This article is based on reporting that features expert sources.
Beets are healthy, tasty and versatile.
Beets are a misunderstood vegetable, says Sandra Arevalo, a registered dietitian who is the director of community and patient education at Montefiore Nyack Hospital in Nyack, New York.
“Many people fear them because the calories in beets come mostly from sugar, and they have a tarry taste that is easily masked when you mix them with other flavors,” Arevalo says.
However, beets contain important nutrients, including:
Read on for seven healthy, delicious and inspired beet recipes.
1. Fresh beet and carrot salad
This salad has great crunch, flavor and is full of nutrients, Arevalo says.
- 2 large beets, peeled, shredded.
- 2 large carrots, peeled, shredded.
- 1 large green apple, peeled, shredded.
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the beets, carrots and apple. In a separate container, mix the olive oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad mix. Refrigerate and serve cold.
2. Beet and fish tacos
Seemingly, everyone likes tacos, and this recipe is tasty, simple to prepare and full of nutrients, Arevalo says.
- 1 boiled or canned beet, peeled and diced.
- 1 tomato, diced.
- 1/2 avocado, peeled and diced.
- 1 tablespoon red onions, minced.
- 1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise.
- 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
- 1 tablespoon of cilantro.
- 12 ounces of cod fish, cubed.
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- 4 10-inch tortillas.
Mix the beets, tomatoes, avocado and onions and set aside. In a separate cup, mix the light mayo and lime juice. Add this mixture to the beets mix and set aside. To cook the fish, warm a frying pan. When the pan is warm, add the olive oil, then the fish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Saute the fish for no longer than 5 minutes, or until it’s lost its shine. Pour 3 ounces of fish and 3 tablespoons of the beet mix into a tortilla. Top the mixture with some cilantro and fold.
3. Earthy beet smoothie
For a tasty smoothie with a variety of flavors, try an earthy beet smoothie, Arevalo suggests.
- 1 cup of red grapes.
- 1 cup of blackberries.
- 1 boiled beet, diced (fresh or canned).
- 1 cup of plain low-fat yogurt.
Place the grapes in a blender and blend for about 2 minutes, until you see juice. While the blender is still going, remove the lid of the blender and add blackberries, one at a time. Add the beets to the juice slowly and in small amounts. When all the ingredients are blended, add the yogurt. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of brown sugar or honey, if desired.
4. Beets and sweet potato fries
Using beets can help you make a healthier version of the popular sweet potato fries, says Lisa Jones, a registered dietitian in Philadelphia. “Plus, you get to show some love this holiday season for this sweet and earthy root vegetable,” she says.
- 1 pound of beets.
- 1 pound of sweet potato.
- 1 tablespoon of oil.
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
Cut the beets and sweet potato fries each into ½ inch strips. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and toss to coat. Spread on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
5. Arugula salad with roasted beets, goat cheese and almonds
Roasting beets results in caramelization of their natural sugars, giving them a sweeter flavor, Jones says. “Enjoy roasted beets in a salad,” she says. You can add other root vegetables, like parsnips or carrots for a tasty and nutrient-filled salad.
- 1 tablespoon of oil.
- 5 ounces of arugula.
- 1/2 cup of goat cheese crumbles.
- 1/2 cup of sliced almonds.
Wash, dry and remove the beet greens. Coat them with olive oil, then place them in an oven-safe pan with a lid. Roast for about 1 hour at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the roasted beets to arugula, goat cheese and almonds.
6. Pickled beets
This is a popular way to prepare the root vegetable, Jones says.
- 6 roasted or boiled beets.
- 3 cups of apple cider vinegar.
- 1/2 cup of sugar.
- 1 cinnamon stick.
- 1 teaspoon of salt.
Combine water, vinegar, sugar, spice and salt to make a vinaigrette. Place the mixture on high heat and bring to a boil, then stir until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 10 minutes at medium heat. Remove from heat and pour over roasted or boiled beets. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
7. Beet burgers
“If you are looking for another recipe to add to your Meatless Monday, consider using beets as one of the main ingredients to create your burgers,” says Anna Taylor, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition. “If you choose red beets for this recipe, they can make these meatless burgers look like beef.” Adding quinoa, oats and chopped nuts will provide a chewy texture.
- 1/3 cup of uncooked quinoa.
- 1/4 cup of chopped onions.
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- 4 ounces of roasted beets, fresh, packaged or canned.
- 1 finely chopped carrot.
- 2 eggs.
- 1/3 cup of old-fashioned or quick cooking oats.
- 1/2 cup of walnuts, finely chopped.
- Non-stick cooking spray.
Place quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and rinse, then drain. In a small saucepan with lid, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, onions and salt. Lower heat to simmer and cover. Cook 10 to 12 minutes. Drain out the water.
Place chopped carrots and roasted beets in a food processor and pulse for 2 minutes to combine. Add the eggs, oats and walnuts just until well mixed. Place the mixture in a large bowl. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Divide the mixture into quarters. Form each serving into a burger patty shape. Heat a non-stick pan. Spray with non-stick cooking oil or spritz with oil. Pan-fry burgers about 5 minutes on each side to heat thoroughly. Serve on a whole grain bread with a slice of tomato.
To recap, here are seven healthy beet dishes:
- Fresh beet and carrot salad.
- Beet and fish tacos.
- Earthy beet smoothie.
- Beet and sweet potato fries.
- Arugula salad with roast beets, goat cheese and almonds.
- Pickled beets.
- Beet burgers.
Arevalo is a registered dietitian based in Nyack, New York. She’s a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Association of Diabetes Education.
Jones is a registered dietitian based in Philadelphia.
Taylor is aregistered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.