Fresh Ideas: Beets that are tough to beat

Photo by Helana Brigman  --  For a healthful, pretty salad on your dinner table, serve Beets With Goat Cheese, Arugula and Pecans. Show caption
Photo by Helana Brigman -- For a healthful, pretty salad on your dinner table, serve Beets With Goat Cheese, Arugula and Pecans.

One of my favorite ways to serve seasonal root vegetables is this recipe for sliced beets tossed with goat cheese, arugula and pecans.

While it can be difficult to snack healthfully during the holiday season, beets make it easy to consume good-for-you nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and potassium. The addition of leafy green arugula adds a subtle peppery flavor that is quickly mellowed by tart goat cheese and sweet toasted pecans.

This combination is both sweet and savory, making the perfect ruby-red salad for your next holiday dinner party.

To save time, I’ve suggested using jarred or canned beets in this recipe. But, if farm-fresh beets are on hand, roasted beets have more nutritional benefits and flavor. Just keep in mind these basic tips to get the most out of your cold weather produce:

Size — When buying beets, keep an eye out for smaller sizes, as the vegetable is far tenderer and requires less cooking time than larger ones.

Weight — Heavier is always better when it comes to produce. Make sure beets are heavy for their size and firm.

Roasting — Roasting beets couldn’t be easier. Simply wash and roast whole on a lined baking sheet until the beets are tender and the skin pulls off easily when cool.

To keep your hands clean from red stains, make sure to wear gloves when handling cooked beets.

Serve this salad at your next dinner party for a fresh take on seasonal root vegetables. The results are low in calories and always good for you this holiday season.

Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. She can be reached with daily recipes at http://clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com or via email at hbrigm1@tigers.lsu.edu.