A sauce of freshly grated horseradish, beets and vinegarFresh horseradish with beets is an explosion of color and flavor.  It is a perfect accompaniment to roasted or braised meat, and baked or smoked fish. You haven’t really tasted horseradish if you haven’t had it fresh from the root. And I’m not just saying that because I like it better (which I do).  There’s a scientific explanation as to why fresh is not the same as the stuff you buy in a bottle.

how to make a sauce of fresh horseradish and beetsHorseradish undergoes a chemical transformation when it’s grated.  Enzymes are released when the flesh is broken. These enzymes cause the formation of mustard oil, which is what turns horseradish from an odorless, ordinary-seeming root, into something that can clear your sinuses and make your eyes tear.

fresh horseradish is peeled

Horseradish cut into chunks

fresh grated horseradish rootVinegar must be added to slow the enzymes and stabilize the horseradish. Grated horseradish plus vinegar is referred to as “prepared horseradish” in many recipes. If you don’t add vinegar, the enzymes continue to act and the horseradish will slowly get more and more bitter and turn brown.  Though even with the addition of vinegar, prepared horseradish slowly loses its pungency over time.  Which is why, you should really give freshly grated horseradish a try.

the rest of the ingredients are added

freshly grated horseradish with vinegar and beetsCenturies ago horseradish was appreciated for its medicinal powers.  They claimed it encourages the body to clear mucous.  I am sure that’s true based on the few times I got too close to the food processor when I lifted the cover.  Plus, it clears my sinuses every time I take a bite.  At the Passover seder hot pink horseradish is delicious on matzo and gefilte fish and brisket.  But it also has a symbolic importance – a reminder of the harsh bitterness of the Jew’s lives as slaves in Egypt. Fresh horseradish and beet sauce is also commonly served at Easter dinner in parts of Eastern and central Europe, as an accompaniment for lamb.

fresh grated horseradish with beetsIt’s also beautiful!

Recipe type: Side dish, condiment
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-10
Hot and zesty condiment for fish, beef or lamb. Or add delicious zing to a sandwich.
  • 1 horseradish root, at least 4 inches, peeled and brown spots removed
  • 2 medium beets, cooked and peeled or 1 15-ounce can cooked beets, drained
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A food processor with a shredding blade and an s-shaped chopping blade
  1. Using about 4 inches of the peeled horseradish root, cut it into chunks that will fit into the feeding tube of your food processor. Use the shredding blade to shred the horseradish. Take out the shredded horseradish and switch to the chopping blade. Return horseradish and all the rest of the ingredients to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse several times, scraping down the sides, if need be. Process for 30 second or so, or until you get a nice finely-textured consistency. Enjoy!
  2. NOTE: Make it several hours or up to a day ahead, to allow the flavors to blend and a bit of the heat to mellow. It will keep in a tightly-sealed container in the fridge for 3 days.
  3. WARNING: do not breathe in too close to freshly grated horseradish, as it is blindingly hot. Also, start with a very tiny bit when you first taste it to ensure you know what you are in for.




  1. says

    I found you from your like of EasyRecipe. I’ve learned more about horseradish in 5 minutes than I had anywhere else. I love beets (or beetroot as they’re called here in Australia) and I want to make this this. The color is striking.

    • Lisa Goldfinger says

      Hi Maureen, nice to hear from you. By the way, I love your EasyRecipe plugin and the support is the best! Lisa

  2. Kristine says

    I live in Dubai and always bring home beets and horse radish from home (Canada). This year I didnt as thought I had enough in the fridge. I came back to dubai, looked in the fridge and it had been thrown out. I was crushed…for real! Going to try this recipe….can’t wait!

  3. Tim says

    A long time favorite for my family…we have a spoonful on our Easter Eggs And Kielbasa! Thanks for sharing…making it now!

  4. Joan Reichert says

    It’s been a tradition in our Ukranian family for many, many years to always have Beets with Horsehradish as a side dish when serving ham, kielbosi or turkey. Of course we always use fresh beets and a horseradish root. I’ve just finished doing my beets in my Quisinart after cooking them. What a delicious food! Joan

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