Beets are one of my favorite vegetables because they are nutritious, delicious, versatile and SEXY! Seriously, how gorgeous are they?! My love affair with beets started when I first tried my Grandma Patsy’s homemade pickled beets when I was little. She makes jars and jars of them every fall. They are the perfect combination of zingy, pungent and sweet. We throw them on salads or serve them as a side dish all year long.
Even though I do love pickled beets, I also enjoy them in their simplest form: steamed with just a touch of salt or dressed in a salad with a light vinaigrette.
This post was inspired by an interaction I had with the checker at the grocery store: when he was bagging my groceries he asked me if I would like him to take the beet greens off. Even though I sometimes throw them away myself when I get home, I suddenly became protective over my beet greens. In my head I said, “Back away from my beet greens, mister!” If there wasn’t a long line of people behind me, I would have explained to him that using the tops of the beets is not only a great way to be economical and eco-friendly but it is also a healthy addition to your diet.
Beet greens are ranked as one of the top 10 healthiest foods in the world by WHfoods because they provide excellent sources of a large variety of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, and iron. Combined with beet roots which contain folate, manganese and potassium, this vegetable is bursting with nutrition. Beets have unique carotenoids that support nervous system function and phytonutrients known as Betanin and Vulgaxanthin that work as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying agents.
That’s how I came up with this delicious salad. Instead of using spinach or another type of green leafy vegetable, I used the beet greens! If you have never tried beet greens before, they are similar in taste and texture to swiss chard. You can lightly steam them to make them less chewy or simply marinate them in some dressing like I did for this salad. The combination of nutty quinoa, earthy beets, fresh basil and light honey mustard dressing brings out all the best qualities in the beet greens. Additionally, the citrus in the dressing allows the iron in the greens to be better absorbed.
So, if you want to experience the benefits from one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet, we highly encourage you to try this delicious recipe. Also, please don’t let anyone throw your beet greens away…it should be a crime!
As Always, sending you LOVE & PEACE without the GREASE!
The Glisten Girls
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 3 beets plus their beet greens
- ¼ cup basil
- 1 can chickpeas
- 3 stalks green onions
- 15 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons gluten-free Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Steam the beats until you can easily pierce with a fork; about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients together and shake until emulsified.
- Wash and chop the beet greens, discarding the stems.
- Pour enough dressing over greens to lightly coat them and let marinate.
- Finely chop the basil and green onions and slice the tomatoes. Add to greens.
- Peal and dice the beets. Add to salad with chickpeas and quinoa.
- Dress with remaining vinaigrette.
- Serve immediately or chill for later.