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Vegetable throwdown: Beets vs. arugula

Posted on Jul. 7, 2014 ( comments)
Beets and arugula
Arugula or beets — which do you prefer?

It’s a dinnertime matchup. Beets versus arugula. One contender brings antioxidants and vitamin B into the ring. The other vegetable stands up to cancer with feisty phytochemicals.

Will the fight be fair when a root vegetable squares off with a green salad rocket? Here, we present the facts and two recipes so you can decide.

Beets and beet greens

Appearance: Ruby-red, golden, white, or striped round roots attached to dark-purple stems with green leaves at the top.
Flavor profile: Sweet, bitter and earthy.
Nutrients: Heart-loving antioxidants and an assortment of B vitamins.
Look out for: Red beets will temporarily stain hands, work surfaces and other foods.

Avoid:  Wilted and browning leaves; green indicates freshness.  

Beets have a rap sheet filled with health benefits. Beet greens are edible and can be cooked similarly to spinach—steamed or boiled quickly in a little salted water. When you bring your beets home, separate the greens from the beets and store both in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to five days. Roasted beets with cheese and herbs are a delicious way to try this root vegetable.

Roasted beets with cheese and herbs

Makes 4 servings
6 beets, greens removed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (pinch of dried thyme)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons of goat cheese, crumbled (alternatively, use ricotta or feta cheese)

Preheat oven to 400⁰F.

Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and roast until tender when pierced with a fork — about one hour, depending on size.

When cool, peel and quarter the beets and place in a serving bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the thyme, chives and olive oil.

Drizzle olive oil mixture over the beets. Top with crumbled goat cheese.


Appearance: A thin, ruffled resemblance to lettuce.
Flavor profile: Peppery.
Nutrients: Phytochemicals offer cancer-protective qualities. Also rich in vitamin C and potassium.
Lookout for: Arugula likes to play with dirt. Wash leaves by immersing in a large bowl of cold water and then lift them out, letting the dirt settle at the bottom.
Commonly seen with: Green salads, potato salads, added to pasta sauce, or on top of pizzas fresh from the oven.

Arugula is the unsung hero of the produce section. Wrap arugula stems in damp paper towels and store the leafy green in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Arugula will stay fresh for up to two days, but it has a reputation for disappearing in the kitchen more quickly. Pronouncing arugula can be tricky on the tongue. Keep it simple with this zesty salad.

Simple arugula salad

Makes 4-6 servings
2 bunches arugula, washed, dried and torn
1/2 cup walnuts (toasted)
1 pear, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil, or more to taste
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated

In a serving bowl, drizzle the arugula, walnuts and pear with oil.

Squeeze in lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until well-mixed and taste for seasoning.

Place grated Parmesan cheese over each serving.

Posted in: Healthy Living | Recipes

About The Author

Jen Rittenhouse Jen Rittenhouse
Jen Rittenhouse is the social media manager for MultiCare and Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. She writes stories that connect people with hospitals, health care and each other. You can reach her at [email protected].
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