If beets have been one of those vegetables you’ve grimaced at when you’ve found them on your plate, you have plenty of reasons to start celebrating them instead.

These beneficial roots are full of potassium, fiber, iron, vitamins A, B and C, folic acid, magnesium, beta-carotene and many more nutrients that are important to a healthy body. Beets help fight inflammation, lower blood pressure, and help your body get rid of toxins. Studies have also found that beet juice can increase your stamina when you exercise, helping you get the most out of your workout. While science is still exploring the possibility, it seems that beets might help in ward off cancer, including pancreatic, breast, colon, lung and prostate cancers among others. Beets are also known to be an aphrodisiac, and have been used as such for thousands of years!

And it isn’t just the roots that are helpful. The greens contain a wealth of nutrients, including more iron than you’d find in spinach and high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which help with maintaining eye health.

If you want to get the most nutrients from your beets, it is important that you don’t overcook them. Steam them for no longer than 15 minutes, and roast them for no longer than 60 minutes. Keep this in mind when working on any of the recipes below. When preparing beets for cooking, cut the greens about 2 inches from the root. You can steam or sautee these just as you would Swiss chard. You don’t have to peel beets before cooking them, since cooking them will loosen the skin and it will fall right off later.

Here are ten ways to enjoy the amazing health benefits of this superfood from delicious fresh salads to quesadillas to cake. Yes, cake!

beet salad

Golden Beet Salad with Toasted Walnuts

Simple yet elegant, this salad is perfect for everything from a quick lunch on a weekday to a beautiful course served at a dinner party. The healthy fats from olive oil and walnuts combined with the nutrients from the arugula and beets make it a powerhouse of a dish, all while looking pretty.

French 'Peasant' Beets

Sauteed in a shallot-butter mixture, then simmered with the greens and a splash of white wine, these beets are anything but peasant food. Unless by peasant you mean royalty. Serve the nutritious hot dish up with some crusty bread and call it perfect.

Roasted Red Beet Hummus

For a unique and colorful take on a popular appetizer, try using beets along with chickpeas for hummus. The ingredients are the same as most hummus recipes -- garlic, olive oil, lemon, sesame seeds and so on -- but a little addition of a nutritious root veg gives it a fun twist.

Quinoa, Orange, Beet, and Arugula Salad with Orange Balsamic Dressing

So yum. The main ingredients are delicious enough -- earthy quinoa and beets, bitter and spicy arugula, and nutty walnuts and pecans. But add to all that the zip of an orange balsamic dressing and everything comes together in a salad that will wake your mouth up and satisfy your senses.

Spicy Beet, Leek and Walnut Salad

Perfect as a main course or a side dish, this salad has a brightly flavored dressing made with several kinds of nut oil, red pepper flakes and vinegar. It is topped off with pomegranate seeds. The whole thing comes off as a rather exotic take on a simple-sounding salad.

Roasted Potato Beet Salad, Green Beans and Creamy Balsamic

This is a hearty and comforting dish. The mellow flavors of beet and green beans are coated with a rich but not overpowering balsamic dressing. It's a wonderful salad for spring time. You could even substitute the green beans for asparagus.

beet salad

Roasted Beet Salad with Green Apple, Feta and Pistachios

The soft, buttery texture of roasted beets are combined with the crunch of lettuce, apple and pistachio nuts in this delightful salad. Texture is the key player, and your mouth will be so happy with the variety.

Open-Faced Beet Sandwich 

We'll bet you haven't tried a beet sandwich before. Arugula, beets, chevre, dijon mustard and a couple other essentials are piled onto a piece of toasted bread. It's a variety of flavors and textures that will have everyone making surprised yummy noises. It's perfect for when you want to feel like it's springtime before the warm weather really hits, since both beets and arugula grow well in cold weather.

Beets and Greens Quesadillas

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, a quesadilla is always a delicious option. But this quesadilla goes well beyond the usual cheese and hot sauce. This recipe uses both the root and the greens for maximum nutrition. Sauteed up with onions and spices (and yes, a sprinkle of cheese) this meal is great for a bite of comfort at any time of day.

Chocolate Beet Cake

Don't think we forgot dessert! Beets are known for their sugar content -- hence why they're commonly used to make sugar -- so of course they'd be great to use in a dessert. If you're worried about the earthy flavor of beets coming through, don't. Only those in the know might be able to detect it. But the beets are well combined into the rest of the cake ingredients so that you're getting the nutrients of beets without even realizing it.

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

10 recipes for beets that celebrate this colorful superfood
These 10 recipes put the sweet, nutritious vegetable at center stage in beautiful and sophisticated ways.