During the warm months of summer, there is nothing I want less in the morning than a steaming hot cup of dark coffee. Instead, I prefer to jump-start my day with an icy cold, refreshing smoothie-particularly something packed with protein, fiber and, of course, flavor.
One might recoil at beets for breakfast (or dessert). However, I assure you that their sweet, earthy flavor works. Roasting beets intensifies their natural sugars, creating a perfect accompaniment to tart mixed berries. When blended into the smoothie, Greek yogurt lends silkiness while providing a hit of protein. Almonds are for texture, and honey offers a warm, floral sweetness. The finished smoothie is balanced and bold, touting the most vibrant shade of purple.
Utterly useless before my morning beverage, I find the task of roasting beets for a smoothie at 6 a.m. a bit ridiculous. To prepare for the workweek, I simply roast a small bunch of baby candy beets over the weekend and store them in the refrigerator. You'll need about two beets per smoothie.
Mixed Berry And Candy Beet Smoothie
2 baby candy beets, washed and trimmed of greens*?Canola oil (or other unflavored oil)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (low-fat is fine)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons almonds
1 cup frozen mixed berries
2 to 3 ice cubes
Orange slices, to garnish
Roast the beets. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place beets on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with canola oil, then wrap foil tightly around the beets. Cook beets in the oven until an inserted knife meets little resistance (25 - 35 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare the beets. Once the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skin off using a paper towel. You can also use a spoon to gently scrape off skin. Discard skins. Rough-chop two beets and measure out a heaping 1/3 cup. Save leftovers for future use.
Assemble the smoothie. To a blender, add Greek yogurt, honey, orange juice, almonds, berries, chopped beets and ice. Blend until smooth (at least 1 minute).
Serve. Pour smoothie into a glass and garnish with slice of fresh orange. You can prepare this smoothie a few hours in advance, but it is best enjoyed immediately.
Watch out. For brain freeze. Cool, man, cool...
*If you can't find baby candy beets, use regular beets. Larger beets require additional time roasting in the oven (50 minutes to an hour). Add a heaping 1/3 cup of chopped beets to the smoothie.