Healthy Beet Salad
By Edie Horstman, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Beets. You either embrace their earthiness, or you consider them a mystery food, right? From a young age, I’ve always been the former. I love their texture (both raw and cooked) as well as their taste. However, because beets aren’t as popular as other members of the beetroot family — like spinach and Swiss chard — they’re not always sought-after. The beauty of beets, though, is that they can be eaten in all forms: raw, steamed, roasted, juiced, etc. This root veggie can be the focal point of a recipe or tossed in as an afterthought. They’re wonderfully versatile. I recently made my family this raw beet salad with Green Foods Beet Essence for dinner. Surprisingly, they couldn’t get enough. I’m now convinced we’re an entire family of beet believers.
Beets as a Superfood
Bets r truly one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on this planet. Their deep color comes from phytochemical compounds, giving them potent anti-inflammatory properties. They’ve been known to lower blood pressure, improve digestion, boost athletic performance, and possibly prevent chronic illness. These benefits can be attributed to their vitamins and minerals, which pack a powerful nutritional punch. Furthermore, beetroot powder (dried, condensed beetroot) is rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, calcium, folate, and more. Specifically, the nitrates in beets can improve blood flow, yielding lowered blood pressure and other notable health benefits.
One of the most fascinating facts about beetroot is when and why it was first cultivated. Approximately 4,000 years ago, they were harvested and grown in the Mediterranean region of the world for use as an aphrodisiac. Plus, they’re a substantial source of sucrose (sugar), meaning they’re a viable replacement for standard sugar cane. Keep in mind that their sweet undertones can often be associated with a rather robust earthiness, deepening the complexity of the humble beet. While they are seasonal, you can typically find beets in the grocery store year-round. Depending on where you live, beets may also make their appearance at your local farmers market.
To assemble this recipe, I used Green Foods Beet Essence as the focal point. This powder condenses all of the nutritional advantages of beets into a delicious, effective and convenient powder. It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient too. Using butter lettuce as the base, I piled on spiralized, raw beets (I used this spiralizer), creamy goat cheese, protein-packed pistachios, fiber-rich hemp seeds and fresh chives. I jazzed up the tahini dressing with beet essence — giving it a subtle pink hue and a delightful sweetness.
The Power of Tahini
Speaking of tahini, there are two types of tahini on the market: hulled and unhulled. I typically aim for unhulled tahini. It is made from the whole sesame seed, leaving its nutritional value intact. Tahini, much like beets, is rich in a variety of minerals, like potassium and iron. It’s an incredible source of calcium and healthy, unsaturated fats. With this tahini-based dressing, the textures and colors of this salad come together beautifully. Impress your guests with this nutritious, easy-to-make salad. Maybe, you’ll foster a few new beet believers, too.
HEALTHY BEET SALAD
Start to finish: 20 minutes
4 cups butter lettuce
2 cups raw beets, spiraled
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons pistachios, shelled
2 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
Tahini-Beet Salad Dressing:
2 tablespoons unhulled tahini
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon lemon
1 teaspoon Green Foods Beet Essence
1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a large salad bowl, combine washed and chopped butter lettuce, spiralized beets, hemp seeds, shelled pistachios, crumbled goat cheese, and chopped chives. Toss until well-mixed.
- In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk until desired consistency is reached. For a thinner dressing, use more water. For a more colorful hue, add more beet essence.
- Pour the dressing on top of the salad. Mix until all salad components are evenly coated.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition information per serving (salad without dressing): 334 calories; 260.52 calories from fat (22 percent of total calories); 17.1 g fat (4.4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 216 mg sodium; 28.6 g carbohydrate; 5.5 g fiber; 16.2 g sugar; 19.5 g protein.
Nutrition information per serving (salad dressing): 109 calories; 98.1 calories from fat (10 percent of total calories); 8.1 g fat (1.2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 331 mg sodium; 7.9 g carbohydrate; 1.8 g fiber; 3.1 g sugar; 2.3 g protein.
Edie Horstman is a Colorado-based health coach, recipe developer, and breakfast enthusiast.