Beet it

By Mir
June 1, 2010

Friends, Romans, fellow Farmer’s Market nerds: I need your input.

One of the things we do when we go camping is prepare a bunch of food ahead to make meal prep in the wilderness as easy as possible. So—just for example—the second time I attempted falafel, it was delicious and I froze half the (cooked) batch and then we threw it in a pan and heated it up in our wee little camper oven for dinner one night. Easy peasy.

Also, I made a trip to the Farmer’s Market before we left and got some beautiful beets, which I roasted and made into this amazing salad concoction with caramelized sweet onions, feta cheese and a balsamic glaze. Otto and I both love it. And both children… refused to touch it. Even after I (encouragingly) promised them that it would turn their pee a very festive color.

Now; these are kids who eat broccoli, asparagus, eggplant… it’s not that they don’t like veggies. Me, I never ate a beet until I was an adult, and then my first brush was PICKLED beets (which are vile and disgusting), so for years I believed I hated beets. So I ALMOST understand, but not quite.

So, tell me: Beets, yay or nay?


  1. Molly

    Huge yay! I love beets, even pickled ones (pretty much pickled anything). Salads, roasted in winter, especially on pizza with a roasted butternut or red kuri squash base and blue cheese.

  2. Karen/Chookooloonks

    YAY. But fresh, not out of a can, and prepared by a professional chef. If that’s the way they’re done? I’ll order TWO dishes, thank you very much.

    Any other way? Meh.

  3. JXB

    Beets yay!!! They are sweet and purple, what’s not to love. Although Fiona isn’t reliably a fan of anything twice, so she doesn’t always love it. She also likes her food simple – few sauces – so we toss it with butter and pasta, salt, pepper and may an herb and a squeeze of lemon, which makes the pasta a pretty pink.

  4. Susan Getgood

    I like them, but have to be in the right mood for them.

  5. elz

    NAY, yuck, and ew, and gross. Of course, I am the pickiest eater you ever did meet (a texture thing). I’ll eat alot of vegetables, but I do not trust beets.

  6. sassymonkey

    I started buying beets at the farmer’s market a couple of years ago. I roast them and then drizzle them with olive oil, balsamic and fresh ground black pepper. Sometimes I do feta. I think goat cheese would be good too.

    However as a kid? Never. Never, ever, ever ate them. I swore I did not like them, perhaps because all I ever was exposed to was pickled beets.

  7. Sharon

    Roasted beets-yes. Pickled beets-No. I am traumatized from my mother’s beet salad growing up. Gives me chills even thinking about it!

  8. Karen

    YAY!! to that beet salad you put together.. OMG, gotta try it! I will admit that I like pickled beets too.

  9. Motherhood Uncensored

    Definitely an acquired taste, which includes but is not limited to needing to eat them in college after going to the health center for *ahem* because of a little too much *ahem*.

    I like them IN something – like a green salad – generally a creamy dressing, though just plain pickled is good. I got some from our CSA last week and cooked them up. They were a little young and too tangy for my family to eat, but I made them with a lite vinagarette dressing and they were great.

  10. Chris

    I’m pro beets, but Karen is very anti. I grew up eating home pickled beets, but I don’t like them anymore. Roasted beets FTW. Definitely digging your concoction.

  11. Sheila

    Beets… I grew up in the 70s with the gourmet version: straight outta the can. (I vividly recall how the juice would seep into the mashed potatoes.) My brothers and I ate them, but I have to admit the thought kind of turns my stomach now, even though your preparation sounds pretty tasty.

    I say you keep enjoying them and maybe the kids will come around.

  12. Carmen

    Oh, gross. No, no no. Beets are of the devil.

  13. Beverly

    I love beets. But my dad & I are the only ones in the family who do. Rest of family hates them.

  14. Mary Fran

    NOOOOOO – ewww. I do not like them, Sam I am. And my children can wait until they are adults to acquire the taste for them.

  15. sumo

    I’ve only had the home-pickled variety of beets. They are something I don’t seek out, but I’ll eat them when my mom fixes them.

    So is roasting beets pretty much like roasting garlic bulbs (put them on a pan, put a little olive oil on them and stick them in the oven)? I’ll try most anything once.

  16. Grace

    Massive nay. Beets are, in fact, the single worst food on Earth, and the one food I can’t even force myself to eat. I literally gag if I try.

  17. Chuck

    I’ve never been a beet fan, but like you, the only kind I’ve had was the pickled variety. I guess I just tend to avoid them.

  18. Margaret

    I’m beet-neutral, but Husband will eat them like candy.

  19. mar

    Yay beets, esp. little baby ones! Sumo, I like to roast them on the grill in foil packets – olive oil, sea salt, a little bit of thinly sliced red onion, 2 ice cubes, and quartered beets. After, I toss them with some raspberry vinegar and a dash more olive oil, serve them with goat cheese and greens and grape tomatoes.

    Mmmmm … now I’m hungry – but beets seem inappropriate at 10 a.m. …..

  20. Emily in IL

    YAY BEETS! We used to grow them in our garden when we were kids :D.

  21. Suzie

    Huge favorite of mine! Starting when I was very young (canned only), and right up to today (hubby roasts fresh ones).

    And it’s not only the pee that turns colors …

    Actually, I was at a Memorial Day bbq last night where I ate huge amounts of arugula, beet & feta salad. It was amazing.

  22. mamalang

    Beets are disgusting. Sorry. I even had a doctor agree with me. My husband loves them, and I fix him some, and we’ve all tried them, but they are the one vegetable that is not included in the one bite club.

    I will say, I don’t like peas, but discovered I don’t mind them so much when they are fresh. Who knew? That salad does sound yummy…I would have probably just picked around the beets :)

  23. Amanda

    I LOVE beets!

    They remind me of my great-grandma. I ate them as a kid, then didn’t have them for a couple decades. When some arrived in our CSA box last summer, as soon as I cut one open and the smell wafted up, I was instantly taken back to visiting great-grandma’s farm, and the smell of her root cellar.

    Hubby hates them, ODS isn’t a fan either. So I’m on my own.

    Oh, and this post is useless without a recipe :)

  24. Aimee

    Yay! Always loved ’em, even as a kid. My grandfather was a gardener, and when we were kids he let us pick a veggie for him to plant, and I picked beets. Yum, yum. And that salad sounds SO good!

  25. Jamie

    Pickled beets = yay! Not sure I’ve even tried a non-pickled beet. My husband, however, counts beets as one of 2-3 things he does not like. Ever. So, I don’t really make them as they may send him running away.

  26. traci

    I LOVE vegetables – brussell sprouts, asparagus, peas, mushrooms, eggplant, squashes, … pure nirvana! But I can’t stand beets. At all. In fact, it is the only vegetable I will not eat. I cannot even watch someone else eating a beet without gagging.

  27. Javamom

    pickled beets = yuck. agreed.

    roasted beets, cooled down, then drizzled with balsamic vinegar and crumbled feta cheese = YUM! you can add some arugula or parsley to that if you like…DOUBLE YUM!

    Jamie Oliver has some beet recipes in his cook books. Probably his website too. I personally never touched beets either until the last year and now am such a fan I grow them in my little urban veggie garden!

  28. Sharkey

    Like Sheila (hey, that’s my name too!) #11 above, I recall the seeping beet juice. Only with me, it seeped into my milk cup. The SECOND the disgusting canned beet was in my mouth, I was drinking the milk chaser.

    To quote my mom: “You might as well eat them and get it over with. They taste a lot better hot than they will cold!”

  29. hollygee

    Beets, yea and YAY! Love that salad.

    Borscht, both in it’s cold (looks like a raspberry milkshake) variety or hot — both vegetarian — or the hearty Ukranian stew-soup. Yum.

    Of course there is always red velvet cake made with beets :-)

  30. hollygee

    Oh, and raw grated in a salad with grated carrot and toasted sunflower seeds. Yes.

  31. Toni R.

    I love, love, love beets. Pickled or roasted I don’t care.

  32. Stace

    Yay!! In fact I just went outside this morning and my beet seedlings are just poking their little heads above the ground and I did a little dance. I love the greens and the beet itself…so I planted a bunch…I can’t wait until they are big enough to harvest. And for the record…my children won’t touch them either.

  33. dad

    Eastern European cuisine is in.
    It’s time for a borscht revival.

    Just don’t tell the kids it’s made from beets and sour cream.

  34. Megan

    Like ’em. Now. But it took much time and courage because I was also raised on the darn tinned ones. And once? Once Kirk was making stir-fry and asked my mum if she had water chestnuts and she famously answered, “why no. But I do have beets!”

    Yeah. Some scars run deeper than others.

  35. jwg

    Thumbs up for beets. Preferably roasted, but pickled are good. Borscht is great!

  36. Crista

    Yum pickled beets!
    I have never had fresh ones, but after reading all these comments I think I need to go buy one, roast it and eat it with some feta cheese.

  37. Kathy from NJ

    I love them any way but raw. And it’s not the pee that turns red, it’s #2 (at least in my house).

  38. Laura

    NAY!! I want to love beets. Truly I do. They are such a pretty color and everything. But why, oh why, oh why, do they have to taste like racid dirt!?!?! I even made my own roasted beet salad recently thinkging that maybe the trick is to do it myself so I could know FOR SURE no stray particle of dirt was left behind during the cleaning process. Well, no stray particle of dirt was left behind, and I created the most beautiful, deep magenta colored, dirt salad you ever ate. WHY JEEBUS?!?! Why am I the only one that tastes dirt when I eat the pretty, pretty, beets? My mom thought my roasted beet salad in lime dressing was awesome BTW. I thought it tasted like the essence of pure evil. Or perhaps I am exaggerating a tiny bit. But not by much.

  39. s

    ok Kathy’s comment is not making me want to try them! lol but I have never had a beet – I think the whole “borscht” thing just didn’t appeal to me.

    now your recipe with feta etc sounds delicious and I may have to beg for that recipe and try beets!

  40. Kate

    I too was traumatized by pickled beets as a kid. Haven’t ever tried fresh, but I’m expecting some in my CSA box soon. So, I’m encouraged by some of these replies. Thanks!

  41. meghann


    (my husband loves them though)

  42. heels

    LOVE BEETS. Especially fresh. I could eat them as dessert.

  43. StephLove

    I love beets and liked them even as a kid, when I wouldn’t touch any green veggies. My sister is a big fan of most vegetables and will not touch them. My kids, one very picky and the other only moderately so, will not eat them.

    I like them in Russian potato salad. If you boil the potatoes and beets together it dyes the potatoes pink. I also like them roasted with potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and rosemary– a fall and winter favorite.

    I think they are probably high in antioxidants. Most deeply colored veggies are. Not that this kind of argument will sway kids…

  44. Lucinda

    Love them, even as a kid. But I like them cooked with nothing else. I’m a purist. My son will eat them and loves them. My daughter won’t touch them. But she won’t eat eggplant either. lol

  45. Lori N

    Yay Beets! Got a bunch in my own frig to try and recreate a salad I had at a local cafe:

    beets & green apples with raspberry vinaigrette (they also used almonds, but we’re nut free here) served over arugula & topped with goat cheese. Yum.

    Of course, I didn’t touch a beet until after my 40th birthday & my kids won’t eat them either. :)

  46. Carolie

    Yum BEETS! I used to absolutely hate them — but I’d only had them canned, or boiled to death. The canned ones have a funny metallic taste to me. However, now? Roasted low and slow, and tossed with a little butter? Fantastic!

    I also really like the beet hummus (so beautiful on cucumber rounds for a party!) on Elise’s Simply Recipes site: . Try it — it’s astonishingly good, and not particularly “beety”. I made it for a party at my mother’s house, and although most people were a little skeptical or wary, everyone ended up scarfing it all up, including my two beet-hating nieces.

  47. Beth

    I love pickled beets — but they have to be from a quality maker. It’s the one thing I will happily pay 2x the price for rather than buying the store version. Learned that lesson the hard way. And homemade pickled beets are quite tasty too.

    Roasted beets are something I’ve wanted to try and now will add to the weekend food list. Can’t wait! :) I see foil packed dinners on the horizon for Saturday night. :)

  48. Tara

    I LOVE beets, even pickled beets. I hate cleaning/cutting them though because you end up with pink fingers.

  49. Beth R

    Two thumbs waaaaay up here for beets! I grew up growing them in our garden and my German-from-Russia grandmother pickled her own, so I never encountered store-bought beets until I was in college.

  50. Kelly

    Love beets if they are in a salad with goatcheese and vinagerette. :)

  51. jenn

    Big YAY! But I also grew up in a city with a large Ukrainian influence, so borscht and perogies were in my life from an early age. There is still something satisfying about mixing a dollop of sour cream into beet borscht and having it turn an almost unnatural fuschia pink.

  52. Jacqueline

    I adore beets, yum. My grandmother served them frequently when I was a youngling and I never tried them, because they looked scary and my mom doesn’t like them. Eventually I decided to get really wild and crazy and try one and… hey, these are good! Why didn’t anybody tell me?

    Brussels sprouts too, Mom didn’t like them, so we never had them. I found some at the grocery store after I grew up and started living on my own and gave them a try and found a new favorite food!

  53. Jenn

    I love pickled beets. And a KY restaurant we used to go to made a nice beet salad with strong cheese (like gorgonzola or feta) and spinach, I think. It was very good. And beet salad made with pickled beets is very big if you’re Swedish. And I love borscht.

    You can even find recipes for chocolate cake made with beets. But there my advice is to make snack cake instead of a layer cake. Layer cakes have these expectations and beets as an ingredient is not one of them. Anything goes for snack cake, though.

  54. tracy in ohio

    I love pickled beets. Only my recipe though. I actually have a jar of them in the fridge! I make them with canned beets but was thinking about making them with fresh beets. Roasted sounds really good.
    This is the summer of trying new veggies. Last week it was roasted fennel with garlic. Maybe this week it will be roasted beets with feta!

  55. Monique

    *Hangs her head in shame and admits*
    I’ve never had them. Not canned or fresh or pickled. I’ve also never had eggplant, brussel sprouts, kale, or turnips. My mom was not a very good cook and a simple one. It was mostly potatoes, corn, peas and green beans. And rice and beans. LOTS of rice and beans. (We’re mexican-american). I’ve been slowly but surely adding new recipes and veggies to our family’s diet. I guess there is no time like the present to try beets. Hmmm, where is my grocery list?

  56. mamabird

    I have a picture of myself in a high chair with my face and hands covered in beets (cooked Russian style) and to this day I don’t seem to care how they are made, pickled, boiled, Russian-ed, I love beets!

  57. Crisanne

    That’s a lot of opinions on beets! I have no idea really, as I’m not sure I’ve ever tried them. (I was a super picky eater as a child and there are still things I’m learning to like.) I’d like to try them roasted, though never pickled.

  58. Tracy

    That’s funny. I’ve never had a beet, beet but pickled beets are so awesome. I love them! I heard that beets take the iron out of your body. Is that true?

  59. susan

    LOVE beets. especially roasted. so does my daughter, who has been eating them since she could chew. mmm… I think we might just need to have a beet salad sometime this week for dinner!

  60. Mama Bear

    Roasted beets, grilled beets, harvard beets and pickled beets= All Delicious! Yum! But that’s just me, my almost 17 year old, my 20 year old, my 12 year old and my 43 year old Hubby won’t touch them with a ten foot pole.

  61. Daily Tragedies

    YAY! Oven-roasted beets, goat cheese globs, sprinkling of walnuts, and salt and pepper to taste makes for a mighty fine summer dinner. (Or side dish, if you’re feeding people who believe in well-balanced meals, as opposed to being a single 30-something who is just glad it’s not take-out again.)

  62. abbey

    I love them, particularly very fresh, so there are lots in my garden, but hubby and kids, not so much.

  63. Leslie

    Roasted beets and sweet potatoes. My favorite veggies….beets and sweets!

  64. SillyMe

    Nay. I kept thinking that I just hadn’t had them prepared properly. I was the wrong. The only way to prepare beets properly is to leave them out of the recipe. No matter how I had them, they always tasted like dirt and they would infect the rest of the meal so that everything had a lovely dirt aftertaste. I don’t like the taste of dirt. I’ve fallen face first enough times to know. (it only takes once)

  65. Em

    I’m not a big beet fan, but my husband LOVES them so every now and then we have them with dinner. My kids won’t touch them either, but if given the choice of what vegetable to have with dinner they always choose BRUSSEL SPROUTS! lol, weird girls they are, but they are healthy.

  66. SillyMe

    “I was the wrong” *sigh* I need a copy editor

  67. ellbee

    Nay…? Although, I’ve only ever been exposed to the suspicious pickled beets that lurk in the back row of a salad bar, so that might not help their case.

    Also, I’m somewhat prejudiced, as I went to college in northern Colorado where most of the surrounding farm land is growing sugar beets and sweet cracker sandwich! those things SMELL. BAD.
    If anyone reading knows the college of which I speak, let me repeat. It wasn’t just the stockyards…it was the BEEEETS.

  68. Jen

    Nay? My experience sounds a lot like yours – I’ve only had the pickled kind and I HATE them! But now I want to try that salad. So – linky? Please?

  69. Lauren

    The last time my husband and I went out to dinner, I looked at the menu and excitedly said, “ooh, beet salad!” I will order just about anything if it has beets in it. Not five minutes later, a couple sat down at the table next to us, and the woman said, “ugh, beet salad.”

    Beets are about my favorite vegetable, but like you, I never at them as a kid. It seems to be a personal taste thing.

  70. kris

    NAY. Also, gross. They taste like dirt, and have a weird texture. It’s too bad, because they are very pretty indeed.

  71. E's Mommy

    We kept getting them in our CSA boxes last summer and all 4 of us (2 adults and 2 kids) tried them over and over in different incarnations and just…no. We are evidently not a beet family. My kids also eat eggplant, asparagus, carrots, etc.

  72. Wendy M

    My almost-26-year-old, Whole-Foods-employed son who eats things even I shy away from (I have an issue with the texture of tofu sometimes) despites beets. He says they taste like dirt. It’s all good–I’ll take his,please!

  73. Wendy M

    That would be DESPISES beets. He probably despites them too, now that I think about it.

  74. Rasselas

    Speaking of pickled stuff, I’ve recently encountered the horror that are pickled mushrooms. What the hell are these served with? They were utterly disgusting and I had to throw them away. I didn’t even know such a vile thing existed until we bought it by mistake. My plan of eggs and mushroom breakfast did not come to pass.

  75. Miss Grace

    As an adult I love them, but you must understand: beets really DO taste like dirt.

  76. kat

    A big fat no to beets. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last dozen or so years and I adore each and every veggie under the sun except for beets and turnips. Nasty, nasty things.

  77. jFosberry

    I was so anti-beets (in that poo poo way of eek an old fashioned food) until a co-worker exchanged his wedge salad for a beet salad at a fancy work dinner. I expressed my distaste. He kindly asked if I had ever tried them before. When I told him I hadn’t, he so kindly shared. They were delicious, golden beets, regular beets, blue cheese – just all yum. I am a total convert!

  78. Laura

    ooooh… your beet recipe sounds amazing! I grew up on pickled beets in a jar…. Aunt Nellie’s I believe… and I LOVE them still! I think I only tasted a “real” beet once, as a kid, and found it horrifying! But I honestly think I’d enjoy them now. If someone made them for me since I’m not the best cook, ESPECIALLY with something I’ve never, ever made before and have no CLUE how it SHOULD taste! I have a jar of those pickled ones in the fridge right now. Maybe I’ll have some…

  79. Saskia

    Nay. But it’s more a psychological block, since I’m not really sure what beets taste like. They just don’t sound good, except in your recipe (caramelized! that’s a sure fire way to get anything to taste good!)

  80. Nic

    Beets are awful! Family lore has my grandmother (as a child) hiding under the table at a wedding and eating the entire serving plate of beets. She was busted when her stained mouth and fingers looked like she had been eating glass. I have tried beets at various ages (mine) to see if I like them yet but each and every time I realize that they quite simply taste disgusting! I’ve given up and ignore those snake-oil salesmen who try to tell me I just haven’t had them like they make them.

  81. Reb

    Pickled beets, yum, yum, yum. Even canned ones though they’re better from Mum’s garden. Not very keen on raw beets. Never tried them roasted, seems a waste when you could pickle them instead.

  82. Brigitte

    Yay! Though I have to admit it was “nay” until I was about 30. And nobody else in this house will eat them.

    The pickled ones were a staple of the French-Canadian dining tables of my youth, so I thought they were hideous then but they’re nostalgic now.

  83. Aubri

    You know, I may need that recipe… because I’m currently a NAY!!! I’ve only ever had pickled beets, from a can… so I think that must be why I hate them.

  84. MaryP

    YAY!!! Absolutely yay. But I didn’t like them as a child, which I find odd, because they’re not only pretty, but they’re sweet. I have a great recipe for a slightly spicy-hot lentil-beet salad, if you’re interested. Can be a side dish, or, for vegetarians (assuming you could get your resident veggie take a bite) an entree. Nom.

  85. dallimomma

    Nay. Anyway you slice ’em, they taste like dirt.

  86. JennyM

    Beets for the win! I love beets — but I never had them until I was an adult either. Now I love them in all their forms. They taste kind of like a basement, but in a good way.

  87. SillyMe

    @JennyM that is too funny! I’m having a hard time imagining a good tasting basement. It’s like saying “It tastes like sewer rat, only yummy” lol

  88. Paula

    I loooove beets! They were a staple of my Eastern European girlhood table. We only ate them pickled, but now I love them in multiple ways. I have an excellent vegetarian borscht recipe, if you’re interested.

  89. Jennifer

    Yech, Beets taste like dirt to me. I think I’m like those people who say cilantro tastes ilke soap to them. Except they’re crazy, and I’m not.

  90. Sharon

    Yay! Even for pickled…especially for pickled.

  91. Jennifer

    My sister made that salad but with crumbled goat cheese instead of Feta. So good.

    Sorry. After you mentioned that salad I had a hard time following the rest.

  92. Heather

    Wow this topic really brings out the comments! I had beets well prepared at a restaurant last summer, I believe, and enjoyed them, but the only real memory I have of my childhood is the pickled variety. I should try it your way :)
    (Good job with the interestingly-coloured-pee argument, btw, even if it didn’t end up working!)

  93. ellbee

    I just had to jump back in, because, Jennifer? #89? Are you out of your ever-loving MIND? Cilantro does TOO taste like soap.

    (I think I just threw up in my mouth THINKING of cilantro.)


  94. Headless Mom

    yes-fresh, boiled, with just salt and pepper!

  95. mamaspeak

    Beets YUM! My girls will actually choose them over CANDY! When I pointed them out in the grocery store one day they started jumping up & down all excited. Another women, looked at me & said, “Do they know what those are?” They replied in unison, “THEY’RE BEETS!”

    But my kids also eat better than most adults, so maybe we aren’t the best people to ask. If your kids won’t eat them, I’d be more than happy to eat their share, that sounds awesome!

  96. mom, again

    I loved them as a kid, even though in those days they only came in cans. I liked them plain, I liked them pickled. Heated up or cold.

    But, as a grown up, now that I can get them fresh, I never do. Such a mess to clean and cook. Pink everywhere, like the stuff in the Cat in the Hat book. I’m told roasting them in the oven is the best way to cook them. Except they smell like dirt when they are roasting.

    My hubby and kids are beet neutral (Hi Margaret!) so I buy small cans of beets and eat them up myself.

  97. Hecticmom

    Beets and olives are the only two foods that I cannot stomach. so – blech…

  98. Michelle

    No way I would tell the beet to beat it! I could give you a thousand recipes for beets; I married a Russian. Here is simple one for you: 1. boil beets until they are done 2. cool beets, peel, dice into cubes, and place into large bowl 3. pour a large can of mandarin oranges – juice and all – over the beets. 4. Mix and serve. The contrast of flavors is amazing and this is one of my son’s favorites. This is a popular lent recipe in Russia. Enjoy!

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest