Get Your Kids to Love Beets

This month, our local farmers’ markets are a vibrant bazaar of color, from blood red carrots, a wash of greens, purple plums, golden nectarines and ruby strawberries.


But, don’t forget the beet – that humblest of vegetables, which contains some of the highest antioxidant content of any food. People have been eating it since prehistory, beginning with its leaves, as I recently discovered from my kitchen bible, On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.


Of course, there are dozens of ways to cook beets.


You can boil them, roast them or serve them up in a salad with arugula and vinaigrette. You can make them into a soup or cook up a spicy casserole. You can even shred and form them into burger patties.


You can cook all day and all night, but it still doesn’t mean your kids are going to swallow a bite of beet.


So, how about some chocolate cake?


Slipping a big helping of beets into a chocolate cake is one of the healthiest and tastiest ways to make sure your children eat their vegetables.


I discovered this recipe 10 years ago – thanks to Mariquita Farm, my local, community-sponsored agriculture (CSA),  in Watsonville.


It’s a recipe that bridges the gap between veggies and dessert.


The beets make your cake moist and rich, but you have to think long and hard with every bite to taste them.


As for your kids, they’ll never know what hit ‘em.


Sara Solovitch is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.




Red Devil Cake


  • 4 small beets
  •  3 eggs
  •  1½ cups sugar
  •  ½ cup vegetable oil
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  ½ teaspoon salt
  •  1½ cups unbleached white flour
  •  ¾ cup cocoa powder
  •  1½ teaspoons baking soda


Wrap your beets in aluminum foil and place them on a flat roasting pan. Cook for about 40 minutes in an oven preheated to 375 degrees.


Let them cool, then peel the skins and puree the beets in a blender or food processor. You should now have about 1¼ cups of pureed beets. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.


In a large bowl, beat the eggs and whisk in the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt and beet puree until very smooth.


In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Then add the dry ingredients to the first bowl, a little at a time, whisking until smooth.


Pour the batter into a greased baking pan (9-inch square/round or bundt pan), and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


Cool in the pan. Serve topped with confectioners sugar or whipped cream.

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