This post brought to you by Love Beets. All opinions are 100% mine.
Not sure how it happened, but February is almost over! Before it comes to an end, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate American Heart Month with a heart-healthy beet recipe.
Beet salad? Don’t mind if I do. Beets are amazing — not only are they rich in potassium, which is one of the main minerals responsible for muscle contraction (including the contraction of the heart), but a diet rich in beets and other potassium-rich foods can help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
They’ve also been shown to increase exercise performance. The natural nitrates in beets increase nitric oxide, a molecule in that lowers blood pressure and widens blood vessels. This widening of the blood vessels increases blood flow and reduces the oxygen needed by muscles, allowing them to work more efficiently and perform the same amount of work with less oxygen. Many runners and cyclists often consume beet juice before races to improve their stamina! All that said, I was recently given the opportunity to test out and create a recipe using Love Beets — a line of all-natural, freshly cooked beets. I’ve seen them at Whole Foods several times so I was excited to give them a try.
Love Beets offers many different cooked beet products including really cool flavor infused beets. I knew I was going to be using the beets to make a salad with a homemade dressing so I picked up a pack of the organic freshly cooked beets, which aren’t flavored. These beets are cooked in their own juices and vacuum-packed for freshness with no added ingredients. They’re super flavorful and taste just as delicious as the beets I cook myself at home — maybe even a little juicer! I love beets but sometimes they are kind of a pain (and a mess) to roast and peel so having the option of buying already prepared beets is super convenient! I’ll definitely be buying the fresh cooked Love Beets again and perhaps next time I’ll try one of the flavor infused versions.
So what type of salad did I make with the Love Beets?
When brainstorming recipes, I began with the idea of making a simple, yet flavorful salad that could work as a starter for dinner or on it’s own for a light lunch. I ended up going with baby spinach as the base and adding quinoa, thinly sliced red onion, gorgonzola cheese, toasted walnuts and an apple cider vinegar shallot dressing. Easy, fresh, filling and absolutely delicious.
This was my first time making the apple cider vinegar shallot dressing, but it turned out to be fantastic. I think it’s likely to become a staple. No surprise there — you guys know how much I love my apple cider vinegar. 🙂
Spinach, Beet and Quinoa Power Salad
- 6 cups raw baby spinach
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
- 17.5 oz. cooked beets (2 packs Love Beets Cooked Beets), chopped into chunks
- 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To toast walnuts, place in an ungreased heavy skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until browning begins, then stirring constantly until fragrant and golden brown. Remove walnuts from skillet and spread on plate to cool.
- Place all dressing ingredients except olive oil into a blender and blend. Slowly add the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time. Taste to check the seasoning. Add a little more oil if the vinegar is too strong. Set aside.
- To serve the salad, grab four plates and evenly distribute all of the salad ingredients. Use about 1.5 cups of spinach, ½ cup cooked quinoa, 2 beets, 2 Tablespoons red onion, 1 Tablespoon walnuts and 1 Tablespoon of gorgonzola cheese on each salad. Drizzle with apple cider vinegar dressing, serve and enjoy!
Wanna learn more about Love Beets?
Visit their website and also be sure to check out their Beet the Odds Facebook Sweepstakes: Love Beets has four beet recipes posted on their Facebook page (which look delicious, btw) — you simply enter your info and pick your favorite recipe and you’ll get a $1-off coupon and be entered in the sweeps for a chance to win a grand prize. The grand prize includes a year’s supply of Love Beets (26 free product vouchers) and a free nutrition/healthy living consultation with a noted nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.