Beets – Love Them Or Hate Them?

For the majority of my life, I associated beets as the giggly mass with ringed lines that only appeared once a year on the Thanksgiving table. And the taste of the gelatinous red form wasn’t appealing – sweetness doesn’t always equate to palatability.

As I evolved as a home cook, I felt compelled to explore foods that challenged me. Ahem, beets. I’ve tried incorporating the root vegetable in many meals over the years learning the flavor of fresh-cooked beets is quite good. In contrast to their canned counterpart, fresh beets offer a subtle sweetness, and their tanginess and earthy origin is unmistakable.

At this point, I was no longer a beet-hater. However, there’s the issue of mess. Cooked and boiled beets release a natural staining dye, making them a whole thing. So I tended to steer clear.

There are certain foods that are worth purchasing in their pre-prepared state, and beets rank at the top of that list for me. Nowadays, I opt for pickled beets. Whenever I’m on the mainland, at Whole Foods or specialty markets, I look for the fanciest brands. The pickled variety tends to have more acidity and that tanginess is just perfect for salads.

Beets are highly nutritious, and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like folate, potassium, vitamin C, and betalains, which have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. They are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a healthy choice for supporting digestive health.

Lastly, I need to mention that beets are sexy.  They know how to turn up the heat in the kitchen with their seductive crimson hue. Beets bleed the color of love and passion! Their texture can be rough or sultry to the tongue. And the many health benefits mentioned above, no doubt contribute to improving blood flow and stamina (Yup, I said it).

Consider adding a side of beets to your romantic at-home dinner this weekend or for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday. Watch the romance root with this simple, seductive salad.

Sexy Beet Salad

(Serves two lovers or haters)

1 bunch fresh spinach
4-6 whole, pickled beets
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Romano cheese
High quality EVOO
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

Directions: Combine the ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, and salt. Plate the spinach, then neatly center the ricotta mixture and top with beets. You may keep the beets whole or slice them in half. Carefully drizzle on some beet juice and then the extra virgin olive oil. Generously top with fresh ground pepper and a hint more of salt. Prepare just before serving for the best presentation.

beet salad

You can’t deny the beauty and charm of this dish. Deep reds to sweet soft pinks flow over a rich land of lovely green.

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