Beets are delicious if prepared correctly. These earthy root vegetables have a delightful crunch and natural sweetness that lends well to all kinds of dishes. If you’re fond of these and would like to expand your palate, you’re in luck! Read on to discover 8 delicious vegetables like beets that you can try out.
Did you know that carrots come in a variety of colors and flavors? In fact, carrots were originally purple! Modern orange carrots taste earthy and sweet, while purple carrots have a more peppery taste along with the sweetness. Red carrots taste similar to orange ones, while white or gold carrots have a mild flavor with a hint of earthiness.
Purple carrots are the closest substitute for beets, but you can use any other kind you have. These roots are crunchy when raw but have a softer, velvety texture when cooked. This closely matches the texture of cooked beets. Purple carrots can replace beets in salads, and can also be great substitutes for them in soups and stews.
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2. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage looks and tastes significantly different from green cabbage. For example, red cabbage has a more earthy, peppery flavor because of its red pigments. Additionally, it has a chewier, crispier texture since it doesn’t hold water like its green cousin. This vegetable can resembles raw beet in both color and texture, especially when shredded.
When cooked, red cabbage softens quite a bit but still maintains a slight crispness. You can use this stuff as a beet substitute in both salads and coleslaws. Some use it in soups like borscht because it provides a similar flavor and red hue that’s needed for that traditional soup. You can also bake it German style with apples, cloves, and onions for a spectacular winter side dish.
Turnips may not be as popular today as they were in the Medieval and Tudor eras, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate them in our own way. These root vegetables have round, white-purple skins and yellow interiors. They have a mild, earthy taste with a slightly bitter undertone that sweetens and gets nuttier when they’re roasted.
Cooked turnips will have a similar texture to cooked carrots with a soft, velvety texture, but will still maintain some crispness—much like beets. Turnips can replace beets in stews, soups, or roasts.
These are also known as “Swedes”, and are a cross between turnip and cabbage. It would be interesting to know how that first date went, but hey: it resulted in a particularly tasty root vegetable, so we really can’t complain. Rutabagas share beets’ sweetness, which really shines when they’re roasted.
They may not be particularly colorful vegetables, as they’re pale yellow inside, but they’re really quite delicious. Swedes taste a bit cabbage-like but are crunchy and starchy. Best of all, they maintain their form and consistency when cooked, much like beets. As a result, you won’t end up with rutabaga mush if you add them to stew or soup.
5. Swiss Chard
Your first response to this comparison might be incredulity. After all, Swiss chard isn’t a root vegetable, so why is it on this list? Mostly because of its similar nutrient content, but also for its gorgeously colored (and flavored) greens.
Swiss chard greens look very similar to beet greens, only with red stems. The leaves have a mild, slightly bitter flavor similar to beets when raw. When cooked, however, they develop a flavor that’s similar to spinach. The leaves are tender, while the stems are sweet-salty and crunchy. Whenever you come across a recipe that calls for beet leaves, you can replace them with Swiss chard instead.
This stunning vegetable is also known as “black salsify.” Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it before: it fell out of fashion a few hundred years ago after centuries of popularity. It looks like a black carrot and has a mild flavor somewhere between beet and turnip when cooked. It’s also known as “oyster root” because its texture is similar to baked oysters when it’s cooked.
You may have difficulty finding this vegetable in grocery stores, as it’s not exactly common. Look for it at farmer’s markets instead, or try to grow it in your own garden!
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have a starchy, sweet, and slightly earthy flavor, especially when eaten raw. In fact, they have a delicious beet-like sweetness and crunch in their raw state. Just note that their texture will become mushy and stringy unless you cook them quickly on high heat.
These orange tubers closely match golden beets in both flavor and texture when roasted or fried. As a result, you can substitute sweet potatoes for golden beets in any recipe that calls for them. This makes them a great alternative for people who hate beets or small children who need time to adjust to different flavors.
Parsnips are so similar to carrots that people often get them confused. They share the same shape, size, color, and texture. These roots have a unique flavor like a mix of carrots, potatoes, and turnips, with a bit of extra spiciness.
Much like beets, their flavor gets milder, and their sweetness intensifies when they’re cooked. If a recipe calls for golden beets, you can replace them with parsnips instead. Try roasted parsnips as a beet substitute in a creamy soup with apples and herbs.
Spinach is another dark leafy green vegetable that resembles beet greens rather than roots. The only real difference is the stem hue. This vegetable has fully green stems and leaves, while beet stems are red.
Beet and spinach greens are very similar in both flavor and texture. As such, you can replace the greens in salads or just about any cooked dish. For example, add them to salads and sides that need beet greens either sauteed or as a dressing. You can also mix spinach, beet, and chard greens together in spanakopita or fatayer.
10. Celeriac (celery root)
Celery root isn’t the same vegetable as the peanut butter boat you’re likely thinking of. Standard celery stalks grow on top of a large round, edible root bulb. Meanwhile, celeriac is a type of celery that’s cultivated specifically for this scrumptious bulb rather than for its stalks.
It’s tan-colored on the outside and white in the center with a firm, crisp texture—almost like parsnip when raw. When cooked down, it maintains a slight crispness but softens significantly. The flavor is a mix of celery, rutabaga, and potato. Celery root can replace golden beets in dishes that call for an assortment of root vegetables.
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Don’t fret if you’ve never heard of a mangelwurzel before. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’ve come across them unless you remember a past life as a medieval peasant. These beet relatives are mostly grown as fodder for animals rather than for human consumption. They are edible by humans when they’re really immature, but they lose flavor and get tougher to eat as they grow.
You can still cultivate them for their greens, however, as those are just as tasty as standard beet greens, chard, or spinach. Additionally, if you just happen to have an animal rescue farm, your pigs and donkeys will enjoy chowing down on the roots.
As you can see, there are several other vegetables like beets around. Some resemble them in color, while others are closely matched in flavor or texture. Get creative with some of these substitutes and see which ones you like best!
Hey, I’m Joey. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid and love everything about it. You can find my writing about food, kitchen appliances (such as blenders) and much more. Thanks for stopping by!