Beetroot is a daunting veggie to work with. Known for its earthy flavor and deep crimson/purple staining qualities it’s no wonder it isn’t the most popular ingredient when it comes to smoothie recipes.
I hadn’t given beetroot much attention until one day I was out with a friend in her favorite vegan-friendly cafe and I noticed they had a beetroot chocolate cake! Well, I love chocolate so I had to give it a go.
I tentatively asked the waiter if beetroot actually goes with chocolate, I mean, it just doesn’t sound right.
My friend rolled her eyes probably silently laughing at my in-experience!
I was surprised to find that the cake was absolutely delicious. It was moist, sweet and everything a chocolate cake should be. not only that but it was low carb, vegan, and gluten-free!
I knew my next smoothie had to center around this surprisingly delicious veggie so I set to work finding out everything I could about how to prepare beets for smoothies.
As it turns out, beets are very easy to prepare for smoothies. You need to wash them but peeling is optional. Just roughly chop and in they go!
Now, let’s dive into fun beetroot facts to whet your appetite for the recipes ahead!
Beetroot is a root vegetable that holds a very special quality.
It became popular in the 19th century when it was discovered that the beet juice could be used to make sugar. The beetroot falls into a similar category as sugar beet and chard.
The leaves of the beetroot (beet greens) are edible but have a very bitter taste compared to the sugary sweet root.
Beetroot is constantly popping up in new recipes and sweets, like beetroot chocolate cake, muffins, and brownies. Their complementary flavor that goes so well with rich desserts makes the beetroot an ideal addition to a healthy smoothie.
Purple Pigment (red beets) (betacyanin)
Probably the most distinctive quality of the beetroot is the deep purple pigment found in red beets. This dye comes from a compound called betacyanin. This compound has been extensively researched for its health benefits and this study found it to be useful in preventing bladder cancer!
The high fiber content of beetroot helps expand the health promoting qualities of beetroot. Fiber is essential to ensure the gut microbiome functions properly so aids digestion and overall good health.
It’s not just fiber alone that supports a healthy gut. Beetroot has very high levels of glutamine which is important to “feed” the cells found in your intestine.
Improves Overall Health
As your gut microbiome plays a key role in supporting a healthy immune system, the benefits of beets extend far beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
This review paper has also attributed beetroot with anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and vascular protective properties. The paper discusses how beetroot not only supports a healthy body but also a healthy mind by helping blood flow to the brain.
High blood pressure goes hand in hand with cardiovascular disease and is one of the biggest killers in the USA.
It is very important that you seek medical attention if you suffer from issues here as nothing can replace the medications currently available BUT beetroot may help these.
A small study has found that beetroot may help control blood pressure when used alongside conventional treatment.
Beetroot is high in nitrates. These are important chemicals that act on mitochondria to help them supply the cells with more energy.
Drinking beetroot juice has been shown to increase the total time until complete burn out when exercising and improves athletic performance.
Beets are packed full of folic acid (essential during pregnancy), potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. All this and 100g of fresh beets contain only 36kcal. What more could you wish for?
But What About The Staining?
If you’re anything like me you’ll understand my hesitation when it comes to raw beets. As much as I love beets for all their health benefits I can’t stand the mess they make! The dark dye seems to get everywhere and never, ever, try to make a beet smoothie without thoroughly securing the lid on your Vitamix (haha)!
The good news is, you can get the color off your hands. Rub some lemon juice over them and this helps remove the staining!
How To Prepare Raw Beets
Should I Wash It?
Yes, it’s essential to thoroughly wash the whole beetroot before you add it to your high-speed blender. Beetroot is a root veg so it may have dirt and bugs on the outside which you’d rather not add to a beetroot smoothie.
Can I Eat The Leaves?
Yes, you can eat the greens of the beetroot but some people prefer not to as they have a bitter flavor. They should be washed (similar to the root) and can be added fresh or lightly steamed beforehand.
Should I Peel It?
The peel of the beetroot is important to lock in all that healthy pigment and is completely edible. It contains lots of good fiber but some people find it adds an earthy flavor that overpowers the sweet beet flavor. If you find it to be a bit strong then you can peel them before use.
Should I Cook It?
There’s no need to cook beets before adding them to a smoothie or if you’re using it for juicing. Cooked beets can be used but the heat sensitive vitamins and nutrients will be affected by the process. If you want to maximize the health benefits of your beet smoothie then raw beets are best.
These simple beet smoothie recipes will use a lovely variety of fresh fruits and veggies to help you incorporate more beetroot into your diet. They are all super yummy, gluten-free and vegan so everyone can enjoy, yay!
(Not) Green Smoothie
I’d love to label this one as a green smoothie but the beets win out when it comes to color!
You’ll need 200ml almond milk, 2 frozen bananas, 1 tspn flaxseed, 1 beetroot, 1 cup kale. 1 cup raspberries (or mixed berries).
Simply add to the blender and blend on high for around 1 minute. You can add ice to this one if using fresh fruit instead of frozen.
Alongside all the goodness found in beets, blueberries are packed full of antioxidants making them a super-food! You can sign me up for this one!!!
You’ll need 1 cup Frozen blueberries, tbsp chia seeds, 2 cups coconut water, 2 green apples, 1 medium or 2 small beets.
Add the ingredients to the blender (liquid first) and blend on high for 60 seconds (or until a smooth puree).
Creamy Colorful Cuisine
The avocado and banana in this one add a lovely creaminess whilst still remaining dairy free. This one is thick and delicious and makes a great meal replacement for breakfast or a light lunch.
1 Avocado, 2 cups coconut water, 1 frozen banana, 1 medium beetroot, 1 cup ice cubes.
If you find the flavor too earthy, add a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup to sweeten to taste.
Beetroot is packed full of goodness and deserves a top spot in your next smoothie recipe. Be careful when you prepare them though as they do stain and you won’t be thinking lol if it gets into your clean white shirt!