Summer isn't even here yet and this dish is already a favorite summer time side. Ive made it for a few birthday parties, a shower, every week at my house, and for my cooking clients. Most people still think of beets as the canned, funky, gross vegetable their parents made them eat along with canned peas and potatoes from a box. Well, this is not your typical canned beet dish being forced upon your dinner plate. The sweet, earthy flavor of beets along with crunchy pistachios, smooth goat cheese & fresh parsley will have your taste buds doing a double take as you head back for more.
Beets are an ancient, prehistoric food that grew naturally along coastlines in North Africa, Asia, and Europe. Originally, it was the beet greens that were consumed; the sweet red beet root that most people think of as a "beet" today wasn't cultivated until the era of ancient Rome. I highly recommend saving your beet greens and sautéing them lightly in butter & garlic. Absolutely amazing as a side or with eggs for breakfast.
Not only do beets taste amazing, they are super packed with nutrition.
1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure in a matter of hours. One study found that drinking one glass of beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 4-5 points.
The benefit likely comes from the naturally occurring nitrates in beets, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
2. Boost Your Stamina
If you need a boost to make it through your next workout, beet juice may again prove valuable. Those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
3. Fight Inflammation
Beets are a unique source of betaine, a nutrient that helps protects cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress. It's also known to help fight inflammation, protect internal organs, improve vascular risk factors, enhance performance, and likely help prevent numerous chronic diseases.
4. Anti-Cancer Properties
The powerful phytonutrients that give beets their deep crimson color may help to ward off cancer. Research has shown that beetroot extract reduced multi-organ tumor formations in various animal models when administered in drinking water, for instance, while beetroot extract is also being studied for use in treating human pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers.
5. Rich in Valuable Nutrients and Fiber
Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beets also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.
6. Detoxification Support
The betalin pigments in beets support your body's Phase 2 detoxification process, which is when broken down toxins are bound to other molecules so they can be excreted from your body. Traditionally, beets are valued for their support in detoxification and helping to purify your blood and your liver.
- 3 Large organic beets, or 4 smaller beets
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
- 4 oz goat cheese
- Handfull of fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 Tbl olive oil
- 1 Tbl red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- Sea Salt & Pepper
If your beets came with beet greens, cut them off and save them to sauté in some butter and garlic. Very similar to spinach.
Heat the oven to 350. Slice off a nice clean layer on the top and bottom of each beet and rinse with water. Wrap each beet in tinfoil and place in a baking dish. Or place beets in a baking dish without tinfoil if you have a secure lid for it. The beets cook quicker if you use tin foil. Bake for 1 hour or until they are tender and a knife can easily be inserted. If they are very large this may take 1 & 1/2 hours.
While beets are cooking, chop pistachios and parsley. When beets have cooled a little, peel off their outer skin. They should just slide right off. This will make your hands very red but it washes off well. Slice beets into bite sized pieces. If they are still very warm you may want to let the beets cool down in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once chilled, top beets with pistachios, goat cheese, parsley, olive oil, vinegar, and a little salt & pepper.
The Idea for this recipe came from Food Network Magazine