13 Beet Substitutes [For Soups & Smoothies]

I absolutely love beets. I am always pleasantly surprised by how much my kids also love beets.

It must be the beautiful pink color and sweet taste that makes beets a kid friendly food. 

Beets are such a healthy, delicious vegetable. They are used in lots of recipes from soups to salads. 

As much as my family loves beets, there are plenty of people who do not enjoy the strong taste of beets.

They can be an acquired taste. Luckily, there are lots of beet substitutes that you can use in place of beets. 

Many of these substitutes have completely different flavors, giving you options when it comes to flavor profiles. Choose a beet substitute that suits your personal tastes.

There are also a few beet substitutes that are flavored like beets. These are great for when you like beets, want beets, but have no beets on hand.

Take a look at all the beet substitutes and choose the best one for you!

The best beet substitute is turnips. Turnips can be used to replace cooked beets or fresh beets. It has a mildly bitter taste when fresh, just like raw beets. Canned beets are a great substitute for fresh beets in recipes. If you need a substitute for beet greens, try using swiss chard. Swiss chard has similar tasting leaves as beets and looks almost identical to beet greens. Beet sugar can easily be replaced with the same quantity of white, granulated cane sugar. Try using beet powder in place of fresh beets in your favorite smoothie recipe.  

Roasted Beets Substitute

1. Carrots

Roasted carrots can be just as sweet and flavorful as roasted beets. Carrots are also a root vegetable so they have that dirt-like scent that you love in beets.

They are also a low calorie food, containing only 11 calories per carrot. 

Carrots have a more mild flavor, making them a good beet substitute for those who do not like the strong taste of beets.

While beets add a pretty red color to foods, carrots add a great orange hue to any dish. Try using purple carrots which have a similar color to beets.

Carrots can be roasted exactly like beets. A little olive oil, salt and pepper and they are ready to roast in the oven! 


2. Turnips

Turnips are a root vegetable, just like beets. Turnips are a mild tasting root vegetable that roasts like beets; they become soft and sweet when roasted.

Turnips have just 28 calories per serving and lots of vitamin C. 

Turnips are usually white with a pinkish hue. They may not be as vibrantly colored as beets, but they are just as nutritious and delicious when roasted! 

Use roasted turnips to replace beets as a side dish or on top of a salad. You will be very happy with your turnip choice!


3. Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are another vegetable that gets sweeter as it cooks, just like beets. While Brussels sprouts are not a root vegetable, they do have a strong, bitter flavor like beets.

Brussels caramelize as they roast to become a sweet and tender vegetable, perfect for replacing beets as a side dish. 

Brussels sprouts are slightly higher in calories than beets, containing 56 calories. However, they pack a punch with 4 grams of protein and lots of beneficial fiber. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

4. Canned Beets

While fresh beets do have a nice, crispy texture, canned beets can give you the beet flavor you may be looking for.

They may not be as crunchy, but they taste just as good and have the same nutritional values as fresh beets. 

Canned beets are just as nutritious as fresh beets. They are a great source of iron and folate.

Canned beets can also last for years on your pantry shelf. Stock up on canned beets and you will never run out!

canned beets

5. Red Cabbage

Fresh sliced red cabbage will give you the color and crispy texture of fresh beets.

Cabbage is a great addition to salads and can be a tasty side dish. The earthy flavor of red cabbage is similar to the taste of fresh beets. 

Red cabbage is a very low calorie food with just 18 calories per cup of shredded cabbage. Cabbage has lots of vitamin C and one gram of protein as well. 

red cabbage

6. Parsnips

Parsnips are a root vegetable that have a similar texture to beets. They have a comparable, sweet taste to beets and cook the same way beets cook.

They are higher in calories with 160 grams per serving. This is because parsnips also have lots of natural sugars, making them yummy and sweet.

They are a very healthy and tasty substitute for beets. 


7. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are great to use in soups. They hold their shape when slow cooked. They also add a sweetness and heartiness to a soup, just like beets.

Sweet potatoes have about 100 calories per cup which is much more than beets.

However, they have two grams of healthy protein and vitamins B-6, C, A and lots of iron. They are still a healthy choice to replace beets. 

Sweet potatoes may not be the same bright red color, but they have a pretty, orange color that will benefit any soup.

Sweet potatoes have the same texture as beets when pureed. They are a great beet substitute for both pureed soups and as a cubed soup vegetable. 

8. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard greens are very similar to beet greens. The slightly bitter taste and earthy flavors are almost identical.

Beet greens and swiss chard leaves even look the same! Both vegetables have vibrant curly green leaves and a red stalk in the center. 

Use swiss chard just as you would use beet greens in any recipe. The flavors and textures are so comparable, you may not be able to tell the difference! 

Swiss chard is nutritionally comparable to beet greens as well. Just one cup has 35 calories and 7 grams of fiber. 

9. Spinach

Spinach is a great substitute for beet greens. It is very easy to find and also easy to cook. Spinach is delicious fresh or sautéed in a little olive oil. 

Regular, large leaf spinach is closer to beet greens but you can also use baby spinach. Use baby spinach to cook even faster. 

Spinach is also low in calories with just 30 grams per cup. Spinach is super high in vitamin A and also has 2 grams of plant based protein. 


10. Granulated Sugar

Regular, white sugar works perfectly in place of beet sugar. Use the same quantity of white sugar as beet sugar and you will have great success! 

Look for organic granulated sugar which will be produced in a clean manner, like beet sugar. 

11. Honey Powder

This powder is a unique sweetener that you can use in place of beet sugar. Honey powder is simply dehydrated honey.

It will add the sweetness and flavor of honey without adding a liquid to your recipe. 

Use ¾ the amount of honey powder to beet sugar. Honey powder is much sweeter so you won’t need quite as much to get the sweetness level of beet sugar. 

12. Red Cherries

Red cherries are a great substitute for beets in a smoothie. They will give the smoothie the vibrant pink color you are looking for. 

Cherries have a much sweeter flavor when compared to beets. They are a perfect substitute for those who find the taste of beets to be too strong. 

One cup of cherries has only 52 calories. They are high in sugar, with 9 grams, however they also have lots of vitamin C and potassium. 

13. Beet Powder

Beet powder is a great addition to smoothies. It has a less bitter taste than fresh beets but all the same nutritional value of a beet.

Beet powder is also convenient to keep in your pantry as it will last quite a while. 

Use about ¼ cup beet powder to replace a small, fresh beet in a smoothie recipe. 

What Are Beets?

Beets are a small, round root vegetable. Beets are completely edible, from the round root bulb to the beet greens.

Most people like eating the edible root but beet greens are becoming very popular in smoothies and salads. 

Beets are a very healthy vegetable. They are cholesterol free, fat free and a good source of fiber.

One cup of beets has about 58 calories, 13 grams of carbs and 2.2 grams of protein. That is one nutritious veggie!  

Beets come in a variety of colors. The most common beets are a bright reddish pink color. However, there are golden yellow beets and orange beets, too.

Some beets are even striped like a candy cane with alternating layers of red and white.

What is Beet Sugar?

Many beets are grown to use as sugar. About 20% of the world’s sugar is made from beets. 

To make beet sugar, the juice from the beet is extracted. It is mixed with limestone which helps remove proteins and other non-sugars from the juice.

The water is boiled and evaporated, leaving behind a thick crystal mixture. This mix is dried and cooled and beautiful white beet sugar is left! 

Beet sugar is very similar in taste to cane sugar. It can be used in place of granulated sugar as a great natural substitute. 

What is Beet Powder?

Beet powder is also known as beetroot powder. Beets are dehydrated and then ground to make beet powder. 

Beet powder is often called a superfood since it is highly nutritious. It can be added to smoothies and juices to add vitamins and minerals to a drink.

It can also be used in baked goods. Add a scoop of beet powder to your favorite muffin recipe and you will have nutritious, pink muffins! 

Make your own beet powder by slicing fresh red beets and placing them in a dehydrator to dry for several hours.

Grind the dried beets into a fine powder and then enjoy! It is pretty simple to make homemade beet powder. 

Uses For Beets

There are so many great ways to use beets. Knowing how you are using your beets will also help you find the best beet substitute. Here are my favorite ways to use beets:

  1. Pickled – beets can be pickled and enjoyed as a tangy snack or sandwich topping.
  2. Sliced on Sandwiches – Fresh, roasted or pickled beets make a great addition to any sandwich.
  3. Roasted – Beets become sweeter as they roast making them even more delicious. 
  4. In Soups – Beets are perfect for chopping and tossing into soups. Blend beets into soup to make the soup thick and pink.
  5. Shredded – Shredded beets are great in latkes and coleslaws
  6. Gnocchi and Pasta – pureed beets can add flavor and color to homemade pastas
  7. Dip – Beets can be used in hummus, salsas and other dips.

When you have beets on hand, the possibilities are endless! If you come across a recipe that uses beets but you have none, that is when you can turn to one of these substitutes. 

                                                Canape Herring with Beets on Rye Toast

Flavor of Beets

Thinking about the flavor of beets is important when finding a beet substitute. Many of us want that strong beet flavor! 

Beets are often described as having a dirt-like scent. They are earthy and a little bit bitter. When cooked, beets become sweeter and much more palatable. 

Golden beets are more mild than red beets. They have a more mellow taste. No matter the color, beets definitely have a distinct, juicy flavor! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about beets and beet substitutes? Hopefully these quick questions and answers can help. Feel free to send your questions my way. I am always happy to answer! 

What Is The Best Recipe For Beets?

Beets are best when roasted. They become sweeter, softer and easier to eat. Roasted beet salad or a plate of roasted beets as a side dish is always a good use for this root vegetable. 

Is Beetroot Bitter in Taste?

Yes. Beets do have a slightly bitter taste. This is especially true when beets are raw.

Cook beets to make them sweeter. Try pairing beets with bright, sweet flavors to mask the bitterness. 

What is Similar to Beets?

Other root vegetables can be very comparable to beets. Carrots, parsnips, and turnips are all very close to the taste and texture of beets. 

Final Considerations

There are so many ingredients you can use to replace beets. Hopefully I have covered them all! 

From substitutes for beets in soups to ways to replace beet sugar, remember this useful list anytime you need to replace beets. Enjoy!

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