Powerfood Chronicles #8: Beetroot (Beta vulgaris)

In season June–December, beetroot is a veg you can base a complete menu on, beyond borscht and pickles. Rich in folate, potassium, magnesium & iron, it has amazing antioxidant properties. Let’s nom!

Alchemy Lab: Beetroot Health Benefits

Beetroots are made of awesome. Just check it out – they contain:
Folate (20% of your suggested daily intake per 100 g!)
Manganese (14%)
/If you remember, manganese dusts and fumes are neurotoxic, but ironically this element is in the same time vital for a properly functioning metabolism. Life, eh?/
Potassium, Magnesium, Iron (6% each)
The colour comes from Betacyanin – a fantastic antioxidant. And nearly impossible to wash out of a stained garment.

Beetroot juice was found to lower blood pressure. [Source]

Like spinach, black tea, brassica, parsley, rhubarb, chards, and cacao, beetroots contain Oxalic Acid, known for inhibiting iron resorption.
So once again, a balanced diet is key.

Raw vs. Cooked

Raw beetroots are great for juicing and for making smoothies.
Small, sweet roots thinly sliced are a nice addition to a raw salad.
However, they taste the sweetest… cooked in the oven! While it’s become pretty commonplace to boil beetroots, baked in the oven is best.
It’s a pretty simple task, too. You have two options: for salads or soups (unless you need the ‘broth’ to proceed) you bake the beetroots without peeling them.beetroot-oven-howtoLet’s say 180°C and about one hour for one beetroot the size of a medium apple, depending on just how soft you want it.beetroot-herbs-ovenFor main dishes, I prefer to cut off the peel and to drizzle the beetroots with just a dash of oil and salt, then cover in dried parsley.

Beetroots have two major taste “angles”: earthy and sweet.
To tickle sweet, you need tart, sour, tangy notes – tomatoes, lemons, vinegar, mustard, onions, sour apples. The earthiness beams through when you pair beetroot with “bland” or sweet foods like chickpeas, potatoes, prunes and nuts…

Beetroot Drinks

The best recipe for both beetroot juice and beetroot smoothie is a classic: beetroot, carrots, apple, ginger, possibly lemon.

Three Beetroot Salads – Vegan & Pescetarian

My favourite beetroot salad is salade de betteraves à la moutarde à l’ancienne: a salad made of cooked beetroot (I use baked beetroot), finely chopped scallions and French mustard “à l’ancienne”. If you like pickled beetroot, this is one to try!beetroot-salad-a-lancienneYou’ll need baked or cooked beetroot (4, middle-size), 2 scallions, 2 TBSP of a very fine vinegar, 1 TBSP virgin oil (organic rapeseed, linseed oil or a very mild olive oil), 2 TBSP hot mustard, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. A no-brainer, utterly delicious, great on its own or as a fine side.

If you eat fish (like I sometimes do), salted herring, sour apple (thinly sliced), chopped onion and cooked/baked beetroots make for a very refreshing, summery dish.beetroot-salad-herringGo heavy on your favourite ingredient, in my case it would be apples and onions, and nice big chunks of beetroot! I also can never resist to top anything beetroot with a nice heap of freshly cut scallions! 😀

Sans image: grate baked/cooked beetroot and mix with walnuts and prunes for a very mild, sweet salad.
Top with a delicate virgin oil – walnut, roasted sesame.

Beetroot Soups – Not Borscht

I have been making so many beetroot (cream) soups recently that I’ve never written down any recipe.
I suppose I get obsessed by a beetroot-loving entity that guides my hands.beetroot-soupsAnd so I end up pimping up a tomato soup with chopped beetroot and a lot of balsamico, or make sweet and sour chickpea soup from what you’d consider borscht ingredients (to each family their own, but in my case: beetroot, tomato pulp, sauerkraut, vegan sour cream).
Find out if you prefer sweet/sour or earthy/sweet, and go from there.

Baked Beetroot

I love juicy foods, and while a vegan roast is often too much work for too crumbly an outcome (cashew and herbs roast sounds great, but it really is just mush in the end), a baked beetroot in a dress of herbs and salt, freshly sliced, gives an incredible, nearly caramelised and beautiful juice…beetroot-herbs-oven-readybeetroot-herbs-oven-serveMmmmh… It just calls for a little balsamico and pumpkin seed oil plus one helluva freshly ground white pepper, the one with a very animal, tangy bite. I also like to sprinkle nuts and seeds on top.
Try it, you won’t regret it!
Simply wash and peel the beetroot, sprinkle with oil all over and cover generously in dried parsley and just a little salt; bake at 180°C for about an hour or until buttery soft – I like to make it well in advance and let the beetroot sit in the oven as it cools down.

Beetroot Dessert

beetroot-muffinsThe original recipe for the White Chocolate Glazed Beetroot and Fig Bars is from Poppy/ Bunny Kitchen, but I have made tiny muffins instead of bars, used a gluten-free flour blend, and topped the cooled down muffins with vegan sour cream and fresh blueberries that are in season and plentiful.



Geeking out about all things truly green, healthy and ethical over at BEAUTYCALYPSE.com (Avatar illustration by A. Goncharenko)

15 Responses

  1. I used to loathe beetroot – still can’t stand pickled or in vinegar – but discovering fresh was a revelation. I use it in everything – cakes, drinks, pancakes, salad, curry, vegan biryani, burgers, even ice-cream.

              1. I was going to dedicate a blog to my passion for produce at one point then just settled for tumblr (fruitspotter). On that note I’m now off to local farmer’s market to drool. Have a lovely Saturday.

  2. Abby's Kitchen

    I’ve never baked beets. Sounds good! I’ve boiled them, juiced them, had them raw in a salad, and even made Poppy’s dessert with them, never baked though! That I have to try. Thanks! 😀

      1. Abby's Kitchen

        I’m not sure I did! Let me go back & check. I sure would love to make it gluten free this time! I’ll get back to you. Thanks gorgeous! 😉

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