so make sure to order enough for the whole table to have a taste. We bet that even your little ones will beg for a bite. With those bright, vibrant colors, it’s almost too pretty to eat…almost.
Don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight? The golden beet salad will start off the evening right. Tossed to perfection with satsuma mandarins, macadamia nuts, and a dollop of yogurt for a lil’ probiotic action. This salad is a special one that stands out from the usual blasé beet salad lineup. The mandarins and macadamias combine into the perfect sweet n’ savory bite, while the yogurt cuts the sweetness just in time. And hey, it is a salad after all, so feel free to enjoy one of those fudgy beet cupcakes back at home…if there’s any left.
Well now I must be off and get back to my own beet business. I can almost see the bottom of the bag of beet chips I am currently devouring…so that must mean it’s time to do some shopping. At least I know I will have plenty of energy to roam the aisles thanks to my phytonutrient-filled friends.