BeetrootHave you ever spotted beets in the grocery store and scratched your head about what to do with it? Prior to growing it in my garden, I also had no idea. I didn’t even know what it tasted like. After all, beets were not exactly a staple in my diet growing up as a Filipino kid.  Little did I know that this root crop would satisfy my sweet tooth. It also has an earthy aroma and flavor [1] that I just love. Even more, it contains bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical effects. Beetroot benefits for cardiovascular health are well recognized, but it also has a lot of potential for other diseases. It consists of powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatories that can even help with brain health [2]. Click on this link or scroll down below to try my beetroot salad recipe. Enjoy!

From Garden to Table

BeetrootMy garden gets a lot of shade, hence some plants including beets thrive. This is great news for urban gardeners since sunshine can be limited in concrete jungles such as Los Angeles. In my neighborhood, houses are so close together that my backyard is overshadowed by my neighbors’ houses. So, if you are in a similar situation, I recommend growing beets. In addition to its nutritious bulbous root, the greens are also edible, and they are both great in salads.

Beet Background

Beets, also known scientifically as Beta vulgaris is an ancient root crop from the Mediterranean basin. It has been cultivated since 1000 B.C. for food and medicinal purposes. The Romans used beet greens as food, and the roots for medicinal purposes. In the 19th century, it became commercially available across Europe following the introduction of sugar beets [3]. Today this plant is grown worldwide as food, and scientific studies consider it  a functional food due to its potential in the prevention or treatment of various diseases [2]. Check my blog on how to grow beets if you’re interested in adding this edible crop to your garden.

Beetroot Phytochemistry

Beetroot is considered a functional food since it contains various nutrients and compounds beneficial for the body. It is a great source of inorganic nitrate which is reduced to nitrate oxide. Nitrate oxidate has very important vascular and metabolic function in the human body. For this reason, beetroot has been used as a supplement to improve exercise performance [9]. It’s also a great food for those who have hypertension. In fact, studies indicate that beetroot can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Even more, beetroot’s nitrate oxide has shown potential in treating brain disorders that develop from reduced cerebral blood flow such as clinical dementia and Alzheimer’s disease [2].beetroot

Furthermore, it contains ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. Red beetroot is a rich source of betalain compounds, a type of pigment that has high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities [2]. As an anti-inflammatory, it can decrease chronic inflammation in arthritis, diabetes, as well as liver disorders [2].

Beetroot Benefits

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Helps with various disorders and diseases including:
    • hypertension
    • atherosclerosis (plaque build-up)
    • type 2 diabetes
    • arthritis
    • dementia
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • liver disease

If you are interested in reading more about the health benefits of beetroots, check these additional resources: [2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

Beetroot Uses

Beet’s bulbous root is a common culinary and medicinal ingredient. In food preparation, it is consumed either raw, cooked, or pressed as juice. It is a hearty addition to a salad, and it can even be made into bread.  Furthermore, its red-violet pigment is utilized as food coloring. In medicinal practice, it is formulated into dietary supplements due to its high antioxidant and nitrate content [2].

Beetroot Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 3 medium sized beetroots (boiled, peeled, and cubed)
  • 5 quarts beet greens, arugula, carrot greens (or any greens you want)
  • 2 cups strawberries and blackberries (or any fruit you want)
  • 1 cup walnuts (or any nuts)
  • ½ cup goat cheese

Mandarine orange vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed mandarin orange
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Chef’s note: Mix all ingredients in a mason jar, shake, use and set aside. Two tablespoons of this concoction are plenty for 1 serving of salad.

Instructions:

Salad assembly

  1. Grab a handful of greens and place in a big plate or bowl
  2. Add a handful of chopped strawberries, whole blackberries, and walnuts
  3. Sprinkle a tablespoon (or more) of goat cheese
  4. Dress your salad with 2 tablespoons (or more) of the mandarin orange vinaigrette

Chef’s note: The ingredients for this recipe is good for 3-5 people. However, if you noticed, the instructions are for a single serving. This is done on purpose because I enjoy plating too much to mix everything up in a large bowl. I also like to give people a chance to create their own unique portions of salad mix depending on their taste. If you’re craving something sweet, add more beets. If you want something savory, add more goat cheese. Enjoy!