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Our Blog: February 22, 2023

Your Heart Beats for Beets!

Introducing a variety of veggies early is the key to raising an adventurous, healthy eater.
But we know that effort can feel challenging sometimes. Through exposure, we now know kids can learn to LOVE vegetables. And you can help reinforce the same Veggies Early & Often campaign we embrace at school by being a role model for children at home—through cooking and eating a balanced, plant-forward diet.

This month, we’re focusing on the wonderful benefits of beets.

The versatile root vegetable contains vitamins, fiber, and more. Its beautiful deep red color makes beets the perfect vegetable to highlight in February since it’s also American Heart Month. In fact, beets are unique for their cardiovascular and heart health benefits. They enhance blood flow, improve the health of arteries, and reduce LDL cholesterol.

There are several ways to prepare and eat beets. They may seem a little intimidating at first, but once you learn to cook with beets, we hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how delicious they are.

Start Simple

Buy canned beets and add slices to your salad or blend them with hummus. When you’re ready, buy fresh beets that are firm and free of blemishes. If the greens remain attached, you can eat those too! Add them to a salad or use them to replace any dark leafy greens in recipes.

Beets come in many sizes, shapes, and colors—including red, golden, or red and white stripes. Medium beets (2 to 4 inches in diameter) are preferable. Small beets take longer to peel. Larger beets tend to be less flavorful.

Cooking Methods

First, remove the greens leaving about one inch of the stalk to prepare beets for cooking. Wash them under cold water to remove the dirt and sand. Red beets will stain anything they touch so beware!

  1. STOVETOP BOILING—Place beets in a deep saucepan and add enough water to cover them by at least three inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and cook for 60 to 90 minutes or until they are tender. Make sure to check the water level throughout. If any part of the beet is sticking out it won’t cook. Add more water, as needed.
  2. OVEN ROASTING—Wrap individual beets in aluminum foil and roast them in the oven. If roasting several beets at a time, you can put them in a baking dish instead and cover the whole dish with aluminum foil or a lid. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  3. STEAM ROASTING—Place beets in a baking dish. Add one inch of water. Cover the dish with aluminum foil or a lid. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  4. MICROWAVE—Puncture the skin using a fork, just like you would a potato. Place beets in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a lid. Cook the beets on high for 10 to 12 minutes. Let sit for another 10 minutes in the microwave before removing.

Before you peel the beets, make sure to let them cool. You can also run them under cold water to speed this process along. Then, simply rub the skin off or use a peeler or knife to remove the skin. Beets taste great with just a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt.

Try beets using one of our delicious, Grow Fit®-inspired recipes. They’re part of the Veggies Early & Often effort and approved by the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).

Beet Hummus (Makes 3 Cups)

2 medium beets, stem removed (could substitute 1 cup canned beets)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup lemon juice
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp. water
½ tsp. salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. For young assistants: Have children loosely wrap beets in foil to prepare them for baking. Place in oven for 35 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven, let cool, and remove skins.
  3. While the beets are roasting, prepare chickpeas. Rinse and arrange them between two paper towels. Gently rub your hands over the top towel to help remove the skin.
  4. Chop cooled beets (or substitute canned beets) and add them to the food processor with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until creamy (about 2 minutes).

Maple Roasted Beets & Carrots (Serves 4)

5 large carrots, peeled
4 medium beets, peeled
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and move the rack to the middle position.
  2. Cut the beets and carrots into roughly the same size and place them on a large baking sheet.
  3. For young assistants: Have children drizzle olive oil onto beets and carrots. Toss until well coated and spread out into an even layer.
  4. Roast for about 15 minutes or until the veggies are tender (if the pieces are bigger this may take a bit longer).
  5. Remove from oven. Add butter and maple syrup, then toss until evenly coated.
  6. Return the pan to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Russian-Style Beet Salad (Serves 8)


4 to 5 medium beets
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. light sour cream
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup raisins
¼ tsp. garlic powder


  1. For young assistants: Have children help you wash the beets.
  2. Peel the beets and then grate them. If possible, using a food processor helps to speed up this process and keep your fingers safe.
  3. For young assistants: In a small mixing bowl, have children stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, and garlic powder.
  4. Stir in the beets and raisins. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Optional: Finish with a generous sprinkle of chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts.