In Season: Beets

The beet, part of the Chenopodiaceae family, shows a number of health benefits not available in other food families. Betalains are the phytonutrients that give beets their distinctive red color—they provide beet eaters with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. While beets have a hard crunchy, rough-looking exterior, once cooked they become soft and buttery. A typical beet will have a reddish-purple hue, but may also be white or golden/yellow, or have rainbow-colored roots. The growing season runs from June to September.

>>Roasted Beets and Arugula

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim two pounds beets and combine with a handful of fresh thyme, four cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, 1/4 cup vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and roast for one hour. Peel and cube beets. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, two tablespoons red wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest. Add two chopped bunches of arugula, and sprinkle one cup grated fresh Parmesan (optional). Source: almanac.com

>>Roasted Beets with Onion, Walnuts, and Dill

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place 3/4 pound beets (peeled and cut into eighths) and one medium red onion that has been cut into one-inch pieces on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with two tablespoons olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes or until the edges begin to brown, stirring once halfway through. Toss the beets and onion in a large bowl with 1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts; two teaspoons chopped fresh dill; one teaspoon champagne vinegar; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Serve immediately. Recipe courtesy of Fast and Simple Gluten-Free by Gretchen F. Brown, RD.

>>Chilled Creamy Beet Soup

Heat oven to 375 degrees and trim four medium beets, removing the stems and root. Wrap individually in tin foil and roast for one hour. After, rub off beet skins and chop coarsely. Place beets, one chopped avocado, one juiced lime, two cups water, three tablespoons hemp seed, one tablespoon ground coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Place soup in refrigerator, and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes. To serve, mix the soup well and pour into serving bowls with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and black pepper. Recipe courtesy of Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris.