With Valentine's Day coming up, get in the kitchen with your loved ones and try a new recipe with beets! Beets contain a potent antioxidant called betalains which give them their rich red color.  Roasted, raw, or pureed they make a delicious and colorful addition to any breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or dessert.

Tip: Roast beets in a large batch ahead of time so you have them ready to go or buy pre-cooked beets (typically in a vacuum sealed package) at some grocery stores in the produce section. Watch this quick video on how-to roast beets.

Breakfast: Sweet Heart Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small raw beet, diced
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups low-fat milk (non-fat milk or unsweetened almond or soy milk are other options)
  • Optional 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup (may omit for a less sweet smoothie)
  • Optional toppings: unsweetened shredded coconut

Blend all ingredients above and until smooth. Divide into two glasses and garnish with shredded coconut (optional).

Serves 2. Adapted from Nutrition in the Kitch.

Lunch: I Loaf You Beet Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread, cut into a heart shape
  • 1 small beet roasted and thinly sliced
  • 1 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot

Directions:

Cut bread into heart shapes using a knife or a large cookie cutter. Spread goat cheese on both sides of bread. Add spinach leaves, shredded carrot and beets. Serve alongside of a pear slices or apple slices.

Snack: "Hummis" Where the Heart is: Beet Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beets, roasted, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup tahini (ground sesame seed)
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Add chopped beets to a food processor with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Great to serve alongside whole grain crackers, whole wheat pita chips, and baked plantain chips or serve with a variety of vegetables like snap peas, jicama, carrot and celery for a colorful plate. Keep stored in the fridge and enjoy for up to one week.

Adapted from Kim's Cravings.

Dinner: Where's the Beet? Roasted Beet Tacos with Beet Green Salsa Verde

Taco Ingredients:

  • Whole grain corn tortillas
  • 1 lb. roasted beets , washed and trimmed (reserve beet greens for salsa verde)
  • 1 can vegetarian re-fried beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest and juice from 1 lime

Salsa ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup beet greens, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded (optional for spice)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

Slice roast beets into small chunks and place in a mixing bowl. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. Heat re-fried beans on the stovetop in a saucepan on low or in the microwave until warm. Slice avocados and set aside. For the salsa, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides until roughly chopped. Assemble tacos by spreading re-fried beans evenly on a tortilla. This will help the taco not fall apart. Add roasted beets and top with avocado and salsa verde. Enjoy!

Adapted from Dolly and Oatmeal.

Dessert: Brownie Points Red Velvet (Beet!) Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw beets, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. chocolate chips (plus more for topping)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place parchment paper in a square 8×8 pan. Place beets in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. In a small saucepan, add oil, agave or maple syrup, chocolate chips and vanilla. Melt over low heat. Add to beet mixture and purée until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree in the food processor until combined.  Spread evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely and enjoy!

Adapted from mindbodygreen.