Food For Thought: Sweets and Beets — Who woulda thunk it?


By Sandy McCall


Thinking about the glycemic load or the dairy and gluten content in the foods we eat or cook at holiday time isn’t always fun. But I do, I do! As a matter of fact, I think about eating in a healthier way all of the time!


Note: If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or something similar, you will really love the cake recipe included here!


beetSo, I am offering you a couple of healthy solutions if you are concerned about gluten, dairy or glycemic load. For those who consider these things regularly, this cake recipe won’t be a stretch. For those who would like a healthier alternative, muster up your sense of cooking adventure and try “my” Flourless Chocolate Cake and my Beets with Sweets veggie combo!!!


Tip: Read this website and many others for info on glycemic load and the glycemic index: International Glycemic Index. Let me know if you are still as confused as I am!


This dense dark chocolate cake with chocolate ganache icing is reason to eat healthier and indulge at the same time. You’ll be so surprised at what makes it work as there is another ingredient besides beets that might surprise you. And better yet, you will love to eat it because it’s actually pretty good for you. (OK, I ate some with my breakfast last week) … And it tastes great too!!


Tip: try roasting your beets with sweets for dinner at the same time you roast the beets for your cake – just put them at separate ends of the baking sheet


A good friend asked why I would include beets in my chocolate cake? Odd isn’t it? And the answer to this question about beets is because cooking is always an adventure for me and sometimes what I set out to do, is not exactly what happens in the end … and that’s where the fun is! (Watch for a future issue where we will explore experimentation in the kitchen and how becoming a “mad scientist” in the kitchen can be fun, or in some cases, leave you with excellent dog food!)


My original intention here was to create a red velvet flourless cake for the holidays with beets as the red food coloring. It was beautifully red until the dark cocoa was added. And because there was no white flour to lighten the color of the batter, the red color disappeared into the lusciousness of this batter. The beets stay anyway because they add another nutritional plus!


Tip: when making cupcakes, try cutting two squares of parchment paper to line your cupcake tins instead of the traditional cupcake papers


Tip: do you shy away from cooking beets because they are messy and hard to work with? Well no more! I don’t peel the beets or the sweet potatoes in either recipe. You don’t need to peel the potatoes or the beets, but feel free to if you are so inclined!


One of the things I love to do at holiday time is make chocolate truffles for my friends and family. Write to me and I’ll share my Chipotle Truffle recipe with you! Yum!!!


Whether you celebrate because it is a grand time to gather with friends and family or you celebrate for religious reasons, try replacing one “traditional or have to” thing that stresses you out with something you really love!! Your joy may be contagious!!!


Happy Happy y’all!



Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache Icing


Gluten and Dairy free!


1 large beet, scrubbed and chopped
1 C cooked *quinoa (dry measure is a heaping ¼ C)
2 egg yolks
1 t vanilla
6 T coconut oil (melted)
¾ C palm sugar (try xylitol for
a lower glycemic load)
6 T cocoa powder
1 t baking power
¾ t baking soda
¼ t salt
2 egg whites
¼ t cream of tartar


Roast chopped beets at 400 degrees until tender, about 20 minutes. Cook quinoa in twice as much water as quinoa. Cool both slightly and put in blender or food processor, then add the next three ingredients and blend until very smooth.


In separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff and add cream of tartar in the last few seconds of beating. Fold eggs whites into batter.


Makes one 8×8 cake. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool and carefully remove from pan and onto your favorite cake serving plate.



Ganache Icing


• Heat 1/3 C of full fat coconut milk (I use the cream from the top of the can) - watch carefully so you don’t burn it
• Pour hot coconut milk over 3 ounces of quality bittersweet dark chocolate
• Whisk until chocolate melts. Cool slightly but not too long.


Pour over the cake and drizzle the icing down the sides of the cake. Decorate with sliced almonds or shredded coconut while the icing is still soft. Store in the refrigerator.


*I used tricolored quinoa but white quinoa will work fine.



Sweets with Beets


A veggie dish


• Scrub and trim 4 medium sized beets and chop into bite size pieces
• Scrub and trim 1 or 2 medium sized sweet potato(s)
• Put in a bowl, drizzle with coconut oil
• Spread onto a baking dish or cookie sheet.
• Peel and slice 3 cloves of garlic
• Put garlic into the bowl you just took the veggies out of and rub the garlic to cover it with oil
• Drop garlic on top of beets and sweets and add salt and pepper
• Roast at 400 degr ees until tender, about 20-30 minutes



Sandy McCall’s day job is working as the Broker/Owner of Southern Life Realty. When she’s not cooking or loving-up her cat and dogs, she enjoys writing for WNC Woman and volunteering for Madison Habitat for Humanity.
[email protected], 828-273-9755 and


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