I have been growing beets in my garden for a couple years now. They are so easy to grow! I always end up with an abundance; so I’ve been on the hunt for the best beet recipes for cooking fresh beets.
One thing that makes beets such a great food plant is that just about the whole plant is edible. When I pick a beet, I use the root and the leaves.
The hard stems – the only remaining part – I like to grind up for the chickens so literally every part of the plant gets eaten.
Generally, I think of beets as a savory food, but they have a high sugar content so the kinds of food that can be made from them are various. Let’s explore some of the best beet recipes I’ve found.
There is an abundance of juicing recipes available on the internet, many of which claim various health benefits. I tried a whole bunch of them and found most unpalatable. Beet juice has a fairly strong flavor, which a friend of mine described aptly: “It tastes like drinking dirt.” To say the least, it needs some jazzing up!
My favorite combination mixes the beautiful color and rich antioxidants of Detroit Red beets with the sweeter flavors of apples and carrots. A piece of ginger adds a bit of spice to the mix.
• 2 medium beets
• 2 granny smith apples
• 3 carrots
• 2” fresh ginger
• 1 can soda of choice
Finally, and this is the key to a truly delicious drink, I top it off with either a bit of 7-Up or Verners. I know that might be against the core idea of juicing, which is so strongly linked to detoxification and boosting health, but I need the juice to be drinkable or it won’t go in at all! I figure the soda is minimal in relation to the juice, and you’re still getting all the good stuff from the fruit and root vegetables. Try it both ways – with and without the soda – and see what you think.
Baking with Beets
One of my favorite easy zucchini recipes is zucchini bread. I would never have imagined baking with beets, until I found a recipe for a Chocolate Beet Bake. You’ve got to try this option from the best beet recipes list!
First I mixed the oil, honey and chocolate pieces in a medium saucepan and turned on very low heat under it. I stirred gently until the chocolate melted then removed the pan from the heat.
Next, I added the beets.
The recipe called for three eggs, but I used our little pullet eggs, so I needed six. I whisked the eggs separately then added them to the saucepan. The dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cacao and salt) got mixed together and then stirred into the beet mixture.
Finally, I greased a bundt pan and poured in my batter.
The cake baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. When it comes out it will still be a little sticky inside.
The cake was really rich and delicious. Our only complaint was that the beets were a little stringy so next time I might try cooking the beets and pureeing them before adding them to the batter.
Chocolate Beet Cake
Adapted from Decadent Beet Chocolate Cake
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 60 grams dark chocolate (54%), broken into pieces
- 2 cups raw beets, grated
- 3 eggs (I used 6 pullet eggs)
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoon cacao powder
- a pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Add the oil to a medium saucepan and turn on very low heat. Stir in the honey and chocolate, mixing until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and add the beets.
- Whisk the eggs and add them to the saucepan.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, cacao and salt together and stir it into the beet mixture.
- Grease a bundt pan and pour in your batter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cake should still be a little sticky inside when finished.
Kale & Beet Green Pesto
Pesto can be made from most garden greens. The term pesto refers to a sauce made from combining greens, nuts, cheese, garlic, and oil. To make mine, I harvested a large basketful of curly leaf kale and mixed beet greens as well as several sprigs of basil from my herb garden.
I brought these inside, cleaned them and picked the leafy parts off of the hard stems. I ran all the kale and beet greens through my food processor to make a thick green paste.
Garlic went in second – almost a whole head for me. Add a few cloves and taste to get it just how you like. You can always add more if it’s not strong enough. Next, I added a wedge of Parmesan cheese, chunked to make it easier for the processor to chew it up. Then a package of pine nuts went in.
Finally, I pulled the basil leaves off their stems and tossed them in as well.
Some salt, pepper and olive oil finished it off.
I filled about seven small plastic containers for the freezer. If you are freezing your pesto, make sure to cover the top with a thick coat of olive oil.
This qualifies for the best beet recipes list because it is a great, space-efficient way to save a lot of garden greens. The options are endless, too, as you can try different combinations of cheeses, nuts and greens, depending on what you have available. I love to pull out a container of pesto for an easy dinner over pasta or a flavor boost to a homemade pizza.
My favorite recipe for pickled beets is in the book Canning for a New Generation (Krissoff 2010). To begin, I harvested about ten Detroit Dark Red beets. I pulled off the stems and leaves and scrubbed the beets clean.
I brought a large pot of water to boil and dropped them in. I let them cook about twenty minutes, or until the skins are loose and a fork slides in with little resistance. Then I dunked the beets into ice water to stop the cooking and rubbed the skins off. My beets were fairly large so I cut them into quarters then into about ¼” slices.
My cutting board and hands looked like I’d done some butchering when I finished preparing my beets!
While my beets cooked, I prepared the brine by mixing four cups of cider vinegar, one and a half cups of water, one teaspoon of allspice, a half teaspoon of black peppercorns, two cinnamon sticks, two teaspoons of salt and a quarter cup of honey.
By the time I had finished slicing my beets, the brine was simmering nicely on the stovetop. I added the beets and let them cook a couple minutes before using a slotted spoon to fill pint jars. A ladle works well to scoop out the liquid and top off the jars, leaving about a 1/2 inch headspace.
After wiping the rims, I covered my jars with lids and bands and processed in a water bath canner for thirty minutes.
My favorite use for my pickled beets is a salad with beets, red onion, feta cheese, walnut pieces and a few slices of turkey cut up.
Sautéed Beet Greens
One of my favorite quick and easy best beet recipes is a side dish that utilizes beet greens or kale. I pick about 10-12 large leaves from the garden, remove the stems and chop up the rest. Set this aside while you get the other ingredients cooking. Start with an onion, sliced thinly and browned in a bit of olive oil on the stovetop. To this, add something sweet (either raisins or craisins work well) and a handful of nuts (walnut or pecan pieces are my favorite). Cook several minutes, until the craisins begin to soften and plump up. Now, toss in those greens you collected from the garden. As they start to wilt, add a dash of balsamic vinegar and mix well. When you are happy with the texture of your greens, remove them from the heat and stir in as many chunks of goat cheese as you want. They will partially melt, giving your dish a delightful creaminess. Imagine how good this would be if you were not only growing beets but also making goat cheese at home!
Beet Pizza Crust
I saw a picture of a purple pizza and I had to try it! This recipe comes from Bakers Royale.
I started with one big beet, picked fresh from the garden.
It was quite a large beet, so after I scrubbed it clean and removed the stems, I quartered it. Then it went into a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes.
When the timer went off, I drained off the hot water and cooled the beets with cold water so that I could touch them to remove the skins. Clean of their skins, I threw the beet quarters into my trusty food processor and pureed them.
This one beet actually produced enough puree to make my recipe three times over so I measured out 3/4 cup into two freezer containers and saved the remaining 3/4 cup for my pizza now.
In my mixer bowl, I added one cup of water and two teaspoons of yeast, stirring to mix. Next, I added 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of honey and my prepared beet puree. Finally, I finished it off with 17 ounces of all-purpose flour and stirred with a spoon to mix the ingredients loosely. Then I set my dough hook in place on the mixer and turned it on low. I let it knead for a minute or two then, seeing that the dough was pretty sticky, continued to sprinkle in flour along the sides until it looked fairly smooth.
I turned the mixer off, sprinkled a little more flour on the ball of dough and rolled it in my hands for a minute to make a nice ball. I added a bit of olive oil to a nice big bowl and rolled the ball of dough in it. Lastly, I covered the dough and left it to rise.
Several hours later, I returned to find my pizza crust had grown enormous!
I split it into two balls for two pizzas. Then I spread out a large sheet of parchment paper and greased it with a little olive oil. I turned one ball of dough out onto it, topped it with a dash of oil and laid a second sheet on top. The recipe said to use a rolling pin to spread the crust, but I found it easier to just push down on the parchment paper with my hands. In no time at all, I had a perfect crust, which I flipped onto my pan.
I prepared two sets of toppings for my pizzas:
I got them ready and then popped them into my pre-heated 500-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
When they came out they were beautiful, with their pink pizza crusts. What a unique homemade pizza recipe — sure to be a hit with the little girls in your life!
The final option on my best beet recipes list is an easy home-fermented brew of beetroot wine. It requires very little special equipment, which can be purchased online for about $13 – a one-gallon carboy with airlock. Everything else you probably already have in your kitchen so why not try it?
Begin with two large or three medium beets. Scrub them clean then either run them through a food processor or cut them into small pieces. Add them to a large stockpot, along with a quarter cup of raisins, and fill with about eight cups of filtered water.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in two cups of sugar until dissolved.
Let your mixture cool to room temperature then mix in a half teaspoon of bread yeast. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside for several days, stirring once each day. By the end of the first day mine was bubbling crazily!
After several days, strain out the solids.
My chickens really enjoyed this beet treat. Listen to the rooster crow to tell his ladies there is something yummy to be had.
The liquid that’s left after you strain the solids out goes into your sterilized carboy and gets topped off with the airlock.
Be sure to add water to the fill line on your airlock so that water can get out but not in. This is what mine looked like about an hour after I put it in the carboy.
I love this video because it shows how the yeast are “breathing” during fermentation. Doesn’t it look like they are breathing in and out, releasing a wine burp?
The wine will ferment for about two months. When the bubbles cease and the liquid has clarified, it’s done! See my article on making a great dandelion wine recipe for steps to bottle your homemade brew.
- 2 large beets, scrubbed and diced
- ¼ cup raisins
- 8 cups filtered water
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ teaspoon bread yeast
- Scrub and dice beets or run them through a food processor with shredding blade.
- Add beets and raisins to a large stockpot and fill with filtered water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in sugar until dissolved.
- Let your mixture cool to room temperature stir in yeast.
- Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside for several days, stirring daily.
- After several days, strain out the solids. Pour remaining liquid into a sterilized one-gallon carboy and top off with the airlock. Be sure to add water to the fill line on your airlock so that water can get out but not in.
- The wine will ferment for about two months. When the bubbles cease and the liquid has clarified, it’s ready to bottle.
Do you have some best beet recipes to share? Let us know in the comments below.