In Season: Beets

By Cheryl Meyers

Beets Once associated only with bland Eastern European–style cuisine, beets have become a darling of the culinary world. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a fine-dining restaurant that doesn’t offer a beet salad—and for good reason: The brightly colored, sweetly flavored root vegetable delivers a powerful punch of folic acid, manganese, potassium, and iron. Which is why eating beets can help treat anemia, inflammation, circulation, and even kidney stones. You can eat beet greens, too, which taste similar to chard and offer even more nutritional value than the beet’s root, with high levels of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

ROASTED BEET, WALNUT, AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
Slice whole beets (trimmed, scrubbed, unpeeled) into ½-inch pieces. In a bowl, toss lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on baking sheet, and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, or until tender. While beets cook, prepare candied walnuts: In a pan, over medium-high heat, coat walnuts with cane sugar until melted. Serve warm beets and walnuts over arugula with goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

BEET SOUP (BORSCHT)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add 2 cups chopped beets, 1 cup chopped carrots, and ½ cup chopped onion; stir for about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar, and 1 cup shredded green cabbage, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

PICKLED BEETS WITH YOGURT AND TOASTED ALMONDS
Top 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with ¼ cup pickled beets, chopped. Garnish with toasted almond slivers. For detailed pickling recipes, see The Art of Preserving (Weldon Owen, 2010) or Joy of Cooking (Scribner, 2006). To toast almond slivers, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add slivers and stir constantly until fragrant and golden brown.