Beets contain powerful health-promoting agents that deserve a regular place on your plate. Their rich source of antioxidant compounds provides potent anti-inflammatory effects. Because of their vascular protective effect, beets are increasingly popular as a nutritional approach to help manage cardiovascular disease.  The nitrates found in beets have a positive effect on blood vessels by increasing nitric oxide, a gas that increases blood flow. Beets also help the body detoxify. What’s not to love about beets?

Reference: Clifford, T, Howatson, G, West, DJ, Stevenson, E.J. (2015). The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients.14; 7(4):2801-22. DOI: 10.3390/nu7042801

Moroccan-Style Beet Salad

Perhaps you’ve never tried raw beets before. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the mildly sweet flavor that bears no resemblance to the taste of dirt. This salad has turned self-proclaimed beet haters into beet-eaters. It tastes even better the next day.3 medium carrots (about 8 ounces)

1 medium beet (about 8 ounces)

3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup minced chives or 2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
4 cups baby greens or chopped romaine
Trim and peel carrots and beet. Shred with a food processor or grater.

Stir the orange juice, lemon juice, oil, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add shredded vegetables. Stir to mix well. If time allows, allow to stand at least 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Stir before serving. Serve over a bed of baby greens or chopped romaine lettuce. Keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Makes 5-6 (½ -cup servings).
Omit mint. Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin.
Add 1 shredded apple.
Add 1 orange, peeled and cut into segments.
Add orange or lemon zest.
Add 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger.
Add sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
Substitute cilantro for the mint.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add finely chopped beet greens.
Substitute golden beets.
Substitute additional beets for the carrots.
Substitute roasted beets for the fresh beets.
Use a spiralizer instead of a grater for the carrots and beets. Cut into 2½-inch lengths.