Beet Onion Bulgur Bowl

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published September 19, 2022

Turning your meal into a bowl can be fun, as well as delicious, like this Beet Onion Bulgur Bowl.

Sometimes all it takes to make a meal more exciting is to change up how it is served. Plus, a meal in a bowl means less preparation time and mess as everything is just being put into a single bowl. In this recipe, the only ingredient that needs to be cooked is the bulgur, making this a SUPER simple and healthy meal.

Why Beets Should be on Your Menu Often

Beetroots, commonly known as beets, are a vibrant and versatile type of vegetable. They’re known for their earthy flavor and aroma.

In addition to bringing a pop of color to your plate, beets are highly nutritious and packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, many of which have medicinal properties.

What’s more, they’re delicious and easy to add to your diet in dishes like balsamic roasted beets, hummus, fries, and salads, among many others. We only recommend being a bit more careful when drinking beetroot juice (aka beet juice), as sometimes these juices can be full of added sugars and missing their vital fibers that help keep your blood sugar low.

But overall, when we get questions like "can a diabetic eat beets?","are beets good for diabetics?", "are beets healthy for diabetics?", the answer is a resounding yes!

Why are Beets so Good for You?

Beets boast an impressive nutritional profile. They’re low in calories yet high in valuable vitamins and minerals. In fact, they contain a bit of almost all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

  • Folate (vitamin B9). One of the B vitamins, folate is important for normal tissue growth and cell function. 
  • Manganese. An essential trace element, manganese is found in high amounts in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Potassium. A diet high in potassium can lead to lower blood pressure levels and positive effects on heart health, blood vessels, blood flow, and more. 
  • Iron. An essential mineral, iron has many important functions in your body. It’s necessary for the transport of oxygen in red blood cells.
  • Vitamin C. This well-known vitamin is an antioxidant that is important for immune function and skin health

Beets also support the health of your brain, heart, and digestive system. In addition, they are a great incorporation to a balanced diet, boost athletic performance, help alleviate inflammation, and possibly slow the growth of cancer cells.

As with any food, the overconsumption of beets can lead to some health problems for a small percentage of people. Risks of overconsumption include:

  • Increased risk of kidney stones: Since beets are high in the compound oxalate, eating too many can contribute to kidney stone formation. Fortunately, a diet with sufficient amount of calcium can help significantly reduce these risks, so if you're nervously asking 'are beets high in oxalates', the risk might be lower than you think.
  • Beeturia: With beeturia, urine may turn pink or red. Additionally, stool may become discolored. Though strange, this is harmless and will go away once you reduce or discontinue your intake of beets.
  • Can worsen gout: If you suffer from gout, you may want to avoid beets. The oxalate in beets can cause a rise in uric acid, which can worsen gout. 

If you aren't sure if beets are safe to eat for you, or you aren't sure how much is safe for you personally to consume, consult your primary doctor for advice.  

Tips for Buying Beets

Beets are not only nutritious but also incredibly delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet.

You can juice, roast, steam, or pickle them. For a convenient option, you can purchase them precooked and canned. You can even enjoy them raw, like in this recipe, either sliced thinly or grated.

Beets are cool-weather crops that grow best in spring and fall. The roots are harvested when the leaves are still young and tender. If you want the sweetest, most tender beets, look for baby beets in the winter.

Choose beets that are small and firm with deep maroon coloring, unblemished skin, and bright green leaves with no sign of wilting. The taproot (the thin, pointy tip of the root) should still be attached. Avoid larger beets which have a hairy taproot. All those tiny roots are an indication of toughness.

Beet Storage Tips

To prepare beets for storage, begin by trimming off the greens about two inches above the root. If left on, the greens will continue to draw moisture out of the roots. Also, the greens will spoil much faster than the beets themselves. And if you trim the stems too close to the root, they will tend to "bleed," meaning they will leak dark purple juice, which can get messy.  

Beets will dry out if they're not kept in a humid environment, which is exactly what the crisper drawer of your refrigerator is designed to create. The humidity comes from the vegetables themselves, which are constantly losing moisture through evaporation. 

Add in Onions for Extra Antioxidants

Onions are very good for you, and adding this nutrient-packed, aromatic vegetable into your meal rotation is a smart (and tasty) move. Thanks to its nutritional value, accessibility, and delicious flavor, it's no wonder this versatile bulb is a staple in cuisines across the world and forms the flavor base for a wide variety of dishes.

Onions are packed with disease- and free-radical-fighting antioxidants, which help repair and protect damaged cells in your body. They're one of the best sources of flavonoids, phytochemicals with powerful antioxidant properties. A diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and thwart free-radical damage, which leads to a strong immune system and better overall health.

Whole onions should last in your pantry or other cool, dry, dark place for about two weeks—but don't store them next to potatoes, which emit gas and moisture that can quickly spoil onions. If you have leftover onion that's already been cut, pop it in a resealable bag in the fridge to stay fresh for about a week (you can also store it in a container in the freezer).

Beet Onion Bulgur Bowl

Beverly Verwey
Course Dinner, Lunch
Servings 1 person
Calories 404 kcal


  • 2 medium raw beets thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 cup bulgur cooked
  • 1 medium carrot grated or spiralized
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans
  • 1 cup kale finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp paprika regular or smoked (optional)


  • Place the first seven ingredients (beets through to kale) in a bowl.
  • Sprinkle the top with toasted sesame seeds, lemon juice, cilantro and paprika on top.
  • Mix together before eating.


To cut down the prep time prepare the bulgur ahead. Instead of bulgur use any grain you desire.


Calories: 404kcalCarbohydrates: 62.4gProtein: 16.7gFat: 3.5gSodium: 216.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.