Sometimes when making smoothies we can fall into a rut where we keep making the same combinations and eventually get tired of them. To keep things interesting I like to bring in a variety of new ingredients, and recently I’ve started making beet smoothies. Their deep red color is pretty exciting.
I was somewhat surprised to find that beets can be added to smoothies raw and unpeeled (assuming you’re using a powerful blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec). I’ve been adding them to a version of the ginger smoothie that I previously wrote about, as well as the vegetable V8-like smoothie.
The beet color totally dominates, even if you have a significant amount of greens. I usually add one medium-size beet to a 32-oz smoothie. I’ve found that the beet flavor does not go as well with the more subtle flavors of berries.
To prepare them I scrub them with the same brush I use for carrots, and I cut off the very top and bottom the same way as well. I usually cut them into quarters so that they blend more easily. I also add a little bit of extra water or ice because they are pretty fibrous and can make the smoothie a bit thick.
One thing about beets is that occasionally there will be one that is more bitter than usual. I haven’t found any reliable way to avoid this, so if you have one bitter experience, try again before you give up on beets.
Beets do have a somewhat strong earthy flavor, which does not fade into the background the way carrots or spinach do. I personally enjoy the flavor, but not everyone will. If you want to ease into beets there are two things you can do to mellow their flavor a bit: you can peel and/or cook them. If you want to cook them, you would cook up a batch (steam, bake, or boil), then cool and store them in the fridge for use in smoothies.