Beet Salad

Beets are a welcome sight in the farmer’s market during the long winter months. They certainly add a splash of color to the endless tones of greens. Beets, despite being simply delicious, are very good for your health, particularly in women. There is a widely held misconception that calcium is best obtained from dairy products and the mostly awful, chalk-like substances bottled as calcium supplements. Sorry to tell you, but the most effective way to absorb more calcium into your body is through vegetable consumption. You might as well stop paying out the nose for expensive calcium supplements and start including more vegetables, such as cabbage, dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens), carrots, broccoli, and yes, beets. And don’t throw the stems away before you cook them! They are delicious and packed with calcium, too.

There are quite a number of ways to prepare beets, but this recipe is how I usually end up preparing them for dinner. Beets, although a little messy in preparation, are simply divine. I love tasting their deep, earthiness in every bite. They just make you feel good while you’re eating them! Thank god for bleach, because usually once my children are done with dinner, my white table cloth could use some love…..

Separate the beets from their stalks and leaves, reserving leaves for later use.

1 bunch beets; rinsed, trimmed, and halved

2 Tbl. butter

1 clove garlic; pressed through garlic press, or smashed and finely diced

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 c. olive oil

splash of balsamic vinegar

small handful of chopped parsley, or dried oregano for garnish

In a medium-sized pan, place the beets and cover with water. Cover pan; bring to boil; reduce heat to low and allow the pan’s cover to open slightly. Depending on their size, the beets should cook through in about 45 minutes. You may need to add some more water, so check back from time to time. Test with a fork to see if beets are cooked. The fork should easily slide into the beet if it’s done. Drain and run under cold water to aid in removing the skins. **I wear plastic gloves to remove the skins because the beets will stain your hands.** Once the beets are peeled, chop into sizes of your preference.

Quickly rinse out the pan you used to cook the beets in, and add the butter. Chop your reserved beet leaves and stalks into small pieces and add to the pan. Cover and allow to sauté on low heat until the leaves become soft; about 8 minutes. Add the chopped beet roots, garlic, salt and pepper, oil and vinegar. Carefully combine ingredients with a spoon and transfer to a serving bowl; garnish with chopped parsley. May be eaten warm or at room temperature.

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