When it comes to fighting inflammation, most healthy eaters turn to the same plant-based source: turmeric. And yes, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient—but it's certainly not the only one. Another tool to have in your healthy toolbox (aka the canvas tote you bring to the grocery store) is beets—and they just happen to be in prime season right now.
While inflammation in small doses is actually healthy, chronic, enduring inflammation can wreak all sorts of havoc on the body, causing both short- and long-term health problems. Nutritionist, chemist, and pharmacist Barbara Mendez has told Well+Good in the past that beets are so powerful at warding off chronic inflammation that she recommends eating them two to three times a week.
The reason beets are so effective in this way is because they are high in antioxidants (including vitamin C), which protect the body from inflammation by fighting free radicals (unstable molecules that can harm cellular structures). They bring other benefits to the table too, including gut-healthy fiber, magnesium, and calcium.
But eating Mendez's two to three recommended servings of beets a week is...a lot. That's where the below vegetarian beet recipes come in. Use them as the starting point for experimenting with the underrated root vegetable this fall. After you work your way through the list, get more ideas in Well+Good's Cook With Us Facebook group.
5 vegetarian beet recipes to try this fall to make the most of the vegetable's anti-inflammatory goodness:
1. Beet hummus
This is a great recipe to start with if you don't think you're a "beet person." Crafted by chef Nyesha Arrington, the fall veggie is roasted with salt, thyme, and olive oil before being put into the food processor. Then, it's just a matter of adding your spices and pulsing. The end result is as delicious as it is vibrant.
2. Beet and squash salad
Beets also pair perfectly with another fall favorite: delicata squash. Mixed together with tomato, the trio of antioxidant-rich produce is topped with roasted squash seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and arugula. All the seeds give this salad so much protein you don't even need meat.
3. Beet pasta
A plate of pink, beet pasta is a fun spin on alt-pasta. This vegan recipe combines the beet pasta with garlicky greens and mushrooms, giving it a whole added layer of flavor. You'll have this dish on your dinner rotation all season.
Get the recipe: Beet pasta
If you're still holding onto the summer season, this transitional soup will take you right into fall. It stars the seasonal veggie, but it's served cold instead of piping hot. Also in this gazpacho are cherries, almonds, garlic chips, and mustard-horseradish cheese.
Get the recipe: Beet gazpacho
5. Vegan beet Bourguignon
Ready for something truly impressive? This recipe is a vegan twist on the classic French boeuf Bourguignon, with mushrooms standing in for the beef. (When cooked, the texture is amazingly similar.) The beets are boiled, diced and added to a hearty mix of lentils, vegetable bouillon, and burgundy wine. They're the key to adding a sophisticated layer of earthiness to the whole dish. Voilà!
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