By Noor H. Salem, contributing columnist
You may or may not be familiar with beets, a root vegetable that looks similar to turnips. Beet root is one of the many superfood items I cover in my book, Sunnah Superfoods. It has been mentioned in the sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and today modern research brag of the unique benefits this root vegetable carries.
Beets may be messy to cook, but I assure you it’s well worth the trouble. A trick I’ve shared with my clients to ease the fear of cooking beets due to your hands turning pink is to simply rub your fingers/hands with lemon juice to remove the beet stains. If you prefer not to go through this extra trouble, simply wear food approved gloves while preparing the beets. It’s also very essential that I mention: overheating beets depletes them of many vitamins and minerals. That’s why I do not steam them more than 15 minutes, and even better, I’d recommend you try them raw. Do not ever boil beets! Steaming is the perfect method of softening the beets until they develop a remarkably sweet taste. They still contain all the vital vitamins and nutrients, and a delectable taste too. Baking beets is fine, but may require a lot more time to cook well. This recipe is extremely easy to make; the most difficult part is getting past your hands and counter turning pink.
This recipe is wonderful as a side dish; whether you are making salmon or grilled chicken it’ll be a great addition to your meal. Another way to eat these is to simply top them over your salad for lunch; toss in some cashews, tomatoes, avocados, and cucumbers and you have a full meal. Beets are high in anti-inflammatory properties, known to help the body detox of toxins. Whether you are steaming beets or drinking raw juice, it’s definitely a great benefit on its own. In addition, beets carry cardiovascular health benefits, eye health benefits, and wonderful digestive tract benefits. In fact, beets cleanse your digestive tract, and thus reduces the risk of colon cancer. Beets are also high in folate. potassium (yes, it’s not just bananas!), copper, fiber, and manganese. These steamed beets are also very high in vitamin C, due to the fresh lemon juice. They are loaded with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, granting you satiety and curbing your blood sugar spike. I enjoy adding in additional spices at times to change it up, like dried or fresh dill, ground ginger, ground mustard seed, and yes even some ground red pepper. Try adding beets to your diet at least once a week, and with time you’ll cause noteworthy improvement to your overall health.
5-6 medium beets
3 fresh lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh lemon slices
- Wash and peel the beets. Warning: your hands will turn pink. Cut them into 1 inch cubes.
- Prepare your steamer and steam the beets for about 15 minutes.
- Mix the dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- Place the iceberg lettuce on your serving dish. Once beets are cooked, layer the beets on top of the lettuce.
- Drizzle with the dressing evenly.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves and lemon slices.
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, Sunnah Superfoods, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.