Farm Stand Saturday: Just Beet It (+feta beet dip)

Happy Saturday!  This week’s Farm Stand feature: beets.

They get a bad rap (think pickled beet hard boiled eggs and reddish pee – understandably off-putting), and I’ll admit that I didn’t like them much until I was an adult.  Even then, their preparation seemed cumbersome – their juice can stain counter tops, and their skin is annoying to peel.

Let’s address the disconcerting body functions: coloration of urine due to beets is actually called “beeturia,” and it’s not dangerous.  It occurs in 10-20% of the population, and while some studies have linked it to both iron “overload” (hemachromatosis) and iron deficiency (various anemias), this hasn’t been conclusively proven.  Whether you experience beeturia can also depend on how much beet you eat, how it’s prepared, and what you eat it with, even if you’re one of the people who experience it.  Beets are a great little veggie – no need to give them up!

The second problem, of the peeling, is much more substantial to me.  Chopping, roasting, peeling, slicing…it’s just such a process!  So I created an easier and healthier beet dip: no oven, peeling or slicing necessary.

And don’t forget the greens – they’re loaded with exponentially more vitamin A, C, and K than the roots themselves!  While they are a little bitter to eat raw in a salad, they are delicious sauteed with garlic and onions or can be added to stretch a pesto (see how to make your own with any combo of herbs, greens, and nuts here).  Don’t trash those nutrient-dense leafies!

And now,

Feta Beet Dip

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 small beets, cleaned with greens and roots removed, halved
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic

Directions:
Place the beets in a microwave-safe container with a cover; cook on high in an inch of water until tender to a fork (10-15 minutes).  Chop and sautee the onion until soft; caramelized onions can also be used.  Blend with all remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor; serve with crusty whole grain bread or on crackers – the pink color makes a dramatic addition to a cheese board!

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