Beets come from the plant family Amaranthaceae-Chenopodiaceae, the same family as the swiss chard. Beets are known for its pigments that give them their bright rich color called betalains. There are two basic types of betalains: betacyanins and betaxanthins. Betacyanins are pigments of red-violet in color. Betanin is the best studied of the betacyanins. Betaxanthins are yellowish in color. Other vegetables which include betalains include rhubarb chard, amaranth, prickly peaer cactus and nopal cactus.The better known antioxidant in beets is not beta-carotene, but two other antioxidant carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and manganese are found in beets. The phytonutrients found in beets have shown to function as an anti-inflammatory in our body.
We also eat the beet greens and prepare them similar to eating swiss chard greens or spinach. They have many nutrients in vitamins and minerals as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeazanthin. We steam them for about 3-5 minutes, sauté some garlic and mix in with a little oil and some salt.
3 medium to large size beets
1 large leek, including green and white parts, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 bulbs of garlic
8 cups of water
some oil for sautéing
1/2 tsp fresh ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- You will want to individually wrap the beets and garlic in foil and roast for about an hour, They should be tender enough that a fork can pierce through easily. Once baked, place the beets and garlic to another glass container to cool. If you choose to not roast garlic, then sauté them along with the leeks and celery as directed below.
- Once the beets are cooled, peel the beets and cut into small cubes.
- In a large pot, melt the oil and sauté the leeks and celery until they begin to brown. Add ground ginger, pepper and other herbs of your choice if preferred. Remove roasted garlic cloves from skins, I find it easier to just slide the garlic out of the individual skins as it is soft and comes out easily. If you’ve chosen to sauté the garlic cloves, add it to the celery and leeks now along with the beet cubes.
- Add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for half an hour.
- Working in batches, puree soup in a blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Finely chop a hand full of fresh cilantro leaves for garnish.
This recipe was shared with:
Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist
Tuesday Twister at GNOWFLINS
Hearth 'n Soul at A Moderate Life
Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop
Fight Back Friday with Food Renegade
I would like to try not peeling the beets next time. I've read there is a lot of nutrients in the skin as well. Who has eaten the skin of the beets. I'm sure it would be fine in this soup since it passes through the blender.
Blessings ~ Carmen