Beets get a bad rap. They’re red, they can mercilessly stain your teeth, and unless you’re traveling in the northeastern United States, beets rarely appear on local menus.

But this doesn’t mean that they aren’t delicious, despite their seeming lack of geographical popularity in the Southern states. Although fresh beets are often thought of as a winter vegetable rich in nutrients such as potassium, folate and, yes, even vitamin C, beet roots are one of the easiest ways to put a healthful, vibrantly colored spin to a simple cold and crisp summer salad.

Beautifully plated with soft goat cheese and warm Southern pecans, beets cozy up nicely to our most popular culinary ingredients, any time of year.

For the easiest way to introduce beets into your summer diet, use the canned or jarred beets found at your local grocery store. Canned beets are quick additions to many warm weather dishes, and I find they taste as good as fresh beets, without the messy cooking process.

In this recipe, soft goat cheese, crisp arugula and warm pecans complement the earthy flavor of the beets and enrich their hearty, sweet nature.