I have a confession to make. When I was a child, I was appalled by the taste of beets every time my mother offered me some. Now, when I’m all grown up, my close people can confirm that I’m a beet lover given that “beetie” is one of my nicknames.
Actually, it was a love-hate relationship at first. When l learned how to add more flavor to it, I and beets have become inseparable. Another reason why I can’t imagine my diet regimen without this vegetable is because it’s highly nutritious.
So, if you’re in a love-hate relationship with beets at the moment or just curious about them, I’m sure this will change by the end of this article. Why?
Because today you’ll learn what beets taste like and how to add more flavor to them. I’ll also share with you my three favorite beet recipes as a tasty intro to your beet journey!
What Do Beets Taste Like?
Do you know that type of veggie that tastes different every time you eat it? I daresay that this food that starts with B belongs to that category.
Generally, beets have a naturally sweet, earthy/dirt-like, and bitter taste. My inner child was always interested in why beets taste like dirt. THE TRUTH REVEALED: It’s because of a compound known as geosmin which gives that earthy flavor to other vegetables as well, such as spinach and lettuce.
Beets’ flavor profile changes depending on the cooking method and the type of beets used:
• Fresh beets: A combination of bitter, sweet, and earthy/dirt-like flavors. Beets are often compared to spinach or chard.
• Boiled beets: Boiled beets have a less intense flavor profile, and their color also changes a bit. Adding some salt and red wine to boiling beets is the best thing since sliced bread.
• Roasted beets: Beets are naturally sweet because they’re high in sugar, and when you roast them they become even sweeter. Actually, the right word would be caramelized.
• Grilled beets: The grilling method accentuates beets’ earthy flavor, and the result is a caramelized texture with a smoky undertone. Grilling is a not-so-common cooking method for beets, but definitely worth trying.
• Steamed beets: Steamed beets have a richer flavor profile and a more tender texture than boiled beets.
• Pickled beets: Generally, pickled beets have a sweet and sour taste with a tangy aftertaste. Note that the flavor profile changes according to the type of brine used. For example, adding chilies to the brine mixture will make pickled beets spicy, while adding sugar will make them taste sweeter.
When it comes to pickle calories, they do have them, so it is important that you be careful, especially if you are on some type of diet.
• Beet juice: Just like fresh beets, beet juice has an earthy taste with sweet and bitter notes. Pro tip: adding ginger and lemon makes beet juice even tastier.
What do beet greens taste like?
In case you didn’t know, beet greens are edible, too, and they also have an earthy taste like roots. However, they have a less intense dirt flavor that comes from a compound called geosmin. Young or baby leaves and stems are best for salads, while mature leaves are best cooked.
What Do Different Types Of Beets Taste Like?
From golden/yellow to reddish purple, beets come in various colors and types. Therefore, their flavor profile can slightly differ but this doesn’t mean you can’t use them interchangeably in recipes that call for beets:
• Red beets: This beet type has the strongest flavor, and they are the most common ones. They’re easily recognizable by their dark red color that can stain anything that comes in contact with it.
• Golden beets: Golden beets are milder in flavor than red beets. Also, they are less sweet and they don’t stain your hands and everything else like red beets.
• Candy stripe beets: As the name implies, candy stripe beets have natural stripes that disappear when cooked. This beet type has an earthy, sweet flavor and they don’t “bleed their color” like red beets.
• White beets: White beets are the sweetest because they have the highest amount of sugar. Also, the dirt-like flavor is almost unnoticeable in white beets.
How To Add More Flavor To Beets
Is it possible to add more flavor to the beets? Of course, it is! All you need to do is pay attention to how you prepare them, and what ingredients you add to them. Here are some surefire ways to maximize the flavor of beets:
• Buy fresh beets that are bright green and plump with deep, rich-colored bulbs.
• Roast beets in foil to keep them juicy.
• Cook beets with the skin on or peel them after they’re cooked (if you have to).
• Season the cooking water to reduce bitterness. You can try a mix of water, sugar, salt, red wine vinegar, peppercorns, and coriander.
• Combine different types of beets.
• Eat them raw with citrus fruits and vinegar (apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, white vinegar, or white wine vinegar).
• Combine them with chocolate.
• Add beets to your smoothies.
• Roast them before pickling.
• Let them rest in an acidic marinade before dip-frying.
• Glaze them with a mix of sea salt and pomegranate molasses.
• Season them with salt and pepper.
• Put them in lemonade, cakes, and tarts.
What goes well with beets?
If you want to mask their dirt-like taste, pair the beets with the following ingredients:
3 Simply Delicious Ways To Prepare Beets
From beet juice which is a part of my morning routine to a refreshing beet salad, these recipes are bound to excite your taste buds!
1. Beet Juice
- 1 apple (cored and cubed)
- 1 inch ginger (peeled and grated)
- 2-3 beets (peeled and cut into cubes)
- ½ carrot (diced)
- ½ juice or water
- 1 tbsp honey (optional)
- Step 1: Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Add more water or juice if needed. Also, you can different types of fruits according to your preference.
2. Honey-Roasted Beets
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 pounds medium beets (peeled and cut into small wedges)
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- 2 tbsp avocado oil or canola oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Step 1: Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
- Step 2: Mix pepper, oil, salt, and beets in a large bowl. Place it on the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 mins. Once you remove it from the oven, drizzle lemon juice and honey over the beets and continue roasting for 5 minutes until they become tender.
3. Beet, Orange, And Fennel Salad
- 2 oranges (peeled, cut into small pieces)
- ⅛ - ¼ cup red onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 - ½ pounds steamed or roasted beets (peeled and cut into wedges)
- 1 medium fennel bulb (cored and shaved)
- ⅛ cup fresh Italian parsley (chopped)
- ⅛ cup fresh dill or mint (chopped)
- Step 1: Mix the cooked beets, fennel, and oranges in a bowl, and add fresh herbs to it. Then add the dressing and toss. Feel free to add more salt and vinegar if needed. Pro tip: You can combine the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and then add them to the beets.
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ tbsp salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
I always think I’m eating enough beets, but my body doesn’t agree with me. So, if you think that you’re eating enough of them, then eat some more because beets have many health benefits. 😄
My friends and I even made a parody of Michael Jackson’s song Beat It where we replaced beat it with beet it! Let these altered song lyrics motivate you to start your beets journey:
Just beet it (beet it), beet it (beet it)
No one wants to be defeated
Showin’ how funky and strong is your fight
It doesn’t matter who’s wrong or right
Just beet it (beet it)
Just beet it (beet it)
Just beet it (beet it)
Just beet it (beet it, uh).