Just beet it

Several days ago my new friend Ibti invited me over for dinner to talk about the upcoming Farmers Market Season at Columbia Heights. I am going to be helping out with Nutrition outreach by conducting food demos and giving out recipes and other nutrition information. YAY!!  The Columbia Heights market opens up on Saturday May 12th, come visit if you are in the area!!

Ibti made a delicious Beet Risotto and goat cheese recipe that I had to re-create, especially since I had some beets from my CSA to use.

The greens that I used were arugula and tasted great with the goat cheese and risotto which is hidden underneath :-)

So let’s talk beets. Beets are a root vegetable that contain a large amount of the betalain pigment. Betalin is responsible for it’s amazing red color and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Due to their anti-inflammatory effects they are thought to help with several types of heart disease such as atherosclerosis. Other health benefits of beets include

  •  Decrease the risk of cancer, especially colon due to it’s fiber content
  • Decrease the risk of strokes due to their potassium content
  • Decreases the risk for birth defects due to their high folate content
  • Helps prevent cataracts due to antioxidants

They are a good source of folate (excellent in raw), vitamin C, calcium, manganese, iron and phosphorus. Note* excellent means greater than 20% of the RDA and good means 10 – 19% of the RDA

The pigment in beets are very heat sensitive. So the more the beets are cooked, the greater more betalain is lost. It is recommended to steam beats no longer than 15 minutes, and roast them no more than an hour. I may have lost a bit more than wanted because I added a bit too much stock and had to leave it on the stove longer than anticipated.

Just looking at beets, they ain’t so pretty. However, once you peel and chop them you can see the amazing and beautiful red pigment that are inside.


Watch out white shirts (and white dogs)!