There’s no better feeling than bringing in a bumper harvest from the garden, but when you find yourself with an overabundance, it can be hard to know how to deal with it.
Homegrown produce can be distressingly perishable, and it makes no sense to squander your efforts by letting it go to waste.
Let’s say you you’ve found yourself with an excess of beets this season.
If so, it’s time to think beyond boiling and roasting and get a little more creative in the kitchen.
This article will share 33 of the best recipes that uses beets as the star of the show.
After you’ve tried out some of these suggestions, you might feel inspired to double your garden plot next year.
But first, let’s explore why beets are worth growing in the first place.
Why Grow Beets?
Though not a flashy crop, beets are well worth mastering for the home gardener.
This hardy root vegetable can withstand chilly temperatures and thrives with a short growing season, which makes it one of the first crops you can harvest in the spring and fall. Both the root and greens are edible, and many beet varieties are sugary enough to be suited for desserts.
But don’t let their sweetness trick you, beets are packed with nutrition. One serving of beets contains just 44 calories but plenty of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, folate, and other health-promoting nutrients.
This root’s high fiber content will help you manage your digestive health, and there’s even evidence that regular eating beets can help your body use oxygen more efficiently, which consequently leads to better athletic performance. If that’s not enough, there’s also evidence that the bright pigments in beets may work to reduce the growth of cancer cells.
How To Harvest Beets
Beets are ready to be harvested from the home garden after 40-50 days after planting.
Baby beets (beets harvested when smaller than a ping pong ball) tend to be sweeter and more tender, but any size under three inches is fine.
Note that beets get more fibrous the longer you leave them in the ground and that they taste sweetest when harvested in the late spring and fall.
If your interest is the greens, harvest them when at least six inches tall. One idea is to plant your beet seeds densely and then use the greens of the plants you thin out as the season progresses.
How To Store Beets
You can store beets in the fridge for up to a week, though greens should be used the same day as harvesting, so they are as fresh as possible.
For a longer-term storage solution, beets can last in a root cellar for two to five months.
You’ll first want to remove the beet tops to a half-inch above the root and then pack them in layers interspersed with damp sand, sawdust or peat moss in a plastic container with a tight lid.
When buying beets, it’s best to purchase ones with the stems and leaves still intact, as this is a sign of freshness. Look for firm beets with smooth, dry skin that’s free of dark spots.
How To Prep Beets
Beets come in bold colors, and they can stain your hands and prep space when you’re working with them. That’s why it’s usually best to wear kitchen gloves and use plastic cutting boards when chopping into them.
To start, you’ll want to scrub the beets with a vegetable brush and water to remove any caked dirt, and then peel them with a vegetable peeler.
Beet skins are healthy, but they tend to be tough and bitter, so most recipes recommend you remove them.
Once your beets are prepped, you’re ready to put them to use. The following 33 brilliant ways to use beets should serve as inspiration for getting started.
33 Brilliant Beet Recipes
1. Mashed Beets
If you want a low carb substitute for your favorite mash potato recipe, steam beets whole and then mash them with a potato masher before blending in butter, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Cured Fish
You can add a rosy hue to your cured salmon with two medium beets. Find the recipe here.
3. Pickled Beets
If you’ve never tried pickled beets, you’re in for a treat.
Pickling is one of the best ways to preserve beets for multi-year storage, and you can personalize the recipe to include hard-boiled eggs as well. Make sure to process them in a boiling water canner for at least ten minutes if you’re not going to eat them within a month.
Here’s a great recipe for pickled beets.
4. Sandwich Topper
Cooked beets sliced thinly are excellent on sandwiches, especially when paired with a sharp flavor like goat cheese or horseradish.
5. Beet Fries
Craving fries without the calories? Thinly slice beets and oven roast them to a crispy texture for a perfectly dippable snack.
6. Salt Roasted Beets
If you have plenty of salt on hand and want to bring out all the nuanced flavors in your beets, consider salt roasting them.
Just arrange the beets in a baking dish, completely cover them in kosher salt, and bake for an hour at 375 degrees before peeling and enjoying.
7. Beet and Grapefruit Salad
Looking for a tangy side dish to get you through the heat of summer? Follow this recipe to enjoy roast beets paired with alfalfa sprouts and ruby red grapefruit.
8. Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza
One perk of homemade pizza is experimenting with flavors not commonly found on takeout. Pair sliced beets with goat cheese and sourdough crust for a combination worth celebrating.
9. Spicy Beet Ice Cream
Their natural sweetness makes beets a perfect pairing for homemade ice cream, and this recipe kicks things up a notch with the addition of cayenne pepper and cinnamon.
10. Beet Ketchup
Forget tomatoes, beet ketchup is a condiment worth celebrating. This recipe creates a dipping sauce that’s a little more sour than traditional ketchup for a perfect accessory to sweet potato fries.
11. Magenta Rice
Do you want to add a pop of color to your bland looking rice dishes? Add shredded beets as the last step before serving to transform them into a brilliant pink. Try it with risotto!
12. Beet-Tomato Soup
Try this modification to a time-tested favorite by substituting beets for half the tomatoes in your soup recipe to create a lighter, yet more complexly flavored dish.
13. Beet-Potato Latkes
Add some color (and fewer calories) to your fried potato cakes by substituting half the shredded potatoes for beets instead.
14. Beet Chia Pudding
Chia seeds add great texture to homemade pudding without packing on calories, and you’ll get a subtly sweet flavor by using beets as called for in this recipe. For another memorable combination of beets and chia seeds, try out this smoothie recipe.
15. Beet Hummus
Chickpeas aren’t the only option for incredible homemade hummus. Embrace your pink side with this eye-catching alternative.
16. Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs
There’s a reason why deviled eggs are often the first to go at potlucks- they are delicious! Enjoy this hot (pink) take on a classic favorite by using hard-boiled eggs that were pickled in beet juice for an hour before preparing (recipe here).
17. Soy-Marinated Beets
Are you looking for a plant-based snack to serve with Asian seasonings? Then braise beets in soy sauce and vinegar for a savory side dish that won’t make you miss the meat. Learn how here.
18. Beet Berry Bowl
19. Beet Juice
One of the best ways to take in beet’s nutritional qualities is from fresh beet juice.
If you own a juicer the process is easy – just cut into quarters and feed in the machine.
Otherwise, finely shred the beet, place in a cheesecloth, and squeeze out the juice into a measuring cup. You can store it for up to three days in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays for a flavor-packed addition to smoothies.
Bonus: Get even more nutrients by juicing the beet greens as well!
20. Beet and Radish Pickles
Enjoy a crunchy condiment that’s excellent served with scrambled eggs or fatty cuts of meat. Best of all, this recipe makes use of two of the earliest crops from the garden. Find the method here.
21. Sauteed Beet Greens
Consider beet greens as the bonus product you get from growing or buying yours fresh, and prepare them stovetop as you would kale or collards. They can even be eaten raw in salads if you harvest them from baby beets.
22. Chocolate Beet Donuts
Not only do beets make these donuts moist and delicious, but they also add gorgeous coloring to the frosting without making you turn to artificial dyes.
23. Grilled Beets
Forget burgers, beets may be the stand out at your next barbecue. Grilling beets candies their sugars and creates a smoky, earthy flavor. Peel and slice beets and package them in aluminum foil after brushing with oil, salt, and pepper. You can cook them in the foil packet on a medium-hot grill for thirty minutes, or until tender.
24. Beet Ginger Cocktail
Looking for a way to relax after working in the garden? This spicy gin cocktail perfectly pairs ginger and beet juice for a gorgeous yet refreshing drink.
25. Beet Gnocchi
Enjoy the balanced flavor and bright pink hue of these homemade dumplings in your next pasta dish!
26. Beet Tartare
Channel the flavoring of beef tartare by topping shaved cooked beets with capers, onions, and other flavor-packed ingredients for a fun vegetarian alternative to the classic dish.
27. Beet Frittata
Trying to use up some extra eggs? You can get rid of leftover beets at the same time by mixing them in your favorite frittata recipe.
28. Beet Mozzarella Salad
Blend your favorite cooked grain with cubes of roasted beets, toasted almonds and fresh mozzarella for a protein-packed salad with a perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors.
29. Beet Brownies
No one but you will guess the secret ingredient in these paleo-friendly brownies, and the beet puree you use to make them is so good you’re forgiven for eating it on its own.
30. Beet Salsa
Once you try this homemade beet salsa, you’ll never go back to traditional jarred varieties. All you need to do is broil beets until they are charred yet tender inside, then chop them up and mix with salsa ingredients like garlic, cilantro, and spicy peppers. This recipe can serve as inspiration.
31. Beet Red Velvet Cake
If you love the coloring of this classic dessert but don’t want to expose your family to artificial dyes, an easy solution is to add a little beet puree to the recipe instead. Healthy and gorgeous!
32. Beet Chips
Thinly slice beets and coat with oil and salt before baking until crispy. This recipe for homemade beet chips is just that easy.
33. Beet Veggie Burgers
Put the ground beef aside and enjoy these tasty black bean burgers that are packed with quinoa and beets as well.
Best Beet Varieties to Grow at Home
Feeling inspired to grow your own beets for an abundant supply next year?
Choosing the right variety is almost as important as committing to a recipe. Consider one of these time-tested types for starting out.
Detroit Dark Red: You’ll get perfectly round red beets with firm, sweet roots.
Bull’s Blood: These early season beets form pink rings and grow deep red leaves that are prized in salads.
Chioggia: Renowned for their gorgeous concentric stripes, Chioggia beets adds a pop of interest to any dish.
Early Wonder Tall Top: Best grown in chilly conditions, these beets produce uniform roots and tall, tasty leaves.
Touchstone Gold: This smooth, golden beet has excellent germination and retains its color when cooked.
Golden Detroit: Sweet yet milder in taste than most beets, this variety is known for winning over picky eaters.