There's a certain feeling you get inside after creating a meal with some precious gems found at a farmers market. Be it heart-warming, comforting, or perhaps even feeling a tinge of mindfulness, knowing that what you have on your plate in front of you came from the hard work of a local farmer, everything just seems to taste a little bit better.
With beets being in season, I took the opportunity to scrounge some up at the Dupont Circle market (post to come later!) this past weekend to make a beet-inspired dish from scratch. I won't lie to you-- I'm definitely one of those chicks that typically only eats beets if they are already boiled, peeled, and marinated for me (yes I'm lazy sometimes). Bonus points if they come grated and marinated in tahini a la Glenn's Market. That being said, buying these beets with stems and greens attached was going to be interesting!
Nevertheless, I found it actually quite surprising how easy it was to prepare them the way I'd intended. As for taste? AMAZING! Now let's get into why its so worth making this yummy salad.
NOTE: You can easily make this salad vegan by removing the goat cheese!
Health Benefits of Beets
1. Ward off Cancer Cells. Beets contain a phytonutrient called betalain (which is what gives them their deep crimson red color). In essence, phytonutrients have been shown to help fight against cancer, as they contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxification support!
2. May Help Lower Blood Pressure. One study found that drinking 1 glass of beet root juice lowered systolic blood pressure by 4-5 points.
3. Nutrient Dense. Beets contain an excellent source of Vitamin C, which can help fight off colds. They also contain manganese (good for the bones and skin integrity), as well as potassium (good for nerve and muscle functioning), and fiber (gut health).
4. Perhaps the most important part of a beet is actually its greens at the end! Beet greens contain protein, phosphorus, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, potassium, Vitamin A, calcium, and iron. WHEW! Sauté those suckers up with some garlic and olive oil for a good nutrient boost.
And now for the salad.
Beet, Chia& Goat Cheese Salad
Ingredients (makes 1 serving)
1 beet, boiled and peeled
1-1.5 C. raw arugula + baby kale, preferably organic
1/4 C. organic goat cheese (I used one from Whole Foods)
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 C. chopped walnuts
2 tsp scallion, chopped
For the dressing:
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt + pepper, to taste
1/4 C. olive oil
1/2 tsp. raw honey
1. Prepare the beets. Note: I bought about 4-5 beets from the market. You can prepare them ahead of time and store in the fridge. You'll only need one for this recipe. Remove stems from the leaves. Wash leaves and set aside for later use. Place beets in boiling water and leave on stove until tender, about 40-45 minutes. Drain the beets, and let them cool for 5-10 minutes. Once cool, run the beets under cold water, and rub them with your hands to remove the skin. Trust me, it falls right off, and with the water running your hands won't turn red!
2. Wash and prep the arugula and kale. Arrange on your plate, then slice up the beets and place on top. Sprinkle goat cheese, scallion, walnuts, and chia seeds onto salad.
3. In a separate bowl, pour vinegar, honey, salt + pepper into bowl. Whisk together, then gradually add in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad, and voila!
*Added Health Benefits: Chia seeds for that superfood boost, and goat cheese for more easily digested dairy + protein.