Picky Eaters: No Need to Fear Beets, a Subtly Sweet Nutritional Powerhouse

Beets have a wonderful earthy sweetness that makes them a versatile culinary staple.


Mar. 5 2024, Published 12:22 p.m. ET

Woman's hand holds a bundle of three beets in front of a field
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Beets are root vegetables that grow underground, come in various colors, and originated in the Mediterranean. Beets' striking purple and gold hues look different than other seasonal veggies in the produce aisle, making people who've never tried beets, aka beetroot, wonder what they taste like.

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If you're scared of beets' bright colors, know that their taste is much subtler than their appearance.

But still, if you've wound up with a supply of beets but aren't a fan of the taste, we've got you covered with some delicious recipes. Or, if you're really not into the taste, you can even use beets to dye clothing since their pigment is so strong!

Read on to learn what beets taste like, their health benefits, and more.

A farmer holding up a cluster of beetroot in the agricultural zone of Doha during the harvest season
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What do beets taste like?

As noted by the University of Vermont, beets taste like a sweet root veggie with a hint of earthiness.

Overall, their earthy and sweet flavor is much subtler than their bright color suggests.

In a YouTube taste-testing video from produce company Aunt Nellie’s, some of the testers noted that beets taste juicier than expected; people of all ages also love beets, with children, teenagers, and adults all seen enjoying beets in the video.

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Cubed beets out of the oven sitting in tin foil
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Texture plays a crucial role in how people enjoy a food — especially when it comes to foods people may be unfamiliar with, such as beets. If you’re nervous about trying beets, consider the texture.

A whole, sliced beet stays crunchy — until you cook it, making it become more buttery in texture, according to Sweetwater Organic Community Farm.

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Some people who prefer a stronger flavor might rather eat pickled beets. Pickling beets requires soaking them in vinegar (along with salt, sugar, and other spices), which adds a salty tang to each bite. The fine balance of saltiness and sweetness might match your taste preferences even better than the beet’s original flavor profile.

What do golden beets taste like?

Golden beets look and taste similar to traditional red beets, but they’re sweeter and appear bright yellow inside, as noted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Taste testers even report that the golden beet is softer than red beets when eaten raw, per the YouTube channel It’s a Mouthful With the Taste Buds.

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A wooden bowl of beets sitting on a table from Rosemont Grocery store with a beet napkin made by Madder Root Maine
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Are beets good for you? These root vegetables are definitely a healthy choice.

Whether you want to enjoy crunchy beets on a salad or grilled beets on a kebab, and whether you prefer red beets or golden beets, you'll enjoy their health benefits by way of their antioxidants, as noted by research published in Food Science & Nutrition.

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Beets are also full of minerals and vitamins, including fiber, vitamin C, and folate, per the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Plus, each variety of beetroot contains minerals and vitamins that support a person’s overall well-being, per 2021 research published in the Journal of Cancer Prevention.

Sugar beets in a pile on top of a mountain
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Try some delicious beet recipes this week.

Anyone who’s curious about beets should start by trying them roasted. Follow this Roasted Beets recipe from Simple Vegan Blog to craft roasted beets for your salads or as a side dish.

Add red beets to your next soup night by using this recipe for The Best Vegan Borscht from Nirvana Cakery. It combines potatoes, beets, red cabbage, and vegetable broth to slow-cook a savory borscht perfect for chilly nights.

Don’t forget about the possibility of using beets as dessert. Try making this recipe for Vegan Beet Brownies from Rise Shine Cook, which results in healthy brownies with the sweetness of red beets rather than the cane sugar in standard brownies.

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