Beets (formally called beetroots) are a low-calorie root vegetable with medicinal properties. Beets are considered a healthful food as they are high in antioxidants that are great for cancer prevention, and they contain nitrates which increase blood flow to the brain. Athletes often eat beets because they increase energy levels and boost athletic performance by improving oxygen use when consumed two to three hours prior to training or competing. Here is an enjoyable cold beet salad that can be made and served year-round:
Tasty beet salad recipe:
• 4 medium beets to equal about 2 ½ cups (or use 2 ½ cups of refrigerated cooked beets from your market)
• ¼ cup crumbled feta
• 4 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley
• ¼ cup walnuts or slivered almonds
• Your favorite lemon vinaigrette (Or make your own dressing: Mix 1 clove minced garlic with 3 Tablespoons of good quality olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar to equal about 1 Tablespoon. Add the zest of 1 small lemon, plus a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to equal about 1 teaspoon. Sprinkle in a tiny bit of Kosher salt and pepper to equal about a ¼ tsp each. Combine and taste. If needed, add in a tiny bit of white or brown sugar to reduce tartness – about ½ teaspoon total.)
Prep beets by cutting off the leaves, scrubbing them in water, and placing them on a non-stick foiled covered baking sheet. Cover beets with another sheet of aluminum foil. Roast in a 400-degree preheated oven for about one hour. Check beets often toward the end of cooking. They are done when tender and easily pricked with a fork. Let cool for about 45 minutes. Wearing plastic gloves to avoid hand staining, slice off the beet stub and rub off the skins. Chop beets into bite-size pieces and set aside in a medium size bowl. (Or, alternatively, use plain cooked beets from the refrigerated section of your market.) Meanwhile make your dressing and set aside. Add the feta cheese, parsley, and nuts to the beets. Pour some of the dressing over the top, little by little according to your liking. Gently fold ingredients to mix. Serve immediately. *Can be made a few hours ahead and refrigerated. Simply reserve cheese and add when ready to serve.
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