Beets don’t have the best reputation because many people say
they taste like “earth” …so basically dirt. But they are gorgeous and in my
opinion have the potential to be delicious with the right preparation. Raw
beets have a crunchy texture that turns soft and buttery when they are cooked
and their greens are similar in taste and texture to Swiss chard.
My husband is obsessed with beets, it would be completely
normal to see him in the kitchen slicing up raw beets and topping them off with
peanut butter for a snack! My sister (as a treat) brought over her juicer for
the holidays and made my husband some beet juice to go with his Christmas
morning breakfast. A big reason for his beet obsession involves his love for
cycling. Beets and beet juice supplements are very popular with athletes who
take part in high intensity endurance exercise. The nitrates found in beets
appear to increase the efficacy of mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of our
cells. They may improve performance by decreasing the amount of oxygen needed
during exercise, increasing flow of blood to muscles and extending exercise
time before reaching exhaustion.
Fun fact: Did you know beets may turn your urine pink? Yep,
it even has a name “beeturia” and it is from beets’ betalain antioxidant
pigments. It doesn’t happen with everyone, it is more common in individuals
with low iron levels. It has been noted in approximately 10 to 14 percent of
healthy individuals following ingestion of beets and in as much as 49 to 80
percent of individuals with iron deficiency.
The recipe below is a typical hummus recipe using garbanzo beans, also known as
chickpeas, which are legumes rich in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps
fill us up and supports a healthy digestive tract. Garbanzo beans are starchy
and buttery in texture like cooked beets and they mix well together to make a
flavorful dip. The lemon, garlic, and tahini provide most of the flavor in this
dip, tahini is a sesame seed paste composed of mainly unsaturated fats which
benefit your heart and provide long lasting energy. If you wanted to get fancy
with your hummus but wanted to start with something more simple, try buying
pre-made hummus and blending in a peeled and roasted beet.
1 can reduced sodium garbanzo beans
1/2 large cooked beet, peeled
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup tahini
2 lemons worth of lemon juice (1/2 cup)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut a beet into chunks, wrap the chunks in foil, and bake in
a dish for an hour or until a knife easily cuts through it. Remove the rough
outer layer of the beet after the beets are baked. In a food processor: combine
the chickpeas, beets, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Puree until smooth.
This recipe takes hummus to another level, the bright pink
color compliments a colorful plate of raw veggies very nicely!
Kelsie Knerr, RD, LD
Boone Diabetes and Weight Management