This creamy Beet Pasta Sauce is as delicious as it is beautiful. The pink is perfect for Valentine’s Day, but it’s a tasty beet pasta recipe for any time of year.
What Does Beet Pasta Sauce Taste Like?
Beet pasta sauce tastes rich and savory with a subtle root vegetable sweetness from the beets.
It’s rich, nutty and savory, thanks to the heavy cream and Parmesan, with a balanced seasoning that enhances its depth of flavor.
Try this simple recipe and find out why everyone LOVES it!
Making Beet Sauce for Pasta: Here’s What You Need
For the beet pasta sauce recipe, let’s break down what you’ll need. This includes ingredients, possible variations, and the tools to bring it all together.
Beet Pasta Recipe Ingredients
Each ingredient plays a special role in making this beet pasta recipe super delicious:
- Olive oil: Creates a smooth base for sautéing onions and garlic.
- Onion: Adds a subtle sweetness and depth to the sauce.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves: Infuse the sauce with a warm, aromatic flavor.
- Chicken or vegetable broth: Provides the liquid base and enriches the sauce’s flavor.
- Beets: The star of the show, offering earthiness and a vibrant color.
- Black pepper: Adds a mild heat and rounds out the flavors.
- Heavy cream: Gives the sauce a creamy, rich texture.
- Parmesan cheese: Brings a salty, umami depth to the sauce.
- Pasta: Serves as the perfect canvas for the beet sauce.
- Kosher salt: Enhances all the flavors in the sauce.
Variations and Substitutions
Switch things up or work with what you have:
- Try different pasta types: Whole wheat, gluten free pasta, or any shape you like. Double up on the pink vibe by using fresh beet fettuccine, if you can find it!
- Add more veggies: Toss in spinach or kale for extra nutrition and color.
Make Pasta Sauce with Canned or Pre-Cooked Beets
I wrote the instructions for fresh beetroot, but I love to buy the cooked, peeled beets that come vacuum sealed near the boxes of salad greens in grocery stores (like Love Beets brand).
They are great for saving time without sacrificing flavor, shaving 25 minutes off the cooking time.
You could also roast some beets in the oven and use leftovers for this pasta sauce.
Canned beets would work as well, but aren’t my first choice for fresh taste.
Here’s how to adapt the recipe using leftover, canned or pre-cooked beets:
- Start boiling the pasta right away because the sauce will be quick.
- Skip the 20 minute beet-cooking in step 2
- Add the beets right to the blender along with the broth and onion mixture.
- Transfer sauce back to pan and continue with recipe as written.
Grab These Tools
A few essentials to make your cooking process smoother:
- Large pot: For boiling pasta and cooking the sauce.
- Skillet or sauté pan: To sauté the onions and garlic.
- Blender or immersion blender: To puree the sauce into a smooth consistency.
- Measuring cups and spoons: For accurate ingredient amounts.
- Wooden spoon: Ideal for stirring the sauce without scratching your cookware.
With these ingredients, variations, and tools, you’re all set to make a stunning beet pasta sauce.
How to Make Creamy Beet Pasta Sauce: An Easy Guide
Making beet pasta sauce is straightforward and rewarding. Follow this guide to create a rich, vibrant sauce that will elevate your pasta dishes.
Start with the Pasta Water
- Begin by boiling a large pot of well-salted water. This step is crucial for cooking the pasta to perfection.
Sauté the Base
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and a pinch of salt, cooking until the onion is translucent. Next, stir in minced garlic until it becomes fragrant. This base adds depth to the sauce.
Cook the Beets
- To the pot, add diced beets, another pinch of salt, and black pepper. Pour in chicken or vegetable broth, then bring the mixture to a boil.
- Lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the beets are fork tender.
Prepare the Pasta
- While the beets simmer, cook your pasta according to the package’s instructions. Once it’s al dente, drain it and set aside.
Blend the Sauce
- Once the beets are tender, blend the mixture until smooth. You can use an immersion blender right in the pot or transfer the mixture to a blender. Be careful; it’s hot.
Finish the Sauce
- Return the pureed beet sauce to the pot over low heat. Stir in heavy cream and grated Parmesan cheese. Cook for a few minutes until everything is heated through and combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Combine and Serve
- Toss the cooked pasta in the beet sauce until evenly coated. Serve garnished with more Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.
Make Ahead and Storage
Planning ahead or saving leftovers is easy with this beet pasta sauce. Here’s how:
- Make Ahead: You can prepare the beet sauce up to 2 days in advance. Keep it in the fridge in an airtight container. This lets the flavors meld beautifully.
- Refrigerate: Store leftover sauce or cooked pasta mixed with sauce in the fridge. Use an airtight container. It’ll stay good for up to 3-4 days.
- Freeze: The beet sauce freezes well on its own. Pour it into a freezer-safe bag or container. It’ll last for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- Reheat: Warm the sauce over low heat on the stove. Add a splash of broth or water if it’s too thick. Stir until heated through.
- Do Not Freeze the pasta once mixed with the sauce. It’s best fresh or refrigerated for a few days.
How to Serve This Beet Pasta Sauce Recipe
This beet pasta sauce is more than just a meal; it’s a conversation starter with its stunning color and deep flavors.
Serve this rich, creamy sauce over your choice of al dente pasta.
I find that shapes like fettuccine, penne, or rigatoni really embrace the sauce, letting every bite be as flavorful as possible.
Toppings for Beet Pasta Sauce
Elevate your dish with these simple yet impactful additions:
- Add more cheese: A light garnish of extra Parmesan on top right before serving adds a beautiful finish. You could also top the cooked beetroot pasta with a spoonful of ricotta cheese, goat cheese, or a ball of burrata or mozzarella.
- Roasted nuts: A sprinkle of toasted walnuts or pine nuts introduces a delightful crunch and nuttiness.
- Fresh herbs: Chopped parsley, fresh basil, or chives add a burst of freshness and color.
- Red pepper flakes: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, a light sprinkle can add a nice kick.
Side Dishes for Beet Pasta Sauce
Complete your meal with these side options:
- Green salad: A bowl of simple mixed greens with a light vinaigrette complements the richness of the pasta.
- Garlic bread: Ideal for mopping up any remaining sauce, offering a crispy texture and aromatic flavor.
- Roasted vegetables: Consider serving with roasted asparagus, broccoli, or candied Brussels sprouts for an added veggie boost.
Pairing this beet pasta sauce with the right toppings and sides can turn a simple pasta dish into a full, satisfying meal that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.
FAQs About Beet Pasta Sauce
Just skimming through? Here are some quick answers to the commonly-asked questions.
What does beet pasta taste like?
Beet pasta is creamy and savory, with a sweet hint from the beets and a nutty depth. If you enjoy butternut squash pasta sauce, autumn squash soup, pumpkin pasta sauce, or creamy carrot soup, you’ll find beetroot pasta sauce equally tasty.
Are canned beets acidic?
Canned beets are slightly less acidic than fresh beets due to the canning process. They’re preserved in a way that maintains their sweetness and earthiness, making them a convenient option for recipes.
How to make beet pasta sauce?
To make beet pasta sauce, sauté onions and garlic, add broth and diced beets, simmer until tender, then blend into a smooth sauce. Finish by stirring in heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, and season to taste.
Could you use canned beets in this?
Yes, you can use canned beets in this recipe. They offer a time-saving shortcut without significantly altering the sauce’s flavor profile. Just ensure they’re drained well before blending.
Can I make this sauce vegan?
Yes, you could make this sauce vegan by substituting the heavy cream with a plant-based alternative like soaked cashew cream and using nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese.
Is this sauce gluten-free?
This beet pasta sauce is naturally gluten-free. Just be sure to serve it with a gluten-free pasta option to keep the entire dish gluten-free.
What’s the best way to store leftover sauce?
Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat gently on the stove.
Can I add meat to this sauce?
Absolutely! Cooked, crumbled bacon or pancetta can add a savory depth to the sauce. For a heartier version, consider adding chicken breast.
Other Favorite Creamy Italian Recipes:
Beet Pasta Sauce Recipe (Creamy + Delicious!)
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus more as needed
- ½ medium onion finely chopped
- ¾ lb pasta
- 1 kosher salt
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ lb beets peeled and diced into 1″ cubes
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more to serve
- Freshly ground black pepper for serving
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Prepare the sauce:
- In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion plus 1/2 tsp of salt. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the broth.
- Add the beets plus 1/2 tsp more salt and the pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork.
Boil the Pasta:
- While the beets are simmering, cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Finish and combine:
- Once the beets are tender, use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a blender (carefully, as it will be hot) and puree until smooth.
- Return the pureed beet sauce to the pot over low heat. Stir in the heavy cream and grated parmesan. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is heated through and well combined. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Toss the cooked pasta in the beet sauce until the pasta is evenly coated. Garnish with more parmesan cheese and black pepper.
Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD