In these difficult times, it can be easy to lose track of healthy eating habits, especially when cooped up in the house and snacks and comfort foods beckon from the kitchen. Still, supermarkets are still well-stocked with fruits and vegetables that can help us stay healthy through this unprecedented pandemic. The vitamins and nutrients in real foods, not processed foods, can strengthen the immune system with beneficial anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Nutrient-dense foods and whole grains can also help you feel full longer which can prevent those cravings for snacks between meals.
Beets, for example, are full of vitamins and antioxidants. They are a rich source of folate and contain vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals including potassium, needed for healthy nerve and muscle function, and manganese which is good for the bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas.They can be boiled, roasted, pickled, or steamed in a variety of recipes. Beetroots add sweetness to any meal, but the stems and leaves should also not be overlooked. Beet greens are also contain vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and more iron than spinach and can help keep your bones strong and boost you immune system.
Salad with Golden Beets, Spinach and Arugula
3-4 small-medium golden beets, or red beets, if preferred
3 cups baby spinach
2 cups arugula
3 small-medium spring onions, finely chopped
5 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup cooked bulgur wheat, medium or coarse grind, optional
Prepare the beets by washing thoroughly in cool water. Cut off the stems from the beets and then the leaves from the stems and set aside. Cut the top and bottoms of the beets so they have two flat sides. Bring a large, deep pot of water to a boil over medium high heat, add a dash of salt and the washed and trimmed beets. Allow the beets to boil until tender. A skewer or fork should pierce them easily. Remove the beets from the boiling liquid, set aside, and add the stems to the pot and continue boiling until tender. Remove the stems and add the leaves. The leaves take just seconds to wilt in the boiling liquid, so don’t walk away from the pot at this point. If unsure about the doneness of the beet greens, taste one. Switch off the heat and use tongs to remove the beet greens from the boiling liquid and set aside. Allow the cooked beets to cool slightly before peeling. Slice the beets into one-inch pieces and place in a serving bowl. Add the cooked stems and beet greens. If preferred, cut the cooked stems and beet greens into bite-sized pieces. Wash the spinach and the arugula. Pat dry with a kitchen towel or use a salad spinner to remove the excess water. If the pieces are large, chop, and place the spinach and arugula in the serving bowl. Add the chopped spring onions. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the Greek extra virgin olive oil, the freshly squeezed lemon juice, the salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately with cooked bulgur wheat, if using.