Beet Balls For The Big Game

I brought Beet Balls to a Super Bowl party last night, and my Facebook friends are asking for the recipe. Since I love, love, love beets, and have worked this recipe through many iterations, I feel confident that it will work for most home cooks.

This is based on Mark Bittman‘s recipe for “Hearty Winter Vegetable Burger” from his book How To Cook Everything Vegetarian. If you like this, he has many more goodies in the book.

I have changed it slightly with substitutions, which I think makes for a better “base” from which to improvise. I think I might try to spice it up with some fresh herbs next time.


  • 1 lb raw beets, peeled, shredded
  • 3.5 oz unsweetened dried bing cherries , sliced
  • 2 oz raw almonds, ground or chopped into a flour
  • .6 oz raw ginger, peeled, sliced


  • 3/4 c boiling red wine
  • 1/2 c oats


  • cayenne, salt, pepper


1. Pour boiling wine over oats in small bowl and cover until liquid has been absorbed.

2. Combine beets, almonds, dried cherries, and ginger in a food processor and mix until everything is chopped and almost becomes a paste. (I did this in batches because my machine is quite old and can’t stand the excitement.)

3. Mix together the oat mixture and the beet mixture. (I use my hands.) Add cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix until everything seems adequately combined, and a clump between your fingers holds shape. Add more almond flour if it is too moist. (I had to do this several times–my beet was so juicy!)


Shape into burgers, loaves, or leave unformed, as desired. For balls, firmly pack the mix into a small scoop for consistent size. Then round them off by hand.

Beet Balls Ready For The Oven

Beet Balls Ready For The Oven

This makes about 4 burgers or 4.5 dozen balls.


For both burgers and balls:

1. Bake them in a slow oven. About 250 for 20 minutes, depending on your stove. Flip or turn as needed. This is to help set the shape and also to dry them for easier frying. (You could simply bake and skip frying, but I like the crunchy crust on the outside.)

2. Fry in neutral oil over medium heat until crispy and brown on the outside. A couple minutes for burgers, a couple seconds for balls.

For unformed mix, add it wherever you use “meaty” fillings. Beet fried rice is pretty good.


Game Day Beet Balls were served with Quick Curry Mayonnaise and Sesame-Lime Dipping Sauce from Grace Parisi’s Get Saucy.

Next time I make these, I will stuff them with my friend Stacey’s homemade goat cheese.



2 thoughts on “Beet Balls For The Big Game

    • Yes, probably any sort of flour that has a nutty flavor would do. I haven’t done it, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Good luck!


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