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Spicy Roasted Beet Salad with Green Apples and Honey Vinaigrette

Posted Feb 16 2011 8:50pm
My grandfather on my mom’s side (Papa) had ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease; a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain. After diagnosis the life expectancy is typically 2 to 5 years and I believe he was in his 50's when they discovered this.

When he was diagnosed, my grandmother (Nana) looked to more holistic ways to keep him healthy for as long as possible and she did a pretty great job as he lived into his 70’s. Nana and Papa followed a Macrobiotic diet; they would eat small amounts whole and natural foods such as organic veggies, beans and whole grains. (This brings to mind the Michael Pollan quotes; “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants”. Additionally she would chop everything up really fine (salads were like cole slaw) to aid digestion, use all sorts of plants and honey to treat infection and sores and drink cayenne pepper. Two heaping teaspoons in a glass of water. Every day.

I checked out what the health benefits of cayenne pepper are said to be, weight loss/increased metabolism was a main one, but interestingly, the first name I came across was Dr. Christopher. I had to laugh because Nana was constantly talking about Dr. Christopher and I hadn’t thought about him in many years.

According to; “Dr. John Christopher, the famed natural herbalist, was persecuted relentlessly by the government for his practice of herbal medicine all the while assisting patients in curing heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis, infertility, rheumatism, leukemia, and every other incurable under the sun.”

“One of his greatest stories in his long career was how he could instantly stop a heart attack if he could get the patient to drink a glass of warm cayenne water. He said, "A teaspoon of cayenne should bring the patient out of the heart attack."

“The cayenne pepper drink, when taken faithfully, will dramatically improve your heart health as well as your venous structure. Drink it with warm distilled water but if that is unavailable, purified water will substitute nicely. Start by mixing about a quarter of a teaspoon in a glass of warm water. Then, down the hatch. Don't worry, you'll get used to it.”

I guess that would be why Papa drank it every day. Even I did when I would stay with them!

What spurred all this research was beets.  Ok and also the article I came across that I posted on Monday, 11 foods for faster weight loss ; hot pepper was listed as one of the foods.  As for the beets I wanted to remake the roasted beet salad with oranges and apples and add a BAM! of cayenne.

Spicy Roasted Beet Salad with Green Apples and Honey Vinaigrette
**4 WW Pts Plus
About 6 1-cup Servings (Amount will vary by size of veggies)
Printable Recipe

3 golden beets, leaves reserved and sliced
3 red beets, leaves reserved and sliced
1 large orange
2 green apples
1 small sweet onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 packet Stevia (optional for sweeter recipe)
2 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon orange zest (from above)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (start at 1/4 tsp if you don't want to go too spicy at first)
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Wrap each beet in foil, place directly on oven rack and bake 45- 60 minutes; remove from oven, cool, peel and slice into wedges. Add beets to a medium bowl.

2. Heat a medium stock pot filled about 2/3 the way with water to a boil. Blanch beet greens for 1 to 2 minutes, rinse greens with cold water and squeeze to remove excess water. Add to bowl with beets.

3. Slice off outer peel of orange and cut each section away from the membrane, reserving membrane to squeeze into dressing. Add orange sections to bowl with beets. Core and slice apple into wedges, add to bowl; slice onion lengthwise in half, the slice thinly lengthwise and add to bowl.

4. Squeeze juice from reserved orange membrane into small bowl, whisk in remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Pour over beet mixture.

Nutrition Facts
**4 WW Pts Plus
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 148.7

Total Fat 5.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 205.3 mg
Potassium 808.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.1 g
Dietary Fiber 6.5 g
Sugars 12.2 g
Protein 3.1 g

Vitamin A 67.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 9.4 %
Vitamin C 66.3 %
Vitamin E 9.0 %
Calcium 9.4 %
Copper 10.6 %
Folate 27.8 %
Iron 12.4 %
Magnesium 16.1 %
Manganese 28.4 %
Niacin 3.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.9 %
Phosphorus 7.0 %
Riboflavin 10.0 %
Selenium 2.3 %
Thiamin 8.1 %
Zinc 3.9 %
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