Featured Ingredient: Beets
Among vegetables, beets are notable for their sweetness - they have the highest sugar content of any veggie – and of course leaving a mark in the kitchen. Their cutting board, finger and shirt staining power comes from their betacyanin content, which turns out to be a powerful antioxidant to help mop up pesky disease-provoking free radicals. Plus one average sized beet has only 35 calories to keep you on good terms with the scale and is brimming with folate, a B vitamin essential for heart health and cancer prevention . The perfect two-for-one vegetable, edible beet greens are brimming with vitamin C and beta-carotene.
Beets are one of the few things that managed to grow well in my community garden plot this year (I won’t bother ranting about that), leaving me to scheme of ways to put them to good use. It may seem like an odd couple, yet beets and chocolate go together very well. Like other vegetable purees, they add sweetness and moisture in lieu of extra sugar and fats such as oil and butter.
You can definitely taste the beets here, and for a beet lover like me that is a good thing. But if you have an aversion to this root vegetable, these probably aren’t for you. I used a mixture of kamut and quinoa flour which provides a powerful nutritional combo, but you could use straight up whole wheat pastry flour if you prefer. The flavor of acai powder pairs well with chocolate, so I tossed that in for an antioxidant boost. You can leave it out if it’s not in your pantry. But definitely include the hot stuff, as it provides a nice little kick.
Chocolate Beet Muffins
1/2 pound beets (about 3 medium), chopped
1 cup kamut flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup acai powder (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne or chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup palm sugar or other granulated sugar of choice
1/4 cup coconut oil or other vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
Steam beets until very tender. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together flours, cocoa powder, acai powder, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne, cloves and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Stir in sugar, oil and vanilla.
Place beets in a blender or food processor container along with sour cream. You can also add 1/4 cup of the beet steaming liquid. Puree until smooth. Stir beet mixture into egg mixture. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix gently. Divide mixture among 12 medium sized muffin cups and bake for 18 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool several minutes before unmolding.