Living Well

Lettuce turnip dat beet

Devin Brittain, Registered Dietitian
Lettuce turnip dat beet

Beetroot, commonly referred to as beets, is a root vegetable used in cuisines internationally. Beets are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and low in calories. A 3.5-ounce serving is just 44 calories, and has vitamin C, B6, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and folate!

Research has found that eating beets can lower blood pressure significantly by 4-10 mmHg over a few hours. This is due to the higher concentration of dietary nitrates which the body converts into the molecule that dilates the blood vessels, nitric oxide. These nitrates also help to enhance athletic performance by improving the efficiency of mitochondria (responsible for powering your cells) and thus extending time to exhaustion. Lastly, the 3.4 grams of fiber from 1 cup of beets works to help with bowel regulation, digestive health, weight management, and decreasing the risk of chronic diseases!

Beets are an incredibly versatile vegetable. They can be roasted, steamed, pickled, juiced, or even canned. When cooking, try to avoid boiling beets in order to maximize the effect of the dietary nitrates. Choose beets that are heavy for their size and have fresh, unwilted leafy greens.

*Disclaimer: beets can give your urine a pinkish tinge. Do not fret, it is all safe and normal.*

Roasted Beets

Beet root: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Peel washed beets and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper or desired seasonings.
  5. Roast for 35-40 minutes, turning the beets once or twice until tender.
  6. Serve or use in another dish!

Beet greens:

  1. Chop up leafy greens.
  2. Saute over medium heat with olive oil, garlic, lemon and desired seasonings for 5 to 8 minutes, or until wilted and tender.

Beet hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 small roasted beet, chopped
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, mostly drained
  • 1 large lemon zested
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions: 

  1. In a food processor or blender, place roasted beets and blend.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except olive oil and blend until smooth.
  3. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
  4. Taste and adjust to meet desired tastes and consistency. If it's too thick, add in 1/2 a tablespoon of water.
  5. Enjoy with vegetables, crackers, or pita bread, or store in the fridge for up to a week.

Roasted Beet Salad with a Mandarin Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • Mixed leafy greens
  • Roasted beets
  • Goat cheese
  • Walnuts
  • Mandarin oranges, drained (save juice)
  • Optional toppings: onion, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, avocado

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mandarin orange juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • Herbs or seasonings to taste

Directions: 

  1. In a bowl, mix salad in the desired ratio of ingredients. 
  2. In a mason jar or a bowl, mix dressing ingredients together.
  3. Add desired dressing amount and enjoy!

About Devin Brittain:
Devin Brittain is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist in the state of Louisiana. Born and raised in California, Devin obtained her Bachelors of Science in Food and Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis in Dietetics and Food Administration from California State University, Fresno. She then moved to Louisiana and completed her Dietetic Internship at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Devin is currently the Outpatient Dietitian for the Cancer Center at West Jefferson Medical Center where she assists patients and teaches healthy cooking classes. She is serving on the board for the New Orleans Dietetic Association where she strongly advocates for the dietetic profession and the health of her community. In her free time, Devin enjoys attending festivals, reading, developing recipes, dancing, and cheering on the Saints! She is passionate about utilizing her food and nutrition knowledge to benefit others and believes in finding innovative ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle that works for each individual.