Recipes for Beauty: Beets


With their sweet taste and crimson color, it’s no wonder so many people think of beets as “nature’s candy.” But these root vegetables are more than just a sweet treat. In addition to being linked to heart health and cancer-fighting abilities, beets have myriad skin benefits! Their high vitamin C content helps boost collagen production, and collagen firms skin and reduces wrinkles. Folic acid (also known as folate, folacin, and vitamin B9) plays a part in healthy skin and helps hair grow, and high levels of antioxidants like betalain (the substance that gives beets their deep red hue) help protect skin against damage by free radicals, which can cause premature aging.

While beets sometimes get a bad rap—think the mushy canned variety you find on salad bars—fresh beets have a sweet, slightly earthy flavor and creamy texture that make them delicious on their own or as a nice addition to salads, soups, and main courses. Here are three easy recipes to help you incorporate these skin-loving veggies into your diet.

Back to Basics: Roasted Beets

• 6 beets
• 4 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
• Olive oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice off beet leaves, leaving about 1-inch of the stem. Thoroughly wash beets and wrap them loosely in aluminum foil (note: smaller beets can be wrapped together, but larger beets should be wrapped individually). Roast in the oven for 50–60 minutes or until beets are tender, checking every 20 minutes to prevent scorching. Remove from oven and let cool. When beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skin with your hands or use a paper towel to rub the skin off (the skin should peel away easily). For an easy side dish, slice and top with olive oil and crumbled goat cheese. Serves 4

Superfoods Salad: Spinach and Roasted Beets Salad

For the salad:
10-ounce bag of baby spinach or other baby greens
1/3 cup of walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
6 roasted beets, quartered
2 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper

Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, and honey, and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss spinach with dressing in a large bowl. Add walnuts and cranberries on top. Divide salad onto four plates and top with beets and crumbled goat cheese. Serves 4

Simple Soup: Borscht

1 lb. beets, peeled and shredded
2–3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
5 cups beef or vegetable stock
1/2 lb. green cabbage, shredded
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
Sour cream and chopped chives (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add beets, carrots, and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the stock and cabbage, bring to a boil, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Squeeze in lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and chopped chives. Serves 6–8

Photo: Diana Kehoe Photography / FLICKR