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Mar 9, 2010 03:03 PM

Any ideas for making beets more palatable?

Trying to include more veggie variety in my diet and I know beets are so good for you, but I just don't like the "earthy" taste. Any ideas on how to make them taste better?

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  1. Funny, my favorite way to eat beets is to cook those long ones that are shaped like horseradish in foil. I bake them and simply peel them. But if you don't really like the taste of beets, find something you do like. You can alter the taste by such things as pickling them, cooking them in a cream sauce, or even in orange juice with a bit of clove. You can grate them raw into salad. You can serve them in borscht. But no matter what, they still taste like beets.
    Cape Gooseberry makes a beet bread. I have no idea what that tastes like.

    1. Freshness is the most important, so apart from growing them yourself, pick them up from your local farmers' market, preferably from someone who specializes in root vegetables. They taste so sweet.

      Of course, you can also marinate in a red wine vinaigrette with some honey, or dress with some fresh-squeezed tangerine/orange juice for brightness.

      1. I'm slowly beginning to appreciate beets more. My favorite way currently is to make a salad with barley, diced beets, feta and a balsamic vinegarette. Really good if you let the flavors meld for at least a few hours.

        Edited to say that I cook the beets as others have suggested...well washed, wrapped in foil and "roasted" at 375 until tender. The time depends on the size of the beets, so you need to check after 40 minutes or so to see if they are tender. Continue to check every ten minutes until done. After they are tender, let cool enough to handle and then peel and dice.

        1. If earthy tastes are not to your taste, I'd recommend pickled beets. If those are too earthy for you, you don't like beets. Everybody doesn't like everything, there's no shame involved, and there are tons of other things equally good for you that you probably do like.

          1. Beet people will tell you that there is nothing that should be done, they are perfect! Earthy!

            Non-beet people (represent!) will tell you that if you don't like dirt, you don't like beets. Don't force it. It leaves more for the beet people.

            (I think it may be a cilantro-type thing - some genetic predisposition which prevents us non-beeters from appreciating their glory.

            11 Replies
            1. re: shanagain

              But beets and cilantro are so wonderful together!

              Don't cook them- grate them raw into a bowl. Add sliced onion, chiles (jalapeno if you must, but the more fiery ones work best) and a whole lot of cilantro, dress with lemon juice, maybe some cumin. Voila, a wonderful salad or slaw or whatever you want to call it that tastes fresh as a daisy and perks up any meal.

              1. re: TongoRad

                Hmm. Lovely recipe. I shall try it.. with jicama.

                I cannot be converted. Many have tried. I'm like the op, charmedlife - I've TRIED, I swear.

                Ironically, I tend to love everything the more "common" palate professes to detest. But I haven't broken the code. The dirt always predominates.

                1. re: TongoRad

                  You may be onto something, shanagain and TongoRad. As another hound wrote, beets taste like "basement" to me, although I have cooked them many ways in an attempt to appreciate them. Cilantro doesn't taste soapy to me - just acrid and miserable. I wonder if there's an anti-beet gene that somehow pairs with the anti-cilantro gene......

                  1. re: greygarious

                    I don't know, cilantro does taste slight soapy to me at times, but I love it, and have a bunch in the fridge at all times. Curious.

                    An aside, I've actually eaten what is supposed to be the best dirt in the US, Alabama's red/purple clay dirt, as a child. Though I know some people actually crave said dirt, I was also not a fan. My sister loved every minute of it.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      I only have one of those genes. I've been spitting out beets since my Mom tried to give them to me as baby food. I try them every 6 months or so to see if I still detest them. So far, GACK!!!

                      But I LOVE cilantro! I double the cilantro in my salsa recipe, sprinkle it on all sorts of stuff, and am never without a bunch in my fridge, "just in case."

                      Maybe if I try Tongo's slaw (and double the cilantro, ha) I won't want to hurl at the mere smell of beets?

                    2. re: TongoRad

                      I do this all the time! I use the food processor though, so that I don't turn my kitchen neon pink. Friends love it, and they've used leftovers on tacos.

                    3. re: shanagain

                      Thanks for all the replies! And yes, it may be that I just don't like beets, because as you said Shanagain, I don't like the taste of dirt (also don't like alfalfa sprouts for the same reason). My kids will sit there and eat a bowl of beets - they love them! It does make me feel like there must be something wrong with me - LOL! Before I give up though, I'll experiment with the pickled variety.

                      1. re: charmedlife

                        I looove beets - especially in good borscht - but alfalfa sprouts? I'd rather get down on the lawn and mow it with my mouth. It's not that they taste of dirt, to me, though: it's just that they're so acidy-green tasting.

                      2. re: shanagain

                        I think it has to be genetic...I just can't stand beets in any way, shape or form. I used to detest the canned ones my mom would serve when I was a kid, and even now, I tried a roasted beet sandwich(with goat cheese and some other stuff) because the waiter assured me they taste nothing like canned beets. To me, they tasted exactly like the canned stuff. I don't even like them roasted with other root veggies, the beets have a strong taste that I simply do not like. Wish I did, though, since they're so good for you.

                        1. re: Fromageball

                          I cooked beats, blended them, baked them into a sweet pastry dough, sugar coated it, carefully slit a Pop Tarts pacaage, inserted the beet pastry, resealed package and our beet-hating kids absolutely loved them! Packaging! Goo (sic) figure!
                          Beets me!