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I may be ready to try to not hate beets

As a kid, I developed a real hatred of beets, but I only had the red ones out of a can. The smell and texture still bother me to this day, and they remain the only food aversion I have as an adult. I was searching for some interesting Thanksgiving side dish recipes and I came across some using root vegetables, including golden beets. I assume fresh vs canned is a big difference. How about golden beets vs red ones? I'm thinking of taking a big step.

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  1. I also hate beets and hadn't eaten them in years. I decided to give them another shot this year and bought some golden beets at the farmer's market. They are supposed to be a little sweeter than the red ones. Frankly, I didn't like them any better. I'm sure, though, that you'll hear the opposite from beet lovers. I don't know why people feel that they have to learn to enjoy foods that haven't appealed to them in past. I'm all for giving something another try, but I don't feel guilty about disliking a food that others are crazy about. We all have different tastes. Buy yourself a few beets at the supermarket and see what you think. There's no sense in waiting until Thanksgiving and spoiling your meal with something you won't like.

    1. 1.Fresh is best.
      2. Golden is easier to deal with
      3. Roasting is wonderful (I peel before rather than after)
      4. You probably don't like the kind of sweet-and-sour approach to beets that was common in the past. You are not alone.


      Most importantly, beets taste like...sweet corn. If you were to dice beets finely to the size of corn kernels, in a blind tasting you would be amazed at the similarity in flavor.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Karl S

        I'm not denying the validity of your claim, but your taste buds and mine must work differently. I love corn, loathe beets, and don't find any resemblance in flavor or texture between them.

        1. re: cheesemaestro

          Texturally they are different, but that can be minimized if diced (which makes the otherwise obvious grain of beets much less obvious).

          I was a beet hater until 2 years ago, when I discovered the similarity in tastes in a dish at a restaurant. The beets were roasted, not caramelized nor given any extra sugar or vinegar counterpoint. I discovered their flavor was hard to distinguish from the corn kernels. (And, if you use golden beets, the visual differences are not as great).

          After this, I discovered that other people have noted the similarity in flavor, too.

          I generally dislike overly sweet vegetables: I only like carrots in certain ways, for example.

        2. re: Karl S

          +1 on tasting like sweet corn. Very similar taste. Plus beets are nutritionally awesome and pooptastically colorful. Try roasting them with other colorful root veggies like squash, pumpkin, potatoes, and carrots drizzled w/ olive oil and sprinkled w/ salt, pepper and garlic. It's good and no one veg stands out enough to repulse you if you have an aversion to it.

          1. re: GoodGravy

            re: "...pooptastically colorful." Yes, and great fun for kids...as long as you remember that you ate a bunch of beets. Otherwise, you might have a moment of panic at the shocking color in the bowl!

          2. re: Karl S

            Beets taste like sweet dirt. Corn tastes like corn. I think this is one of those palate things. Some of us just can't be sold. I wish I could--they're just gorgeous veggies.

          3. As silly as it sounds, I learned that I liked beets by adding fresh shredded beets to my salad at the Whole Foods salad bar. I wasn't totally sure what it was, but it was pretty and colorful, so on the salad it went. You might try that - raw, shredded beets mixed in with a salad and dressing you like. Cooked beets have a stronger taste, imo, and the raw ones just taste sweet and not as earthy as cooked. From there, I tried roasted beets with butter (yum) and now I love beets. I prefer the red beets to the golden - they have more beet flavor and a better texture.

            2 Replies
            1. re: akq

              Great suggestion! Those fresh, shredded beets always taste so mild.

              1. re: akq

                I love raw beets. I frequently make a salad of them shredded with sliced onion, lots of fresh herbs (usually cilantro, mint or marjoram, depending on my mood- they all work well) and sliced chiles, dressed simply with lemon juice. It's even better topped with feta or shredded haloumi cheese.

              2. I think beets taste like dirt. I can stomach borscht w/ lots of sour cream but don't go out of my way to eat it.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sparkareno

                  This. Just like dirt to me. I've just accepted that I lucked out in the cilantro dept, lost out on beets.

                  1. re: sparkareno

                    I agree that beets taste like dirt. However, that's one of the main reasons why I like them: they taste like dirt in the best possible way.

                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                      I completely agree. Yum. Plus good fresh beets come with good leafy greens. I get an absurd thrill using so much of a vegetable.

                  2. I understand food aversion even though I am a beet lover.

                    I don't like the pickled ones in the can; but I love fresh roasted beets.

                    1. I also hated beets (canned and boiled) until I had them roasted. Makes a huge difference.

                      1. As a beet lover as far back as i can remember (fresh, canned, pickled, roasted) I never understood how anyone could object to them. Finally someone explained that they just tasted like dirt. With that awareness I tried them, and i can taste what they are talking about. Fortunately for me, it is a subtle under-taste, and not one that is really bad for me. On the other hand, I am one of those who thinks that raw/fresh cilantro tastes soapy - although I like the flavor cilantro can add to a dish, so long as it doesn't overwhelm.

                        I think the idea of introducing them in small amounts to foods you like is probably the best way to proceed. That is how I learned to eat asparagus, a food i disliked intensely since I was young. Found the least objectionable (fresh, steamed just enough to brighten, not to cook) and served with a dip i happen to like (no, I'm not fond of hollandaise).

                        Good luck, its always worthwhile to attempt to enjoy flavors that used to be unpleasant. For me asparagus, fish, cilantro. Still to go oysters/muscles, sauerkraut, okra, and a few others.

                        1. Pickled beetroot is almost a necessity to go alongside stew in this household.

                          As for fresh, roasted is best, IMO - although I'll happily eat it any way. I love the earthy sweetness. Where I am, it is easy to buy fresh, pre-cooked, beetroot in any supermarket or greengrocer - saves a lot of cooking time.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Harters

                            Trader Joes has cooked baby beets in the refrigerated produce section. They are small and sweet and easy to eat cold or heat up.

                          2. My husband had the same aversion, but I converted him with oven roasted beets. I cut the top and tail off, wrap in foil and bake like a potato until tender. They will be far more sweet and less earthy than made any other way. Veggies in the cabbage family (I think beets are?) get bitter when boiled (this is why boiled cabbage is so nasty while sauteed cabbage is delicious). Anyway, roast the beets, cool them and serve on a salad with toasted walnuts, goat cheese and a sweet mustard vinaigrette. This is now a mainstay at our house. Beet haters just haven't had them made well. They will disagree. They will be wrong ;)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Procrastibaker

                              Beets (along with chard and spinach) are in the amaranth family, not the cabbage (brassicas/mustard) family. Turnips are from the latter family.

                            2. If you can get your hands on some fresh baby beets (red, golden, candy stripe) they are imho much butter than their larger counterparts.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ktb615

                                Yes, good point. Baby beets, especially roasted with some olive oil and rosemary -- and then ideally topped with a little bit of butter for good measure -- those are lovely, indeed. Also, roasted beets go really well with goat cheese, I think. Maybe you'd like a salad that combined the two ingredients.

                                If there's something about the smell, even after roasting, that you don't like, I wonder if you'd like beets braised with orange juice and orange zest?

                                1. re: cimui

                                  Oooh, I like the citrus suggestion. Orange goes so well with beets, and it might help mask some of the earthy flavour that turns some people off. If I was trying to convert a beet hater, I would definitely consider this route.

                                  I love roasted beets, so I may not have the best perspective to try to convert beet hater. But I do think an important point is to season the beets well. I love cold roasted beets well-seasoned with a very good olive oil and fleur de sel and pepper. Throw a hunk of fresh goat's cheese next to it, and a few slices of orange - yummy!

                                  1. re: moh

                                    hi moh! so glad to see you back, sweetie.

                                    beet, goat cheese and orange is a *wonderful* combination. wonder what would happen if you threw in some bacon, too!

                                    1. re: cimui

                                      Hi cimui! it has been crazy - need to get going on some of my reports...

                                      heh heh heh - Bacon goes with everything.... I like the salty smokiness of bacon against the sweet earthiness of beets. But I am a beet lover. I think there really are people who can never like beets, as evidenced by some of the posts further on. C'est la vie! It's like me and green onions - never the twain shall meet.

                              2. The OP's only had canned beets. I think fresh, whether golden or purple, are far superior.

                                Try this for a little difference:

                                Beet Salad Le Coq Hardi

                                Bunch of beets, peeled and shredded into matchsticks with knife or food processor blade
                                2-3 shallots, diced fine
                                Olive oil for sauteeing
                                1/2 Cup Raspberry Vinegar (Maille brand is very good)

                                Saute the beets with the shallots in a pan for about five minutes, or until still crisp-tender. Take the beets off the heat, and stir in the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Chill and use as a relish on the table.

                                This delectable salad was served by Le Coq Hardi restaurant in Ridgefield, Connecticut with some of its cold appetizers.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: shaogo

                                  I love them roasted but ended up making something similar to this salad when I was pressed for time.

                                  I peeled the beets and shredded them in the food processor, then sauteed them in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Then added some balsamic vinegar and continued cooking until there were some caramelized bits, added a small pat of butter, salt/pepper and a squeeze of lemon. The whole thing took about 8 minutes. And no mess since all the juice was in the food processor, instead of my knife, cutting board, etc.

                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    For beet haters due experiences with cold pickled beets in childhood (the common way to have them in generations past), I don't recommend starting off with any recipe that (1) involves vinegar or boldly sour things (a squirt of lemon or lime, perhaps, at most), (2) overaccentuates their sweetness, or (3) serves them cold.

                                    1. re: Karl S

                                      What is the rationale behind #1? The few times I had beets as a child, they were bland, sweet, and cold so I get #2 and #3.

                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        As I said, for the folks who had them *pickled*.

                                2. I have also been a beet hater since childhood, and the fresh/canned issue is not a question here, since my mother cooked only fresh beets. I not only hated the beets themselves, but the way they slid around on the plate sliming everything else on the plate (invariably very pale things, like fish or mashed potatoes) with their color and flavor.

                                  But the world loves beets, and people's tastes supposedly mature and change and evolve, so every now and then over the years I have given beets a fair chance. to win me over. In that hopeful and experimental spirit, I have sampled roasted beets, pickled beets, boiled beets, beets in salad and beets in soup. It never works. The beets stubbornly persist in being beets. I adore the beautiful magenta color of sour cream mixed into borscht, but all aesthetics aside, it still tastes like beets.

                                  Just a couple of weeks ago I was at a wedding. A fancy and delicious dinner was served in a glamorously darkened hall. On my dinner plate were small cubes of a light-ish colored something I couldn't identify. I put one in my mouth and immediately thought, "Bleeeeh. What is this objectionable root vegetable?"

                                  I realized that I had eaten a golden beet, and that it had just flunked an entirely objective taste test. At that moment I decided to give up on beets forever. So unlike the aspirational subject line of this thread, I have finally made my peace with beets. I am now ready to continue hating them for the rest of my life.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Pumpkinseed

                                    I will give the roasted fresh golden beet a chance, but something tells me my experience will be most similar to yours.

                                  2. I just don't like em. I'll still try them. My csa guy grew some golden and red ones this year. The golden ones were sweeter than sugar, but still tasted like dirt. I just don't like em. I'll still try them tho. They are not like spit outta my mouth bad, and I can certainly see how folks would love the sweetness, but I can't do the dirt taste. It's just too dirt tasting for me to enjoy.

                                    1. is it just me or do beets really taste like something you'd buy from http://www.Ordermeds.ca? i know they are supposed to be sweet but they taste kind of like medicine to me.

                                      1. Pickled beets were a staple in my Grandmother's kitchen. At some point they started to disgust me and I stopped eating beets.

                                        Several years ago I purchased Scott Peacock's (with Edna Lewis) cookbook, "A Gift of Southern Cooking", featuring roasted beets in a ginger sauce and served it at Thanksgiving. Everyone enjoyed them, even some picky teenagers who had never tried eating beets before.

                                        They can be served warm and are also good cold.


                                        1. Bake it and make ćwikła. Cwikla is a mixture of grated (cooked or baked) beetroots and horseradish, spiced with some lemon juice or vinegar and some salt. Served cold - wonderful for cold meats or leftover turkey (in a place of pickles or chutneys).

                                          1. Mark Bittman has a simple shredded raw beet salad on the NYT website. Tasty and easy, and has gotten our family through a lot of CSA share beets. Roasted beets on a salad are also nice w/ goat cheese, but I prefer the raw shredded option.

                                            1. The training-wheels beet recipe:

                                              Cut an equal amount of sweet potatoes and beets, red or golden. Par-steam the beets (I like the microwave) till they give just a bit.

                                              Layer them with onions, milk (or cream, if you're feeling like loosening your pants), and crumbled blue cheese to your liking.

                                              Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.


                                              1. Beetroot chutney (it's an old recipe, so apologies quantities are not metric) - makes about 6lb:

                                                2lb beetroot
                                                1lb onion
                                                1.5lb apple
                                                1lb raisins or sultanas
                                                2 pint malt vinegar (needs at least 5% acidity)
                                                2lb sugar
                                                6tsps ground ginger

                                                Grate the beetroot. Finely chop the apple & onion (use a processor!). Put everything into a preserving pan and simmer until it's thick (probably getting on for a couple of hours). I bottle in Kilner jars and it needs to mature for at least three months before starting to use. It'll last for ages in the cupboard, even when you've opened a jar - we're still using the the 2006 vintage and its fine. Particularly good with cold pork, ham or game but not really one to go with curry.