Beetroot powder is a popular ingredient in many recipes and food products these days.
Known for its vibrant pinkish-purple color and earthy, slightly sweet taste, beetroot powder is used as a natural food dye, supplement, and ingredient in things like smoothies, baked goods, soups, dressings, and more.
Why Use a Beetroot Powder Substitute?
There are a few key reasons you may want to use an alternative to beetroot powder:
- Availability: Beetroot powder can be hard to find in regular grocery stores. Opting for a more widely available substitute can make recipes easier to recreate.
- Cost: Pre-made beetroot powder is more expensive than purchasing whole beets or other vegetables. Substitutes are often cheaper.
- Taste/texture: Some people dislike the earthy taste and texture of beets. Substitutes can allow you to skip beets while maintaining color.
- Dietary restrictions: Beets are high in oxalates, so people with kidney issues may want an alternative. Vegans may also want a non-beet option.
- Allergies: Though rare, some people are allergic to beets and must avoid them completely. Substitutes provide allergy-friendly options.
No matter your reasons for wanting an alternative to beetroot powder, there are plenty of options to recreate the color it provides without beet's distinctive taste and texture.
Red Cabbage Powder
One of the closest substitutions in terms of color is red cabbage powder.
To make it:
- Core and roughly chop a red cabbage
- Dehydrate the chopped cabbage until completely dried out
- Process the dried cabbage in a food processor, blender, coffee grinder, or high-powered spice grinder into a fine powder
The resulting powder has a vivid purple-red hue that mimics beetroot powder quite well. Red cabbage powder can tint foods, act as a natural dye, and provide color in recipes calling for beet powder.
However, since it comes from red cabbage, it will lend a mild cabbage flavor rather than an earthy beet taste. Use it in soups, smoothies, baked goods, dressings, and other dishes where you want color but not necessarily a strong beet flavor.
The cabbage may also lose some coloring power when heated, so it works better in cold dishes. But test it out in small batches before ruling it out as a beet powder baking substitute. Overall, red cabbage powder is an accessible, affordable alternative to beetroot powder specifically for coloring foods.
Radish powder is another easy beetroot powder alternative to DIY at home. To make it:
- Wash and peel red radishes
- Grate or dice the radishes finely
- Dehydrate them until completely dried out
- Process into a fine powder once dried
Radish powder has a slightly lighter pink hue than beetroot powder, but still provides excellent food coloring abilities. It can easily be used in place of beet powder in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, soups, sauces, dressings, baked goods, and more.
In terms of taste, radish powder has a sharper, more peppery flavor compared to the mild earthiness of beets. But it still pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes.
Radishes have a rich nutritional profile as well, being high in vitamin C, potassium, antioxidants, and other key micronutrients. So radish powder makes an even more nutritious substitute compared to beetroot powder. Overall it mimics both the color and some of the nutritional benefits of beet powder.
For a more subtle pinkish hue similar to beetroot powder, turn to carrot powder. To make:
- Shred or finely grate fresh carrots
- Dehydrate the grated carrot pieces completely
- Process the dried carrot bits into a fine orange powder
Carrot powder has an understated coral color that can provide a natural pinkish tone to foods without overpowering other ingredients. It's excellent for lightly tinting smoothies, oats, yogurt, soups, sauces, baked goods, and more.
Since it comes from carrots, this powder has a mild, sweet carrot flavor rather than an earthy beet taste. But it mixes seamlessly into both sweet and savory applications.
Nutritionally, carrot powder packs in vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin K, and antioxidants. It makes a nutrient-dense stand-in for beetroot powder as well. Overall, carrot powder is ideal if you want just a hint of pink color without much added flavor.
Purple Sweet Potato Powder
For a more vibrant purple shade, turn to purple sweet potato powder. To make it:
- Peel and dice purple sweet potatoes
- Dehydrate the diced pieces fully
- Process the dried potato bits in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder to a smooth powder
Purple sweet potato powder rivals the rich violet color of beetroot powder quite closely. It can tint foods like smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, soups, sauces, and baked goods.
It has a subtly sweet, earthy flavor that adapts well to both sweet and savory dishes. The potato flavor is much more mild compared to beets.
Purple sweet potatoes offer great nutrition from antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and fiber. This makes the powder an especially healthy substitute for beetroot powder. Overall, this option closely mimics both the coloring power and nutritional qualities of beet powder.
For a slightly more berry-toned pink powder, try pomegranate powder. To make it:
- Deseed fresh pomegranates
- Spread seeds out and dehydrate fully
- Process the dried seeds into a vibrant pinkish-red powder
Pomegranate powder has a distinctive red-pink hue that can add a unique color to foods. It works well for tinting items like yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, ice cream, salad dressings, soups, and sauces.
The powder has a tangy, fruity flavor that some may find more appealing than earthy beets. But it adapts well to both sweet and savory recipes.
Pomegranates offer great nutritional value from antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. So pomegranate powder packs in extra nutrition along with color. Overall, this powder stands out for its uniquely berry-colored tone and nutritional boost.
Key Takeaway: Red cabbage, radish, carrot, purple sweet potato, and pomegranate powder can all mimic the vibrant coloring power of beetroot powder through DIY methods.
Hidden Valley Ranch Dips & Dressings
If you're looking for a shortcut or don't have time for DIY powder, there are some pre-made products that can work in place of beetroot powder specifically for coloring foods.
One example is Hidden Valley Ranch dips and dressing mixes. These contain dried beet powder that gives the mix its distinctive pink color.
- Mix the Ranch dressing or dip packet as instructed
- Use the beet-tinted liquid to add color to recipes like:
- Salad dressings
- And more
Keep in mind that the Ranch mixes will lend a notable ranch flavor to foods. So this works best in savory dishes where that flavor won't seem too out of place. The beet-derived color will also likely be less stable when heated. But overall, Hidden Valley Ranch products offer a quick and convenient way to achieve pink food coloring without beetroot powder.
Watkins Food Coloring Gels
Another pre-made product that contains beet powder for coloring is Watkins food coloring gels. These vivid gel food colorings achieve their hues from natural sources, including beets.
To use them as a beetroot powder substitute:
- Choose the Pink, Red, or Boysenberry colors, which likely contain beet powder
- Add a small amount of the coloring to tint recipes like:
- Baked goods
- And more
A little bit of the gel goes a long way to adding vibrant color. But be aware that they will also lend some artificial berry or candy-like flavoring. So the gels work best in sweeter dishes rather than savory ones. Compared to DIY powders, the colors may also bleed or run when heated. But Watkins gels offer easy, ready-made beet-derived coloring for those who don't want to make their own powders.
Grape Juice Concentrate
You can also substitute some beetroot powder applications with grape juice concentrate. Certain brands, like Welch's, have vivid purple-red hues that can tint foods naturally.
To use it as a coloring agent:
- Add a small amount of grape juice concentrate to:
- Salad dressings
- Desserts like cakes, cookies, and pie fillings
- And anywhere else you want to add color
Too much grape concentrate will lend a strong grape flavor. But used sparingly, it can provide natural reddish-purple coloring without overpowering other ingredients.
Compared to beetroot powder, it may not shade foods quite as deeply. But grape juice concentrate is readily available in most grocery stores for an accessible, easy substitute when you need a pop of color.
Frozen Berry Blends
Finally, you can achieve a pinkish-purple hue in foods by blending in frozen berry mixes containing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.
- Blend a small amount of thawed frozen berries into:
- Salad dressings
- Desserts like cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc.
The mixture of red and blue berries creates a blended tone similar to beet powder. However, it will also impart lots of berry flavor. So this works best in fruit-based dishes rather than savory ones. Compared to beetroot powder, the color may be a bit more muted as well. But overall, frozen berries provide an accessible way to redden the hue of recipes naturally.
Key Takeaway: Pre-made products like Hidden Valley Ranch, Watkins gel colors, grape juice, and frozen berries offer quicker ways to achieve pinkish-purple coloring without using beetroot powder. But they may alter the flavors of recipes more.
Which Is the Best Beetroot Powder Substitute?
When choosing a beetroot powder alternative, consider:
- Color – How closely does it mimic beet's vibrant purple-pink hue?
- Taste – Will it pair well flavor-wise or overpower the dish?
- Use – Does it work for your specific application like baking, smoothies, soups, etc?
- Availability – Is it accessible at your local grocery store or online?
- Nutrition – Does it offer added nutritional benefits?
- Cost – Is it affordable compared to store-bought beet powder?
For the most natural, nutritious substitute that offers excellent coloring ability, powdered purple-hued vegetables like red cabbage, radishes, carrots, and purple sweet potatoes are best. For quicker convenience, pre-made options like Hidden Valley Ranch and Watkins gel colors can work too.
Test out a few options to find your perfect beetroot powder stand-in based on your needs, preferences, and the dish you're making. With so many alternatives, you can skip the beets while still enjoying vibrantly hued foods.
Why is beetroot powder so popular?
Beetroot powder is having a major moment right now because of its vibrant color and associated health benefits. Its rich purple-pink hue makes a visually appealing addition to foods and drinks. Beet powder is also high in nutrients like folate, potassium, and vitamin C.
What recipes use beetroot powder?
Some popular ways to use beetroot powder include:
- Salad dressings
- Pancakes and waffles
- Frosting and icing
- Homemade cosmetics like lip balm and blush
- As a natural dye for fabrics and Easter eggs
Can I substitute beet juice for beetroot powder?
You may be able to substitute small amounts of beet juice for beet powder in some recipes to provide coloring. However, beet juice will completely change the texture and moisture content of a recipe. It also has a much stronger, earthier beet flavor. For best results, swap in another powder rather than a liquid beet juice.
Is beetroot powder just dried, powdered beets?
Yes, beetroot powder is simply made from dehydrated beets that are then ground into a fine powder. This powder concentrates the nutrients, color, and flavor of beets into an easy-to-use product.
Why don't I want to use beetroot powder?
Some reasons you may want to avoid beetroot powder include taste preferences, allergies, trouble finding it, higher cost, vegan diet, kidney issues that limit oxalates, or simply wanting to change up the colors and flavors in your recipes. Luckily, there are many substitutes to achieve vibrant color without beetroot powder specifically.
Is beetroot powder healthy?
Beetroot powder is very healthy! It provides a concentrated dose of nutrients like:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
It also contains beneficial plant compounds like betalains, which act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Overall, beetroot powder offers a nutritious way to add color to your diet.
Beetroot powder is a popular pinkish-purple natural food dye and supplement used in smoothies, baked goods, soups, and more. While it offers great color and nutrition, some people need or want to substitute it due to taste preferences, availability, cost, allergies, or other factors.
Luckily, many vibrantly hued powder alternatives mimic the coloring power of beetroot powder beautifully. Dehydrating and powdering red cabbage, radishes, carrots, purple sweet potatoes, or pomegranates creates nutritious DIY substitutes. Or you can use pre-made options like Hidden Valley Ranch, Watkins gel colors, grape juice concentrate, or frozen berry blends for quicker convenience.