- Food and Cooking
9 Delicious Sweet Beet Recipes - Beetroot Desserts
Beets make great desserts - scroll down for my favourite recipes
Many people love pickled beets or beet salad, but did you know that you can also use this purple vegetable in smoothies, ice-cream, cupcakes and more?
Their sweet, earthy taste and intense pink flesh make them a unique and attractive ingredient in many sweet dishes, and will have dinner guests amazed by the originality of a beet dessert.
They're also cheap, delicious and very good for you. This time of year, beets are easily available, plentiful and just waiting to be transformed into a sweet and healthy preparation. So scroll on down and discover some creative ways to use this beautiful vegetable.
Beet juice, beet cake, beet ice-cream...
Beetroots are one of my favourite vegetables. I can go through dozens of beets every week and never get sick of their sweet, earthy taste. They're great roasted in salads, pured in creamy soups, and grated fresh into crunchy salads. But I've recently been experimenting with using them in more unconventional ways.
I had already been making and drinking beet juice at home for years, with all sorts of variations. Beet and apple, beet with pineapple and ginger, beet with carrot and orange... I loved sweet beets so much that when I came across a recipe for chocolate beet cake, I knew I had to try it. Rich, moist and everything you want in a chocolate cake, there wasn't even a hint of beet taste in the final product.
Since then, I've found that beets are perfect for dessert or as a sweet snack. Many of the recipes out there don't come out very well, are sickly sweet, too earthy tasting or just downright complicated for the average busy person. On this page I've compiled my favourite easy, tasty recipes so that you, too can discover the amazing world of sweet beetroot recipes.
Scientists and doctors have done a lot of research lately about beet juice. They've discovered that it is one of the best sources of antioxidants out of all foods, and has positive effects on blood pressure and general health. Yet another reason to have this root vegetable on weekly rotation in your kitchen.
Preparing fresh beetroot
Beets are readily available in cans and jars, but they are usually preserved with vinegar and salt. Not exactly the taste you want in a dessert! Luckily, fresh beets are easy to prepare, and farmer's markets start offering a range of varieties to choose from. Heirloom beets can come in several colours, patterns and sizes, giving your final dish a stunning look.
If the recipe specifies cooked beets, there are several ways to prepare them. You can roast, boil, microwave or steam them whole until a knife goes in easily. Let cool, peel, then use in your recipe. Beetroot skin is perfectly edible, but it's better to peel it off before using in a dessert. This gives a better colour and texture to your dish.
If you'll be using them raw, give the beets a good scrub with a dishwashing brush, then peel them.
Raw Beet Smoothie
A bright pink smoothie full of raw fruits and vegetables is the perfect way to start the day, or refuel after a work out.
- Prep time: 15 min
- Cook time: 25 min
- Ready in: 40 min
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 small beets - cooked & peeled
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 125 g block cream cheese - cubed
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- - Leave raspberries to defrost on counter, and pre-heat oven to 350F.
- - Grease a 12 cup muffin tray, or use a silicone tray (no need to grease it)
- - Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- - Using a food processor or small blender, puree the beets.
- - In a medium-sized bowl, beat oil and sugar with an electric beater. Add the egg, then beet puree and vanilla and beat until combined.
- - Add one third of flour mixture, then half of buttermilk. Slowly add the rest of each and keep beating until just combined.
- - Divide batter among muffin cups or silicone molds.
- - Bake in centre of oven until a toothpick inserted in cupcakes comes out clean, about 25 mins. Cool in pan for 15 mins, then remove cakes to a rack to cool completely before icing.
- - Using a ladle, push raspberries through a sieve into a small bowl. Discard seeds. Whisk in cream cheese and icing sugar. Spread onto completely cooled cupcakes.
Silicone muffin trays
With new research showing that most non-stick baking trays and pans aren't very good for our health, I've switched to using silicon for all my baking. It's non stick without needing any butter or oil, and is very easy to wash. These beet cupcakes are a breeze to make in a silicon tray.
Beet and herbal tea popsicles
This is a fantastic healthy treat for children and adults to enjoy, and can be easily adapted to taste. I recommend using lavender tea, although red fruit tea, cinnamon and rooibos tea all work well, too.
- Prep time: 20 min
- Cook time: 10 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- 1 large beetroot - cooked and peeled
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teabag or 1 Tbsp loose herbal tea
- 2 Tbsp honey
- - Steep the herbal tea in the hot water, following the maker's instructions. Let cool.
- - Puree all ingredients using a food processor or blender. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
Beetroot tart with hazelnut crust
- 500 g (3 - 4 small) beets - roasted and peeled
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 7 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3.5 oz hazelnuts - shelled and ground to powder
- 2 oz all-purpose flour
- 4 Tbsp butter - melted
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- For the crust:
- - Preheat oven to 350F.
- - In a small bowl, combine powdered hazelnuts, flour, brown sugar and melted butter to form a paste
- - Turn hazelnut mixture into a 9 inch tart dish. Press the mixture firmly all over until even. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool, but leave the oven on.
- For the filling:
- - Using a food processor or blender, puree beets with eggs and heavy cream.
- - In a large bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- - Add the pureed beets to the dry mixture and combine well.
- - Pour the mixture into the baked tart shell and level with a spatula.
- - Bake for 40 minutes, or until set.
- - Let cool on a rack before serving with vanilla ice-cream.
Sweet beet poll
Have you ever tried beetroot in a dessert?
This delicious Indian dessert is very simple and comforting on a cold evening.
- Prep time: 5 min
- Cook time: 10 min
- Ready in: 15 min
- Yields: 2
- 1 medium beetroot - grated
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp ghee or clarified butter
- 2 Tbsp raw cashews - roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- - Using a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat ghee and fry the cashews until fragrant and golden. Take out cashews and set aside.
- - Add the grated beetroot, and fry for 3 - 4 minutes until soft.
- - Add the milk and cook for a further 5 minutes, adding more milk if needed.
- - Add the sugar and mix well. Cook a further 2 - 3 minutes until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- - Add the cashews and cardamon powder and serve immediately.
Metric or imperial?
To easily convert the measurements in the recipes on this page, I recommend this easy to use conversion website.
Beet and chocolate ice-cream
Beetroot & chocolate ice-cream
This is a wonderful recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
- Prep time: 1 hour
- Cook time: 1 hour
- Ready in: 2 hours
- 300 g beetroot
- 4 egg yolks
- 100 g caster sugar
- 200 ml double cream
- 300 ml whole milk
- 100 g dark chocolate - roughly chopped
- - Roast the whole beets in a baking tray covered with aluminium foil until tender. Set aside to cool.
- - In a large bowl, combine egg yolks with sugar and whisk well.
- - Combine 200ml of milk and all the cream in a pan and scald. Pour into egg and sugar mixture, whisking while pouring.
- . Pour this custard back into the pan and gently heat until thickened. It should cover the back of a spoon. Let cool, stirring occasionally to prevent the formation of a skin.
- - Melt the chocolate over a gentle heat.
- - Peel and roughly chop the cooled beetroot. Using a blender, puree the beetroot and remaining 100mL milk.
- - Mix together the beet puree, cooled custard and melted chocolate.
- - Pour into an ice-cream maker and churn for around 45 minutes before finishing in the freezer.
Healthy beetroot cake
Full of healthy seeds and not too sweet, this is a lovely cake to have as an afternoon snack.
- 225 g/8oz self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tspl baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 180 ml/6fl oz sunflower oil
- 225 g/8oz light muscovado sugar
- 3 free-range eggs - separated
- 150 g/5oz raw beetroot - peeled
- juice of half a lemon
- 75 g/3oz sultanas
- 75 g/3oz mixed seeds (such as sunflower
- pumpkin and linseed)
- 8 tablespoons icing sugar
- 3 tsp orange blossom water
- - Preheat the oven at 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a rectangular loaf tin and line it with parchment paper.
- - In a large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
- - In a separate bowl, whisk the oil and sugar until well combined, then add the egg yolks one by one while whisking.
- - Using a box grater, grate the beetroot and stir it into the egg mixture. Add the lemon juice, sultanas and the assorted seeds.
- - Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture and gently combine.
- - Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites until peaks form. Use a metal spoon to fold into the flour mixture.
- - Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, covering the top with a piece of foil after thirty minutes. Remove when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cake cool in tin for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.
- - Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in orange blossom water, whisking with a fork to remove all lumps. Drizzle onto cooled cake and let set before serving.
Tropical beet dessert
I love the idea of this colourful sweet "dessert lasagne". Thinly sliced heirloom beets are layered with tropical fruits, coconut and rum to make a gorgeous stack.
Chocolate and beets are a great match
Beetroot Chocolate Cake
My favourite beetroot chocolate cake doesn't have a video, so here's one to inspire you.
Which of the above sweet beet treats appeals to you most?
And were they sweet or salty?