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Just Beet it.


Happy Halloween! Since I already did the candy thing and the caramel apple thing, I decided to feature one of the truly most Halloween-ish foods out there: beets! (Slice a beet, get the knife and your hands all red-stained and you will get the picture.)

So, in honor of October, Halloween and all things spooky, today's post is a tribute to beets. Two recipes for you today + I have a quick Beets 101 to help inspire you to want to serve up this dark and moody vegetable. I get it. I wasn't always a beet lover at all. But once I learned how to use beets in a variety of ways, I learned to love them. My fave beet recipes: raw shredded on salads, juiced raw, roasted beets, beet chips and now beet dip!

BONUS: Beets are quite a HEALTHY food guys! (details ahead)

Two Beet Recipes. First up, recipe #1 is an easy recipe for turning rock-hard, raw beets into sweet, tender, seasoned perfection: my Maple Pepper Beets. Then recipe #2 is a sweet beet dip: Beet Walnut Pate. It is a savory-sweet dip that is a perky beet pink and delicious served with veggie sticks, crackers, chips or spread over top toast. Grab some beets are lets get our hands all pink and messy!..

Sweet PINK Beet Dip served on black pepper Pop Chips (easy) - loved this stuff..


BEETS! Learn to love these deep red gems..


Maple Pepper Sauteed Beets..




Beet 101.

If you have never used beets in your recipes, you are not alone! Beets are quite scary looking all dark purple-skinned, rough and almost dirty-looking, with long sinister stems attached. These dark root veggies look a bit intimidating at first glance. But beets are actually quite easy and fun to work with. They produce a brilliant deep red color and their flavor is sweet and light. You can enjoy beets raw, roasted, boiled or steamed. You can also finish your beets by sauteing them, as I do in recipe #1 below.

Beets are a very smart veggie to add to your menu simply because they are so darn healthy. That deep red color will remind you that beets are good for your heart.

Beets are rich in betaine and betalain which makes them good for your heart, liver, mood and more. Beets may even help lower your blood pressure. They are also anti-inflammatory and have even been associated with lowering your risk of certain cancers. Beets are also fat free and rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and folate. sources: WHFoods Beets + Cancer.

DrWeil also reminds us that, "Beets are a colorful source of anthocyanins, the purple pigments also found in blueberries, red grapes and red cabbage. They are powerful antioxidants and may help protect against cancer and heart disease."

RECIPE 1: Maple Pepper Beats
vegan, makes about 2 cups beets

2 large beets, peeled + sliced into chunks (any size you'd like)
enough water to cover beets
pinch of salt

saute:
1 tsp vegetable oil (any variety)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
dash of cayenne
1 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (to finish)
optional: chopped red onion, parsley, garlic and/or shallots

Directions:

1. Cut off the rough top and bottom of each beet, then peel off the rough exterior layer with a vegetable peeler - the same way you would with a potato.
2. Slice your beets. You can slice into large rounds, small cubes or rough medium-sized quarters.
3. In a small sauce pan or deep saute pan, add your beets and enough water to cover them. Add a few pinches of salt. Bring this mixture to a boil, cover, and boil until the beets are tender. This will usually take a good 20 minutes, depending on how large your pieces are. Smaller pieces will cook faster.
4. Once beets are tender, drain water and transfer to a saute pan with saute ingredients (do not add maple syrup or apple cider vinegar yet.)
5. Saute beets on high until the edges begin to caramelize a bit.
6. Add in the maple syrup. Let it sizzle. Then turn off heat.
7. With beets still in pan, add the apple cider vinegar. This will sizzle a lot, but also make the color of the beets POP!
8. Transfer to serving dish and serve warm or chill in the fridge until ready to use.

NOTES:

* If you saute the beets with onions and then chill them in the fridge you will
get a sort of sweet pickled flavor which is lovely for adding to salads.

* You can also skip the boiling/saute process and simply roast your beets! Toss them in the saute ingredients and crank the oven up to 400 degrees. Roast until tender and caramelized. Delicious!



RECIPE 2: Beet Walnut Pate / Dip
vegan, makes about 2 cups - 8 1/4 cup servings - nutrition info below!!

1 cup raw walnuts
3/4 cup cooked white beans, rinsed/drained (I used organic canned cannellini beans)
1/2 cup raw beets, chopped or shredded
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon or orange juice)
1/2 tsp salt - or to taste!
1/4 tsp black pepper
a few dashes cayenne
2 Tbsp dried cranberries or dates (optional, but I loved the extra sweet hint these added!)

add an orange accent: 1-2 Tbsp orange juice + zest

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth. The orange juice and cranberries are optional for a sweet perky accent. I You may need to add a few splashes of liquid (either juice, non-dairy milk or water) if your blender is a bit weak. Chill in the fridge before serving.

RAW option: You can make this a raw dip simply by subbing in raw agave syrup for the maple syrup and adding in either more walnuts or soaked cashews in place of the beans. This pate will chill to be a bit firmer in texture.

Tasting Notes: This dip does have a unique taste. It is pink, looks different and you don't really know what to expect when you taste it! But think of it as a pink walnut dip with an accent of healthy beans to smooth out the texture. It has a sweet flavor when you add those tender dried cranberries. And sweet meets savory. I like this dip best when paired with salty crackers or toasted bread with a hint of salt. If you do not want it too sweet, leave out the dried cranberries and maple syrup - taste test - and adjust to taste as desired. I served this dip chilled, but it may even be yummy warmed or baked in the oven.. like walnut pate.

Nutrition Info per serving (8 servings per recipe):
Calories: 138kcal, Fat: 10g, Protein: 4g, Fiber: 3g, Carbs: 10g
rich in healthy fats + omega-3 fatty acids from the walnuts!




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