You really can’t beat beets. In a study of 40 healthy people it was demonstrated that they were able to better perform on cognitive tests 90 minutes after drinking 450 ml of beetroot juice compared with placebo (apple/blackcurrant juice). The reason for this is the presence of dietary nitrates. These lead to more nitric oxide to encourage oxygen flow to the brain. Remarkable how quick the effects were.
Beets are bursting with folate, vitamin C and the antioxidant betacyanin, the pigment that gives them their vivid colour. Beetroot contains the mineral silica. This helps the body to utilise calcium, which is important for musculoskeletal health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis. With the clue being in the colour, beets nourish the blood and support the cardiovascular system. The presence of nitrates (and conversion to nitric oxide) exert a blood pressure lowering effect and can help increase endurance and performance in sports. Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins and enzymes from environmental stress. Finally, if you want to be nice to your liver eat some beets, they help support detoxification and contain pectin fiber to assist elimination.
2 beets chopped, 1 apple chopped, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 avocado. Whizz ingredients in a blender adding water to get desired consistency, serve with crudités.
The colour of this ‘pink’ hummus is just gorgeous. Take 4 cooked beetroot, 1 tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed, 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, 1 teaspoon each of cumin, salt and pepper to taste and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Blend all the ingredients and thin out with some olive oil to your desired consistency. We like it rustic and chunky but some prefer it smooth. You can bling this hummus up with a splash of pomegranate molasses if you have it and / or a sprinkling of sesame seeds.
Roasted beetroot and red onion salad with feta
Chop 2 large beets into bite-sized chunks and 2 large red onions into wedges. Roast until soft and set aside to cool. The onions won’t take as long as the beets. Layer a salad bowl with some mixed leaves (spinach, chard, rocket, watercress) and add the cooled beets and onions. Drizzle with vinaigrette (3 tablespoon balsamic, 1 tablespoon Dijon, 4 tablespoon olive oil ) and crumble some feta or goats cheese over to finish it off.
We absolutely love a good ‘slaw, the crunchier the better. It’s a really nice way to use raw beetroot if you prefer it to cooked. You need around ½ a small white cabbage shredded, 1 large carrot shredded, 1 large red onion cut into rounds (Tip: soak in some lemon or lime juice first to take the sharpness out of it) and 1 large beetroot shredded. Save yourself some pain and use a food processor for all the shredding!
This is Natasha Corrett’s recipe from ‘Honestly Healthy’ hence the more detailed instructions. 2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 red onion- chopped, 2 garlic cloves- chopped, 1 cup red rice, 600ml hot vegetable stock, 160g beetroot cut into chunks, 1 handful of parsley – chopped and 100g feta. Heat the olive oil in a wide-bottomed pan over a medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute to coat the rice in oil, then reduce the heat and stir in 2 large ladlefuls of stock.
Simmer, stirring gently, over a low heat until the rice has absorbed the stock, then continue adding the stock a ladleful at a time and stirring gently until it is absorbed before adding another ladleful. After 10 minutes of cooking, add the beetroot (beet) chunks. After 25 minutes, add most of the chopped parsley, then continue to add the stock until the rice is cooked but al dente – this will take 30–40 minutes. At the last minute, stir in most of the feta to make the risotto wonderfully creamy. Serve garnished with the remaining feta and chopped parsley.
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