Beets are a rich source of natural nitrates. Nitrates added as a preservative, like in processed meats, are detrimental to health. However natural nitrates have been shown to boost exercise performance by reducing the amount of oxygen needed and increasing blood flow to muscles. It also regulates blood pressure and muscle contraction. Many athletes drink beet juice before a workout. It doesn’t taste bad…but it doesn’t taste great either. Instead, try this beet and potato hash. The high fiber carbs in the potato (it’s not all starch!) will give you energy too.
- 1 lb beets, washed and scrubbed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- 1 red onion, peeled and diced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- ½ cup walnuts or hazelnuts, toasted
- 6 eggs (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each beet loosely in a square of aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 50-60 minutes until a fork pierces the flesh easily. When tender, remove from oven, let cool and unwrap. Rub the skin off the beets and chop.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add potatoes and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to brown, about 7 minutes. Add thyme, mushrooms, walnuts, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes until mushrooms and potatoes are tender. Stir in beets and cook a couple minutes to warm through.
If serving topped with a fried egg, while the hash is cooking, heat a little olive oil in a skillet. Add an egg and cook, flipping when the white is almost set. Serve over the hash.
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Rachael Hartley is a Columbia, SC based private practice dietitian and food & wellness blogger at Avocado A Day Nutrition. She helps men and women lose weight and improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing with a whole foods based approach to nutrition. She is available for nutrition coaching and meal planning throughout the US via telephone and Skype.