Ever since I tasted the Warm Beet Salad with Mushrooms and Yogurt Sauce at Dressing Room restaurant in Westport, CT, a few weeks ago during a photo shoot, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. Normally, I roast beets in the oven, but I’ve been obsessed with trying to figure out how Chef Jon Vaast makes his braised beets. He mentioned that he braises them in the oven in a liquid bath with some olive oil.
The last few weeks, beets have been showing up at the farmer’s market and in my CSA Box. When beets are super fresh, the beet greens can be eaten too. I hate throwing food out, so I’m always looking for ways to use up the entire vegetable. Last summer, I made Pasta with Roasted Beets, Beet Greens and Pine Nuts which my kids really enjoyed.
I was thinking of making this pasta dish again until I came across an article “Putting the Whole Beet to Work, Including the Tops,” by David Tanis in the New York Times a few weeks. I knew I had to try David Tanis’ recipe for Golden Beet and Beet Greens Salad with Yogurt, Mint and Dill. I made this beet salad twice, once braising the beets on the stovetop using Mark Bittman’s recipe as a guide, and the second time, braising the beets in the oven in a pot of water and olive oil. Although the beets seemed to cook faster on the stovetop, the oven braised beets had a silkier quality to them. I also threw in some radishes when I oven braised the beets and they came out with a nice mellow flavor.
Served warm with a dollop of yogurt dressing, this Warm Beet Salad with Beet Greens satisfied my desire for Dressing Room’s Warm Beet Salad.
Recently, I joined a new weekly food blogging group that will feature a different Power Food each week based on the book Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with 38 Healthiest Ingredients from the editors of Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. Power Foods are foods that are outstanding in the amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, fiber and more, that help fight disease and promote good health.
We will be working our way through each of these 38 Power Foods that are divided into four sections - vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes, nuts and seeds, and then eggs, yogurt and fish. I’m looking forward to learning about each of these power foods and why they’re so good for us.
This week, we’re featuring Beets as a Power Food. I have to say I was not a beet fan until a few years ago when I tasted my first roast beet salad. Up until then, the only beets I’d ever eaten were the kind that came in a can or were served at salad bars. Now, whenever it’s beet season, I snatch them up from the local farmer’s market, or look for them in my CSA Box.
So, what makes Beets a Power Food? Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support, and a key body nutrient called betaine, which has been associated with lower levels of several inflammatory markers. Beets are also high in folate, manganese, fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
Another interesting note is that beet fiber (and carrot fiber) are two specific types of food fiber that may provide special health benefits, particularly with respect to digestive tract health and the cardiovascular system.
As for Beet Greens, don’t throw them out – they are incredibly rich in nutrients, with double the potassium, folic acid, calcium and iron as the roots.
Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up for this week: