Beetroot Thoran (South Indian Style Sabzi/Veg)

Beetroot Thoran – A South Indian Style Beetroot Sabzi / Vegetable

I try and include beetroots in our diet by adding them in our weekly meals. Usually it’s a raita (yoghurt based) or boiled, sliced and stuffed as a sandwich for breakfast or the humble Thoran from Kerala that is most loved at home so much so that there are second helpings demanded. People who hate beetroots – Are you listening??

I find a lot of people dislike this vegetable for many number of reasons but the most important being the earthy flavor and aroma. I feel the problem can be solved by steaming them in the right way (excessive steaming leads to nutrition loss and under steaming makes it tough and difficult to digest). Now there is a growing trend amongst bakers to include beetroots in chocolate based cakes, brownies etc. I haven’t tried it yet but will get there someday. Since me and Narayan both love the raw and the cooked versions of beetroots, I don’t have to thankfully do a lot of experiments at home.

There are few occasions in a year where we don’t consume onion and garlic at home and so such vegetables come to our rescue. Thorans are quick to make, healthy and definitely tasty. The ten days of Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri festival for 9 days, Shravan Mondays, Generally Tuesdays and Fridays too at home means no onion-garlic days. So, I make a variety of coconut based thorans at home that are tasty, have less oil and the veggies are mostly steamed or slightly boiled which makes them highly nutritive.

Highlighting some of the health benefits of Beetroots –

  • Beetroots promote healthy complexion and hair.
  • They aid in weight loss and increased energy levels.
  • The high nitrate levels in beetroots are known to treat cardiovascular conditions and help regulate blood pressure.
  • Beets contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which may help lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Because of its high fiber content, beetroot helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

I think most adults still manage to consume beetroots but the biggest challenge remain kids. I have tried to list down ways to include / sneak beetroots into your child’s meal to ensure their nutrition levels remain good. Check the same at the very end of the post. 

Read the recipe below and try to include Beetroots in your weekly meals.

Recipe for Beetroot Thoran

Serves 2 persons


  1. Beetroots – 3 nos. medium (peeled & steamed in a pressure cooker until soft)
  2. Fresh Coconut – 3 tblsps
  3. Green chillies – 2 nos
  4. Coconut oil – 2 tsps
  5. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  6. Dry Red Chillies (Whole) – 1-2 nos. broken
  7. Salt as per taste
  8. Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Method –

  1. Steam the beetroots in a pressure cooker (don’t add water as beetroots tend to release water when cooked), remove the skin and chop them finely or into medium size chunks. You can also grate them if you want.
  2. In a mixer, grind coconut and green chillies together. Note – I had no time to grate the coconut so added few pieces of the same. You can grate and then grind it along with chillies too)
  3. Heat a kadhai or heavy bottom pan, add oil and once its hot, add mustard seeds, let it crackle.
  4. Add the dry red chilies, curry leaves and then add the chopped beetroots along with salt as per taste.
  5. Mix it well and then add grated coconut and chilies mixture.
  6. Switch off the flame. Serve it hot with dal rice, sambhar or rasam.

Recipe notes –

  • If you are a working woman, you can steam the beetroots overnight and then next day it takes only 15 minutes to put everything together. I do the same.
  • You can avoid the green chillies if making for your kids.

Ways to include beetroots for kids –

  1. You can add grated beetroot in potato or paneer tikkis with corn and some regular masalas.
  2. Steam and grate some beetroots along with some shredded cheese and grill it as sandwiches for lunch/kids tiffin box. The cheese masks the taste of the beetroots. Add some green chutney too if you like.
  3. The water that remains after cooking the beetroots should never be thrown. Add it to your wheat flour aata or your dosa batter to make pink dosas or pink rotis / parathas. Your kids (especially the girls) will love you.
  4. Add beetroots in pav bhaji to mask its earthy flavor.
  5. You can also add them along with mashed potato sabzi that you make for masala dosas.

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Vidya Narayan

39 thoughts on “Beetroot Thoran (South Indian Style Sabzi/Veg)

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    1. Thanks dear. Thoran in Kerala means a veggie dish which is based on coconut. Here I have restricted the coconut to few tblsps but down south especially Kerala, they use loads of coconut to flavour the veggies & It tastes heavenly. Some add onions also but since we are Palakkad Iyers, we avoid onions in our thorans.

  1. Wow. Vidya. It’s truly a great coincidence. I just made Beetroot root fry today and I was about to post it and read your Beetroot Thoran. Between I love Beetroot Halwa also very much. 🙂

  2. Looks gorgeous. I love beetroot thoran 😀 . I was one of those people who didn’t like beetroot at first but when I started cooking it myself I realised the fault had been in preparation, and now I’m a convert 😉 . You should definitely try it in chocolate cake. It’s so good and makes it extra moist!

    1. Thanks Ellanor. I am equally curious to try it in one of my bakes as its highly recommended by everyone including you now. Yes, you rightly pointed out the problem in consuming beetroots – the method of preparation. Once you cross that hurdle, you will love eating it every week.

  3. Interesting I make thoran with beans and other veggies but never tried with beets , will definitely try this next time ! Thanks for the lovely share Vidya!

  4. Wow…I love beets and coconut so this is a must try for me and it has chilli so that’s me sorted.Thank you so much and I also learnt a bit about your culture from the comments above so thank you 🙂 Love it!

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