Beets: The canned veg of doom?

Every time I find myself at a salad bar, there is always that tub of red, gelatinous circles that are supposed to represent beets. To me they look much more like sliced cranberry sauce.  In fact, I think it would be safe to say that the majority of Americans associate beets with this image: (cue generic slasher film soundtrack)

Generic Canned Beets. (ear piercing scream)
Generic Canned Beets. (ear piercing scream)
And it’s really hard to know what to do with beets, as far as recipes are concerned. In fact the only recipe I can think of off hand is my grandmother’s Borscht…which, well we won’t get into it… but it’s not a very good advertisement for this vegetable.
Fortunately, though beets get a pretty bad rep, if eaten fresh and prepared correctly, this sweet and color-rich vegetable can make for an incredibly healthy and delicious ingredient.
The freshest beets can be found between June and October. As a root vegetable, the meat of the beet grows underground while its leafy stems protrude from the soil. Before cooking, beets are hard and crunchy, however with preparation they transform into buttery bites of sweet delight.
Beets are notoriously recognized for their uncompromising ability to stain just about any article of clothing, but the good news is that beets do not only come in the commonly found dark red variety, but also can be found in white, yellow, and even rainbow! See here:
Heirloom Beet Varieties
Heirloom Beet Varieties

They are also incredibly beneficial for maintaining a healthy diet, high in complex sugars, rich in anti-oxidents, and low in calories! whooaa-ho! oh, AND they contain powerful nutrients that have been proven to help protect against birth defects, heart disease, and colon cancer.

Ok, sorry maybe I am a little too enthusiastic about these beets, but I’m telling you the first time I saw those bullseye ones I thought I was having some kind of drug-induced flashback. Crazy what kind of edible-art nature can produce huh?

And just because I am nice, I’ll add in a delish recipe that I found that will appeal to even the pickiest eater. CAKE!…..beet cake. It may not be the most low-cal recipe but it’s a nice way to transition beets into your diet. Yes?

Recipe Found on (click for original site)

If you like carrot cake, then you’ll love this unusual dessert. The batter is bright red but bakes to a golden brown. You may want to wear an apron while grating the beets because they tend to splatter.


18 servings (serving size: 1 piece)


  • Cake:
  • 1  pound  beets (about 2 medium)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3  cup  granulated sugar
  • 2/3  cup  packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  vegetable oil
  • 2  large eggs
  • 2 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon  ground ginger
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  cup  1% low-fat milk
  • Frosting:
  • 2  teaspoons  grated orange rind
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1  (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, chilled
  • 3  cups  sifted powdered sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped walnuts, toasted


Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, peel beets using a vegetable peeler. Grate beets, using the large holes of a grater, to measure 2 cups.

Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.

Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended. Add beets; beat well. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Carefully peel off wax paper, and cool cake completely on wire racks.

To prepare frosting, beat orange rind, vanilla, and cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar; beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat).

Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting; top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle nuts over top of cake. Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator.

2 thoughts on “Beets: The canned veg of doom?

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