Instant Pot Beets with herb pesto

Yellow and red beets covered in a herb sauce

This recipe isn’t a traditional Ukrainian-Canadian recipe.  But, it’s all beets so you’re most of the way there.  I’ve combined red and golden / yellow beets here but either kinds work.  If you’re using both, keep them separated while marinating in the sauce – because red beets make everything red.

These beets can be made a day ahead.  With some time overnight in the fridge, they become even more flavourful.  A great make-ahead side dish for Easter.Jump straight to the recipe

Two red beets and a golden beet rinsed off

I started with 3 fairly large beets – almost 1.5 pounds of beets (650 g).

Three beets ready to steam in the Instant Pot

It’s easiest to give them a quick rinse and scrub if they need them and put them straight into steam in the Instant Pot.  With 1 ½ cup of water, seal the Instant Pot and steam on High pressure for 25 minutes, allowing for 10 minutes of a natural release.

Mixture of thyme, dill and rosemaryWhile the beets are steaming away, wash and rinse fresh herbs.  It can be any combination.  Here I’m using one sprig of rosemary, and small bunches of thyme and dill.  Discard stems from the thyme.  In all, you’ll need a combination that yields ½ cup to ¾ cup.

Lemon zest and a raspZest a lemon.  Then, juice that lemon.

Roasted hazelnuts, garlic, herbs ready to blendCombine the herbs along with 2 cloves garlic (or to your taste), ¼ cup roasted hazelnuts, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup olive oil along with the lemon zest and juice.

Blended pesto, now a greeny and garlicky gooBlend. I use a Blendtec Twister Jar. But, any blender will work.

Three beets cooling off in a colander

Pull the beets out of the Instant Pot.  Discard the water.  Cool down the beets by rinsing with cold water.  The skin should come off easily – as should any weird roots.  You can wear gloves for this.

A beet sliced into thin slices

Slice or cube the beets. Either is attractive.

If you’re marinating overnight, combine the yellow beets and red beets separately with portions of the sauce to coat.  Remember – the red beets make everything red.

Special equipment

  • Instant Pot
  • Steamer insert
  • Colander
  • Blender or food processor

Instant Pot Beets with herb pesto

A fresh and easy side dish for Easter or anytime in spring.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Side, Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 6 to 8 servings


  • 9.5 oz or 250g large yellow / golden beets
  • 13.5 oz or 385g large red beets
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ¼ cup thyme stems removed
  • ¼ cup dill
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts or other nuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste


  • Rinse beets and scrub (if there's visible dirt). Place in the Instant Pot on a steaming rack with 1 ½ cups water. Set the Instant Pot to High pressure for 25 minutes. Allow 10 minutes for a natural release of the pressure.
  • Combine herbs, lemon juice and zest, nuts, olive oil, garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  • Remove the beets from the Instant Pot and rinse under cold water. When they're cool enough to touch, slip off the skin (using gloves). Slice or dice the beets.
  • If using two colours of beets, toss them the sauce separately and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  • Before serving, combine the two colours of beets together. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Beets combined with the sauce

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