A few year ago, I realized that beets were by far my favorite vegetable. They are sweet, can be dressed up for literally any meal, and are definitely a super food item. These easy pickled beets are a great way to add more beets into your diet, whether that’s by throwing them into some eggs, a salad, or as a side at dinner. They even make a great snack with some dairy free cheese and crackers! These beets are so easy to make, and are a great way to use up any beets from your garden, or to change up your Whole30, paleo, or vegan diet.
Why add beets into your diet? There are so many great reasons, but I’ve listed a few below!
Some of the health benefits of beets
It’s impossible not to notice the beautiful jeweled red color of beets, which is caused by a pigment known as betalains. Betalains have anti-inflammatory properties, and also contain a number of unique anti-oxidants that help protect your body from damage. There have even been some studies that have shown that betalains may reduce your risk of developing cancer, and even lessens the growth of cancerous tumors.
For athletes, beets offer a unique opportunity to boost their athletic performance. Beets, like its closely related cousins of Swiss chard and spinach, are packed with natural nitrates. Nitrates have been found to widen blood vessels, allowing for greater efficiency in the muscular system. One study found that beetroot actually improved the functioning of the mitochondria in cells (where all the energy is made in your cells). There are even specific studies that can tell you exactly what percentage your cycling and running times could improve by if you consume beet juice!
In short, beets can give your athletic performance an extra boost, and can do wonderful things for your overall bodily health.
How to make Easy Pickled Beets
Pickled beets are not difficult to make, but do take some prep work.
For these easy pickled beets, you will need:
- beets (I used red)
- apple cider vinegar
- sugar (omit for Whole30)
To begin, wash the beets to remove any dirt. I personally then like to peel the beets to give them a smoother texture, but as long as your beets are clean, removing the outer layer is optional.
Next, poke some holes into the beets with either a fork or knife. These holes allow for even cooking and so that the inner parts of the beet are reached by the heat.
Next, steam the beets using a vegetable steamer. Depending on how large your beets are, you might want to cut them into smaller portions. There’s no need to slice them up beforehand except for the beets to fit into your steaming setup.
Steam the beets for about 15-20 minutes. They may take a little longer depending on the size. Be sure to keep adding water to the bottom of the pan if your beets need a little more time to cook.
Once the beets are steamed thoroughly, you should be able to place a fork or knife through them easily. Allow them to cool for about a half an hour before slicing them. Slice the beets into your desired shape, and add them to a jar.
Once the beets are in a jar, place some of your chopped onion in the jar. I love adding this chopped onion as a way to give the beets more taste and it also makes a great addition to whatever recipe you want to use your pickled beets for. Add in the Apple Cider Vinegar, the peppercorns, water, and salt. If you choose to omit the sugar, reduce the amount of vinegar by 1/4 so that it does not have an even more overwhelming vinegar taste. Seal your jar and place it in your fridge.
Lastly, let your beets pickle for a few hours or overnight. These honestly lasted over a month in my fridge in a well-sealed container, but it’s completely up to you!
Easy Pickled Beets (Whole30, Paleo, Vegan)
- steamer basket or other steaming device
- 4 large red beets
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp sugar of your choice, omit if Whole30
- Clean and peel the beets.
- Using a fork or knife, poke some holes into the beets to allow them to steam evenly.
- Steam the beets for 15-20 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
- Allow the beets to cool.
- Once beets are cool, slice them and place them in a jar.
- Chop your onion and add it to the jar with the beets.
- To the beets and onions, add in the apple cider vinegar, water, peppercorns, salt, and sugar (optional).
- Shake and allow the beets and onions to pickle overnight.