I absolutely adore beets.   I am thrilled that restaurant chefs and home cooks are embracing the full gamut of what beets offer: versatility, vibrant color, and delicious flavor and smooth texture.   From roasted beets in salads to boiled beets chopped into a vegetable ceviche to thinly sliced beet carpaccio, these naturally-sweet root veggies  not only taste great, but are good for you!  Like all vegetables – and fruits, beets contain antioxidants in their marvelous color or plant pigment. The lush red, purple beets contain antioxidant compounds called betacyanins, which are loaded with cancer-preventive properties and may act as anti-fungal agents.  Thus, beets can help keep your cells healthy and in good working order.   

The one that wins the beet beauty pageant for me is the Chioggia beet – it’s the pink and white striped Italian-grown heirloom variety.  It’s unique appearance makes is an outstanding garnish on a mixed green salad; ribboned over pasta or diced into tofu, chicken or egg salad.   For less than 50 calories and almost 3 grams of fiber in 1/2 cup, beets are a good waistline watching food.

One of the most unique ways that I’ve seen beets used recently was in a recipe for Red Velvet Lasagna by Judy Doherty, chef and publisher of the newsletter, Communicating Food For Health.  By blending red beets with ricotta cheese, this recipes gets a smooth, velvety red (hence its name) texture and look – not too mention tons of healthful and healing benefits!  For the complete recipe, take a look at the July issue at  http://communicatingfoodforhealth.com

So, try some beets this week and let me know what you think.  I’d love to know…