- Beth Chiodo, RD, LDN, CWC
Can you beet this?
Beets fall into the highly-underrated and widely misunderstood species of the vegetable kingdom. They’ve gotten a bad rap coming sliced out of the aluminum can cold, or worse yet, warm and tasteless. If you aren’t familiar with using fresh beets, you don’t know the sweet, glorious goodness that you are missing out on.
Recent studies suggest that beet juice may be effective in reducing blood pressure and enhancing athletic performance. Beets are high in the polyphenols quercetin and resveratrol, both of which can improve aerobic capacity and performance. Their beautiful crimson color comes from betalain pigments, which have antioxidant properties. Beets may help reduce inflammation in the body, and they are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you really like beets, but want the health benefits, read on…
Before we had babies and toddlers, my husband and I frequented Tex Mex, a local from-scratch (all the food is cooked from scratch) Mexican restaurant in North Wales, PA. Their house salsa is amazing (actually everything is amazing), and I’ve worked hard over the past year to replicate it. I have to say, I’ve come pretty darn close. Though canned tomatoes might seem strange to use in such a fresh recipe, they provide consistent results year-round, so your salsa will be as good in the northeastern winter as it is in the heat wave we are currently having.
You can cook beets by simmering them in water or chopping them up, drizzling them with oil, salt, and pepper, and roasting them in the oven at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.
I used Tex Mex’s salsa as inspiration for my recipe below. The best part about this recipe is that it’s all done in the blender and takes no more than 5 minutes. Lets face it, that’s about all the time I have before my two-year old tries to drink out of my dog’s water bowl or shove crayons in the vents.
This salsa recipe is great if you have diabetes, are looking to lower cholesterol, or are looking to lose weight because it’s low in sugar and calories and is virtually fat- and cholesterol-free!
“Too Good to Beet True” Salsa
1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes (I don’t have time to drain it!)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies
One large cooked beet, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Half of a red onion
2 large handfuls of cilantro
The juice from two limes
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Add everything to the blender and chop or puree to desired consistency. Enjoy with whole grain tortilla chips or crackers or use as a topping for eggs, chicken, fish, or tofu.