Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

We Got the Beets

Grapefruit and Beet Salad

I remember how much my mother loved dark purple beets. She always advised: “Fred (her cousin, the doctor) says they’re good for you!” She served them in a salad with sliced onions and Italian salad dressing. It was good, but I wish Mom had known about this Grapefruit and Beet Salad — yum!

Beets, like other root vegetables, are naturally sweet and earthy. They add good nutrition and beautiful color to a meal or a dish. You’re probably familiar with the reddish purple variety (like Mom’s favorite), but be sure to keep an eye out for other common varieties such as golden beets, featured in this comforting Chicken in a Pot recipe, and the pretty Chioggia beets with their candy-cane spirals of red and white on the inside. 

Beets can be steamed, sautéed, boiled, grilled and roasted, or eaten raw. Try these ideas:

  • Go raw! Simply peel beets with a vegetable peeler and then thinly slice or grate – mandolins and food processors come in handy here. Grated beets are sweet and delicious in grain salads like this Wheat Berry Salad with Raisins, Beets and Citrus Vinaigrette. You can also toss grated beets into salsas or use as a garnish for dips and spreads.
  • Beets all the time! Boil beets until just tender when poked with a knife. Cool the beets, and then slip the skin off easily. Store them whole in the refrigerator, then slice or chop when needed and use as desired. Great when combined with other seasonal veggies and tossed with a favorite salad dressing or good quality mayonnaise.
  • Steam and serve as a side dish like in this Tangy Buttered Beets and Beet Greens with Dijon.
  • Add raw or cooked beets to sandwiches. My personal favorite: roasted beets with hummus or tuna salad. A little avocado is nice, too! Try this Beet Hummus with dippers or as a spread.   
  • Add beets to pot roast or beef stew. 
  • Toss with favorite herbs and seasonings in a little olive or coconut oil; roast until tender. You can also roast beets alongside meat or fish. Spice-Crusted Roast Salmon with Ginger Beets is delicious and makes a great table presentation. 
  • Use raw grated beets as a garnish for an assortment of dishes such as soups, stews, cooked grains and meat dishes. For example, top veggie burgers with Greek yogurt or sour cream (or non-dairy alternative), grated raw beets and a sprinkle of dill or chives.
  • Add beets to soups and stews. A traditional Russian soup made with beets is called borscht and can be either silky smooth or rustically textured. Our Borscht with Cabbage and Potatoes is an easy slow-cooker recipe. Serve it with boiled eggs, sour cream and lemon wedges. Add sliced rye bread to complete the meal.
  • Par-boiled beets are great on an indoor or outdoor grill along with onions, portobello mushrooms and rutabagas. Serve as a side or in sandwiches and salads.
  • Cooked beets are delicious in all kinds of salads. Try Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Sherry-Walnut Vinaigrette, Endive and Beet Salad or Roasted Baby Beets with Spinach Salad.

Don’t waste those tops! Beet greens are edible and delicious — similar in flavor to Swiss chard. Be sure to cook them as they have concentrations of oxalic acid, which cooking helps to neutralize. Cook the greens along with your beet roots or save the tops to add to soups or try this Savory Greens Stir Fry with beet greens instead of kale. 

Do you eat beets raw, cooked or both ways? Let me know if you’ve got a great way to serve them.