by Anouk Booneman
Beets have become a popular vegetable for endurance athletes. They are low in calories and a great source of nutrients, including fiber, folate and vitamin C. Beets also contain nitrates and pigments that may help lower blood pressure and improve athletic performance. In addition, they are delicious, and versatile. Readily available in the fall at your local supermarket, farmers market or farm, fall beets are larger than spring beets and perfect for roasting. It’s easy to roast a bunch at the beginning of the week, and keep them in the fridge to toss in salads during the week. Beets can be pickled, boiled, steamed, juiced or grated raw into a salad. They will keep well in your fridge. They need some humidity so wrap them tightly in plastic and keep them in your crisper drawer. The following recipe combines a delicious roasted beet salad with a pomegranate molasses dressing. You can make your own pomegranate molasses at home by reducing pomegranate juice (either home-made or bottled) until you have a consistency like honey. Add sugar to your taste; however, if your juice is already sweetened, you do not need to add sugar. I purchase my pomegranate molasses. Any middle eastern market should carry or check online if you can’t find it at your regular supermarket. The tart molasses works really well in conjunction with the sweetness of the roasted beets. The following recipe uses fresh pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate seeds offer a dramatic contrast to the sweet and soft beets. If you have nasturtium flowers in your garden use them as well for even more dramatic effect.
Roasted Beet Salad with Pomegranate Molasses
2 large beets
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 TBSP Pomegranate molasses
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
Pinch of chili flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 cup pomegranate seeds
3 TBSP extra virgin oil
Preheat oven to 400. Arrange beets in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender or about one hour.
Cool and peel. Cut into diced pieces.
Add pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and chili flakes. Marinate for at least 15 minutes. Toss beets with cilantro and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with extra olive oil if wanted.
This recipe was adapted from one in Hollyhock: From Garden to Table cookbook.
Anouk Booneman is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and specializes in plant based food. She and Danielle Maslowsky offer Spring Into Health workshops where she and Danielle Maslowsky teach plant based cooking. She also will provide private lessons.