Hate ’em or Love ’em- Beets?

In food conversations, some dishes get normally unanimous approval and applause. Ice cream, cookies, chocolate, pork belly, brisket and rib eye steak normally spike up excitement in food talk. Sweets and quality meats always seem to be at the top of the list. But there are those select ingredients that can quickly divide the room in half and cause a few brows to frown. Beets are a good example.

We’re big fans of growing beets and eating beets from top to bottom. From fresh beet salad greens to roasted beet roots, these colorful tubers keep us busy and satisfied. Unfortunately, there’s another half of the population that can’t bear the taste or texture of beets. “Tastes like dirt!”

A friend of ours stays away from any root that makes him “pee red”. Freaked out the first time he ate beets as an adult.  Thought he had internal hemorrhaging. The “unusual” color isn’t an argument we’ll contest with. Although, there are white beets to resolve this issue.

Another friend shrieks from the word “beets” because it brings back horrible memories of her grandmother forcing them to eat beets out of the can.

And then there’s a more daring group of pals that adore beets, in any shape or form. These are the peeps we talk and feed liberally when it comes to beets.

So our  population of food friends seems to be pretty much split in half. There are the haters and the lovers and rarely does anyone ever sit on the fence when it comes to beets. You either will eat it, or pass it to Mikey.

What’s your take on beets? Are you a hater or lover?

Beet Lovers,

Diane and Todd

gold beets

white beets (albino beets)

long red beets


{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Rita Mercer

    Love beets fixed any way, just read recipe for the balsamic vinegar and beet salad, am roasting mine right now (never had them that way before) they’ll be good regardless. Yum!!

  2. Jim

    Have you ever baked beets? We did that last year then froze them. Much better than canned.

  3. Larry Stuckey

    I love beets and grow them, I never knew there was white beets untill I found one growing with my red beets. Getting ready to try it :-)

  4. Kelly

    I’m 30 years old and never knew I liked beets until I had them freshly roasted in a salad. I had tried the canned beets and thought they were disgusting, period. So glad I’ve seen the light, they are a beautiful and delicious vegetable….

  5. Darcie

    I’m a beet lover!!!! My family not so much. But that just means more for me:)

  6. Elaine

    Lover. Definitely. And converter.

  7. yang

    My fiancé and I love beets and always pick up some from the Santa Monica farmer’s market weekly! Since you grow them you must have many ways to prepare beets? Would love to see some recipes!

  8. emiglia

    I love beets, but I’ve never seen a lot of these variations! I just had classic red beets in my salad for lunch… I don’t think they taste like dirt; they taste like candy.

  9. Jenni

    I am a huge beet lover! I had them for the first time not long about and now I can’t get enough of them!

  10. Gretchen

    roasted, pickled, hot, cold, with vinaigrette or goat cheese or butter or nothing…even out of a can! I will eat beets here or there, I will eat them anywhere! (hey, it’s almost Dr. Seuss’s birthday, ok?)

  11. EatLiveRun

    love love love…especially when roasted and combined with fresh goat cheese!

  12. Side Stitches

    I too love beets! I think the color is beyond gorgeous and the flavor of a roasted beet makes me do the happy dance. I wrote up a post for a wonderful beet tart recipe on my new blog, http://www.sidestitches.blogspot.com. Come visit. Thanks for sharing your love of beets. Your pictures are truly inspiring!

  13. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul

    Like you, and many of the people who commented, I LOVE beets.
    My favorite beet recipe is beet tamarind chutney!
    I’m currently producing my own cooking show and for the latest episode I make the beet tamarind chutney. I haven’t finished editing it yet, but it’ll be on my blog soon!

    I love your photos. Beets photograph so well!

  14. Elizabeth

    I love beets in every way, shape and form – I think the only way I haven’t tried them is raw! I even ate an entire can of sliced beets directly from the can the other day. I am partial to roasted beets with balsamic dressing or pickled beets, straight from the jar. Yum! And beet greens are divine as well. I have a soft spot for any food that I can eat from nose to tail, but in the vegetal sense.

  15. terri

    i’ve always loved beets–but after trying this recipe, it’s hard to say whether i love beets or beet greens more! :)

    http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/articles/2009/07/29/beet_greens_salad/

  16. John

    I never liked beets until I got Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” as a birthday gift. Beets roasted with butter, salt and pepper in a foil packet, then cooled and skinned… oh man. So so good.

  17. bea

    i love beets and i have ever since i was little! i even named my blog after them :)

    1. bea

      i forgot the link to my post about beets! as you can see, i love the color
      http://beeeats.blogspot.com/2010/10/beats-on-beets.html

  18. Nancy Baggett

    Funny about foods and peeps’ aversions to them. My hubby will eat just about any veggies except beets, which he despises (and it’s not the red pee that bothers him). Oddly enough I just posted today on foods I abhor: Beets are not on the list, but rice pudding and pigs’ feet are–please, please never make me eat them again. I’d probably starve if I ad to subsist on pigs’ feet–even the smell makes me gag.

  19. Renee F.

    I love red beets!! My favorite thing to do with them is to shred them in a food processor. The saute them with a little EVOO, toast some poppy seeds, grate a little pecorino parmesagan, cook some whole wheat angel hair pasta. Then throw everything into one bowl and gobble down. :)

  20. Michelle

    I quite enjoy beets. And love the pickled beet eggs. Last year, as a personal challenge I made a beet hot sauce. I roasted the beets, onions, garlic, red peppers, hot peppers in the oven before proceeding. The color was phenomenal and even people who dislike beets liked this one.

  21. Marie

    I can’t understand how one would NOT love a beet. How?

    I would love if you would share your favorite beet green recipes! I tried to sautee them once and it did not turn out so well.

  22. katealtmix

    LOVER.

    haven’t tried a warm recipe that i loved but we’re pretty obsessed with them chilled in a little orange vinaigrette. trying them in the garden this year- we’ll see how they stand up to our red clay. but we won’t give up- if the ground is too hard we’ll grab some deck planters for sure- thanks for the tip!

  23. thecookingteacher

    LOVE BEETS – also love that I can get different colored ones at my farmers markets finally! Last year when I successfully got my teenage students to eat and enjoy them was the highlight of my career. How cool is a hot pink vegetable? I dont know why its not more popular with kids just for that reason alone!

  24. shayne

    Guess what, I am on the fench. I love beets that are pickled and will eat them almost every day but give me a plain roasted or boiled beet and I cringe, but I can take them or leave them raw. I have had them at a friend’s house that were roasted (I think they were) with african spices and that was very good.

  25. Sherry

    I wish I knew if I hate or love them but truth be told, I’ve never had a beet before. I didn’t grow up with it and not having eaten them before, I just never tried ordering them whenever they are on a menu simply because I have no frame of reference for this vegetable… It’s hard to order something when you have no idea how it tastes, especially since you don’t know if you hate it or not. I’m not even sure I would be able to do it justice cooking it myself since I have no idea how a beet should properly taste…

  26. yvonne

    LOVE beets! I am the only one in my family to love them and that is just fine by me because I don’t have to share.

  27. Dani Greer

    I love them raw in salads – but my favorite way to eat them is using chioggias sliced raw and on buttered bread. Maybe a little sea salt. One of my fave snacks. Weird, huh?

  28. Nancy-SpicieFoodie

    I love beets! Though I’ve only been able to try the red variety, I’m sure I’d love any of them. The earthy taste and the color makes them taste even better. Gorgeous photos!

  29. Angela (Oh She Glows)

    Gosh those are stunning pictures!
    I used to hate beets, but I must admit, they grew on me. I love juicing them too.

  30. Scott at Real Epicurean

    Love ’em – didn’t used to though. Like Keith (above – or is that below?) my wife is Polish and they cook them in some great ways.

  31. Wokintime

    I’ve recently become a lover of beets. I never really cared for them, maybe it was the way they bled all over the place. But then one day I had an amazing roasted beet and goat cheese salad from the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney and after that, I couldn’t get enough beets.

  32. barbara

    Love,but hated how my grandmother served them – in aspic.

  33. Sanura at MyLifeRunsOnFood.com

    Many many people grew up with the canned versions of beets, myself included. When I first roasted fresh beets, my reaction was surprisedly happy.

  34. colleen

    I love beets, but forget to add them to my diet. Roasted or whatever, bring ’em on. <3

  35. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Love ’em, roasted with honey and orange juice.

  36. karen

    What timing. I couldn’t wait for beets to be in season (I’m in NY) so I just made this great beets sandwich with pickled beets, caramelized red onions, apple slices, walnuts, roasted peppers (believe it or not!), and crumbled blue cheese on multi grain bread.

    http://www.ecokaren.com/2011/02/beets-caramelized-onion-and-apple-walnut-sandwich/

  37. vietfoodrecipes

    beets are healthy, still i’m not used to its taste. I like white beets better, though red beets are more healthy to eat!

  38. Debbie

    Didn’t like them as a kid but I love them now! Roasted over salad greens with a goat cheese is a favorite. A lady at our local farmer’s market sells jars of pickled beets each summer & I always buy a few pints.

  39. pamela

    this is quite a thread…. I like to mash Yukon Golds into a creamy cloud…then cube cooked beets all colors, yellow ,orange red,mahogony and slowly incorporate the cubed beets into the mash…then push a generous slab of butter in the middle and season with freah grated nutmeg, some pepper and salt..MAN you will make this over and over…great all by itself…….

    1. White on Rice Couple

      pamela- wow, thank you for this comment and recipe! must try it soon, you convinced us.

  40. SMITH BITES

    total, absolute, complete beet lover – always have been . . . even back in the day when my mother bought beets in a can . . . now we grown them and we love them even more!

  41. JaniceT

    I love them root to top. I can’t wait for the ground to thaw so I can start some growing in the garden!

  42. bunkycooks

    We love beets! All kinds and prepared in all ways! My favorite method of cooking them is roasting since it brings out so much flavor.

  43. Julia

    LOVE beets! – they’re so delicious when roasted – in australia, everyone eats them on hamburgers – beets have such an affinity with goat cheese (or even labneh) – i love to make a salad with roasted beets, arugula, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts – even my dogs love beets! – i like to roast all kinds of them to get lots of color on the platter

  44. Megg

    I LOVE beets, and I’ve converted a few people from beet haters to beet lovers too.. including my boyfriend. Now he loves it when I cook them. I think it’s all about them being cooked right.

  45. Oregon Coast Gardener

    Grew up hating our home-canned pickled beets, remember how they stained the industrial plastic cafeteria plates our large family used. We canned everything back then, raised our own meat, eggs, dairy, veggies. Then one day I tried Russian beet borscht (sp?) and surprise -loved it. Because I’m an obsessive food gardener I started growing them and fell in love with the beauty of beets- chioggia, cylindra, golden. Discovered the wonder of beet greens! Finally my evolution to “beet lover” was completed with the discovery of oven-roasted beets, simply dressed with balsamic and sprinkled with tangy chevre. Now I grow them every year, and love a fresh grated beet & carrot salad when the leafy greens are played out. Gardening will change your palate.

  46. Pat R

    I’m a lover……………beets served anyway.

  47. Christine

    LOVER. Wish I could find more varieties – may have to resort to growing my own. Almost love your photos more. Those are outstanding – are those from a previous crop of your own?

  48. Story

    I was once a hater. After roasted beets made their way to my plate with some cheese and hazelnuts, I couldn’t stop talking about the virtues of beets. I got strange looks. People asked if I had hit my head. Steadfast I was, and still am, about turning the haters to lovers. If the play of earthy sweet with a salty cheese and a crunchy nut is enough to turn me, there have got to be some potential lovers out there, ready to be revealed. Canned beets just don’t do the vegetable justice.

    So, T & D, what lovely recipes do you have to share? I’m interested to see if you have any unusual cocktails up your sleeve….

  49. dena

    Beet lover! But only fresh beets, roasted. Grew up thinking they were vile, but then cold beets poured straight from the can will do that.

  50. Alyson

    I’m a big fan! Beet latke are one of my favourite things of all time!

  51. cindy

    love beets! always and forever.

  52. Cassie, mamamakesitbest.com

    love ’em :)

  53. Ruthie

    LOVE! Fresh, yes, but home-pickled is my favorite (unfortunately not pickled in my home, but someone else’s). Sweet and tangy. MMmmmmm.

  54. Deanna

    I love beets. The beets I just planted need to grow faster. I love the candy striped beets. They may be the prettiest root vegetable I have ever seen.

  55. Boulder Locavore

    I am a beet eater who WANTS to be a beet lover. I will not go to the dark side of hating, but do confess they taste earthy in such a dense way that I try to eat them without letting them touch my toungue (shhhh). I LOVE them visually. I want to wear them. I’m really trying hard to move past my ‘issue’. I actually out of desparation, and a full root cellar full of orpahned beets not veering toward a culinary end point any time soon, did a call out on my blog last fall for help. I did get a beet gnocchi recipe that was good. But a bit in the family of loving cauliflower smothered in cheese sauce. Your beautiful photographs have reinvigorated my conviction. I will embrace my vast current collection of winter-stored beets and honor them as they deserve….maybe swilling a cocktail on the side just to take the edge off for me.

  56. Cynthia A.

    Love them! Cooked, raw, pickled, hot, cold. Yummmmmy!

  57. Cooking with Michele

    I think people think they hate beets because they’ve only ever had pickled beets out of a can. I love them roasted or turned into beet chips (recipe on my site!) – and when I have beet “haters” try them this way, they are converts!

  58. Donna A.

    LOVER! But if you’re a Hater don’t discard the beet greens. Well rinsed and cooked they’re high in folic acid, an essential B vitamin.
    I once made a Divine Devil’s Food Cake that had a “secret ingredient”…BEETS! They give the cake a deeper color, depth of flavor, and moistness, plus the beet sugars in beets help too – SWEET!

  59. Pete

    Love em top to bottom too!!Beet greens are so good. Just had a beet salad with blood oranges for lunch at Mediterranean Village Rim in San Clemente-try this little place–incredible!

  60. Lisa

    Love the pictures of them HATE to eat them!

  61. Liz the Chef

    It took my until mid-life to discover the joys of beets – golden are my absolute favorite!

  62. Candela

    We LOVE them! We had tomato,chives & beet leaves frittata for lunch today ! Delizioso ! & so pretty that I took a photo of it!

  63. Kim

    I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurb me some beets! :)

  64. Another canuck

    Love them. All of them, any color. My husband used to hate them until he tried “candy stripe” beets. Now he is a convert and will happily eat gold, striped, white, yellow, in fact any color except red. The red remains to “earthy” flavored for him.

  65. Madeline

    Just found this on “growing up Italian” The Rubies are the beets. Worth trying?

    Recipe from a Guest, Mary Ann Coletti
    Posted October 24, 2010 by Edward Iannuccilli
    Categories: Food, Recipe
    Tags: Recipe, Spaghetti

    This is one of my favorite pasta dishes. Simple and very satisfying. It comes out of Michele Scicolone’s book “A Fresh Taste of Italy”
    Spaghetti with Rubies
    (Spagheti con Rubini)

    2 bunches of beets (8 medium beets, about 2 pounds)
    1/3 cup olive oil
    2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    Pinch of crushed red pepper, or to taste
    Coars salt to taste
    1 pound thin spaghetti or linguine (I have also used bucatini)
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 F
    2 Trim the tops and stems off the beets.(if tops are fresh blanch, chop and add to skillet with beets) Wash the beets under cool running water and scrub them with a brush. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. (pierce with a knife) Let cool, then peel and coarsely chop the beets (dice)
    3. In a skillet large enough to hold all of the pasta, combine the olive oil garlic and red pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic is fragrant and the oil is sizzling. add the diced beets (and greens if using) and turn them in the oil mixture until heated through.
    4. Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. Add salt and the spaghetti. Cook until the spaghetti is almoxt al dente, tender yet firm to the bite. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water

    5. Pour the spaghetti into the skillet with the beets. Add some of the cooking water. Simmer over medium heat, constantly turning the spaghetti with the beets, until the pasta is evenly colored about 2 minutes.
    6. Serve immediately.

    In the summer I always have fresh mint available. Chop a handful and add to the finished pasta. The subtle flavor of mint adds anothe layer of flavor to the dish. Enjoy!

    Comments: Be the first to comment

  66. karen d

    Love pickled beets with blue cheese.YUM. Have you got any tips on growing them? I tried last year and didn’t have any luck. Thanks.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We just plop the seeds down in our wine barrel or raised planters. They seem to like our weather and the soil. And the drip irrigation. We can’t grow ours straight into our “natural soil” here. Too hard and too much clay no matter how much we try to amend it. The pots and planters seem to be our best choice. Good luck.

  67. Cookin' Canuck

    I used to be a hater, but have since been turned to the red side. Those gold beets are beautiful. What is their flavor like compared to the red beets?

  68. Janet

    I started loving beets when I lived in the country outside Boulder, where we had an amazing, huge organic garden. Colorado is beet country (did you know that?), and long ago there actually was a sugar mill not far north of here that turned the plentiful sugar beets into processed sugar. Anyway, I digress. The beets from our organic garden were earthy and sweet and substantial and delicious. How could I resist?
    Then I married a bonafide beet hater. His family tells stories of him crying when he was served beets as a child, but I was convinced it was just an irrational prejudice. As a beet enthusiast and eager newlywed, I was sure I could find a way that he would like them, to no avail. I finally accepted that he had a true hate for the flavor when some baby beet greens were disguised in a spring salad of mixed greens and I watched him literally *shudder* when he tasted them.
    Now, I just have beet orgies when he leaves town on a business trip and make big vats of Russian Cabbage Beet Borscht and Roasted Beets with Balsamic and Goat Cheese and all sorts of other beet delights. I pee pink for a week and am very very happy.

  69. Madeline

    Not impressed with beets, the only way I eat them is Pickled Beet Eggs in honor of my mother, my mother always made this recipe at Easter. Hard boiled eggs in a vinegar- canned beet, brown sugar marinade. The hard boiled eggs were a lovely purple color. I may try them again as a shaved item in my salad, running out of vegetarian ideas! Thanks for reminding me they exist!

    1. Casey@Good. Food. Stories.

      Yes to pickled beet eggs! It was a family favorite for us western Pennsylvanians too.

  70. Laura

    I love them! Small, roated, with a simple shallot vinaigrette, delicious! Red pee, who cares, it is just natural pigments, it beats the asparagus pee for sure.

    Any recipe suggestions?

  71. Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)

    I like beets. I don’t eat tons of them and am only learning to appreciate pickled beets, but I do grow and enjoy cooking with beets in season. My favorite is the chioggia variety which has a lovely red and white bullseye pattern when cut through horizontally.

    I am the winner of the knife in the beet weigh off last year. I adore my New West Knifeworks knife! I carry it to cooking classes and my family fights over who gets to use it.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Rachel- hi! we’re happy that you love the knife and again, congrats. xo

  72. TheKitchenWitch

    Mostly, I’m a hater. Although I LOVE beets when they’re cold and thinly sliced in a salad. So I guess I’m a hot beet hater. Lordy, I am strange.

    ps: Jen Yu is not a slob.

  73. indosungod

    Love beets. Never knew there was white beets though! Does it taste like turnip?
    But mine is a family of beet lovers. From beet root rice, beet raita, stir fried to beet halwa these tubers are versatile.

  74. Liz

    Lover, especially when they are roasted or have goat cheese crumbled on top!

  75. Phoo-d

    I love beets and am slowly working on converting Mr. B into a beet lover. He started out claiming that they taste “like dirt” and now after roasted beet salads and a few other dishes is slowly changing his mind. I think they are one of the most beautiful vegetables!

  76. Alison

    Love! Some of our favorite dishes include roasted beets with spiced quinoa and yogurt, false Mahshi (a layered dish of beets, beef, chard, and rice), and sweet and sour beets and mushrooms served over white grits. The first two are based on recipes from the NY Times.

  77. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)

    I LOVE beets but didnt used to. Getting a CSA box in San Diego changed my life, and my take on beets. Beets are the kings (or queens!) of the plant kingdom in terms of iron. I never once took an iron pill when I was pregnant. I had perfect hemoglobin. I just ate lots of beets :)

    Your pics are breathtaking. And make me want to roast some beets!

  78. David

    love

  79. Jen Yu

    LOVE!! But I hate that they stain my clothes. Okay, I guess what I hate is that I’m a slob :(

    1. dawn

      I love this reply… I feel your pain… Love Beets but they are messy by themselves…but add me into the equation and get out the goggles! :).

  80. Nicole

    I am in the beet lover category. Luckily I was very far into my beet loving years before I realized they were those things I was forced to eat out of a can as a child. I may never have tried them had I found this out earlier.

  81. Keith

    I was a hater years ago, now I’m a lover. My Polish wife Kasia made my favorite beet dish last night – “barszcz czerwony z krokietem” (clear beetroot soup with croquette). It was delicious, of course, but one of my favorite things to eat are the “spent” beet slices after they’re removed from the broth. So good! Another favorite dish is “buraki z chrzanem”, a simple shredded beet salad with lots of horseradish.

  82. Susan

    LOVE beets–any color, any shape, any way!

    1. Michelle

      I agree. I have never had a fresh beet that I didn’t gobble up. They are amazing, sweet, colorful and utterly versatile.

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