Eat Seasonally: June Edition

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We were at the Perry Street Farmers Market trying to decide what seasonal food we were going to buy for this month's post. As we were walking around the weather turned in an instant and all of a sudden we found ourselves in a downpour, so we quickly grabbed beets and ran...but paid for them first ;-)! We grabbed beets because there is so much fun stuff to do with beets! I grew up thinking beets tasted like dirt BUT as I experimented with them more I realized how sweet they actually are. So with this month's post, you get beets 3 ways!! But first- a little about beets:

Beets contain a ton of good nutrients, but nitrates are one in particular. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide works to relax and dilate blood vessels. This benefits:

  • Blood pressure: if there is more room in the vessels for the blood to flow, there isn't as much pressure making it easier for the blood to flow
  • Brain function: if there is more blood flowing to the brain, it will in turn work more sharply
  • Endurance: Again, more blood can flow with less resistance in the vessels means more blood to your muscles making you perform better

We often make a beet smoothie (recipe below) after our Wednesday bike rides and I have definitely experienced the nitrates effect on my blood pressure. Exercise also releases nitric oxide, so when I exercise and have beets, I sometimes feel like my blood pressure is too low! It is kind of cool to be able to feel what science says should be happening :-)

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The three recipes this month are

  1. Beet Green Pesto

  2. Beet Smoothie

  3. Beet, Fennel, Apple Slaw

 

Beet Green Pesto

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The root itself it great for you, but so are the leaves attached! 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups washed beet greens
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

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How to:

  1. Place all ingredients through pepper into a food processor. 
  2. Pulse until finely chopped
  3. Add olive oil and continue to pulse until it reaches your desired consistency
  4. Enjoy!
 

Beet Smoothie (makes 3-4 servings)

This is a go-to around our house! Vegetables are something I often don't get in for breakfast, so this is a fun way to incorporate vegetables at the beginning of my day!

Ingredients:

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  • 3 beets (cut in quarters, steamed and refrigerated)
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 1 LARGE handful spinach
  • 1 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • *optional to add protein powder
  • Your favorite granola

How to:

  1. Stick all ingredients (except granola) in a blender and blend until smooth
  2. Serve in a bowl topped with granola
 
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Beet, Fennel and Apple Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium raw beets, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tart apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

How to:

  1. Combine chopped beets, fennel, apple and parsley in a bowl. 
  2. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, orange zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl
  3. Pour dressing over salad and mix together