Healthy Beetroot Idlis: A Nutritious Twist on a South Indian Classic

Healthy Beetroot Idlis: A Nutritious Twist on a South Indian Classic

Beetroot idlis are a vibrant and nutritious variation of the traditional South Indian idli, incorporating the rich flavors and health benefits of beetroot into this beloved breakfast dish. Idlis, typically made from fermented rice and urad dal (black gram), are soft, fluffy, and mildly tangy. By adding beetroot, not only do we introduce a stunning color, but we also boost the nutritional profile of this dish. Here’s how you can make healthy beetroot idlis at home and why they are an excellent addition to your diet.

Why Choose Beetroot Idlis?

1. Nutrient-Rich: Beetroot is a powerhouse of nutrients, providing a good source of fiber, vitamins (especially vitamin C and B6), minerals (such as iron, manganese, and potassium), and antioxidants. Incorporating beetroot into idlis makes them more nutrient-dense compared to the traditional version.

2. Low in Calories: Idlis are naturally low in calories and fat, making them an excellent option for those watching their weight. The addition of beetroot adds volume and nutrition without significantly increasing the calorie count.

3. Digestive Health: The fermentation process of the idli batter enhances its digestibility and promotes the growth of gut-friendly bacteria. Beetroot, being high in fiber, further aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy digestive system.

4. Heart Health: Beetroot contains nitrates, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health. Combined with the low-fat content of idlis, beetroot idlis make for a heart-friendly meal.

5. Immune System Boost: Beetroot is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants that support the immune system. Regular consumption can help ward off common illnesses and improve overall health.

6. Blood Sugar Regulation: The fiber content in beetroot helps slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, which can help in managing blood sugar levels, making beetroot idlis a good option for diabetics.

Recipe: How to Make Healthy Beetroot Idlis


  • 1 cup idli rice
  • 1/2 cup urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1/4 cup poha (flattened rice)
  • 1 medium-sized beetroot
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as needed
  • Oil for greasing idli molds


  1. Preparation:
    • Wash and soak the idli rice and urad dal separately in water for at least 4-6 hours.
    • Soak the poha in water for about 30 minutes before grinding.
  2. Grinding the Batter:
    • Drain the soaked rice and dal. In a blender, grind the urad dal with a little water until it becomes a smooth, fluffy batter.
    • Grind the idli rice and poha together until you get a slightly coarse batter.
    • Combine both batters in a large bowl and mix well. Add salt to taste.
  3. Fermentation:
    • Cover the batter and let it ferment overnight or for 8-10 hours in a warm place. The batter should double in volume and become airy.
  4. Preparing Beetroot Puree:
    • Peel and grate the beetroot. Steam or boil it until tender.
    • Blend the cooked beetroot into a smooth puree. Add a little water if necessary.
  5. Mixing and Steaming:
    • Once the batter is fermented, gently fold in the beetroot puree until the batter is uniformly pink.
    • Grease the idli molds with a little oil. Pour the batter into the molds, filling them about 3/4 full.
    • Steam the idlis in an idli steamer or pressure cooker (without the whistle) for about 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Serving:
    • Remove the idlis from the molds and serve hot with coconut chutney, sambar, or any chutney of your choice.

Variations and Tips

1. Beetroot and Carrot Idlis: For an added boost of nutrients and a slightly sweeter taste, mix grated carrot with the beetroot puree before adding it to the batter.

2. Beetroot Rava Idlis: Substitute part of the rice with rava (semolina) for a quicker version of beetroot idlis that doesn’t require fermentation.

3. Spiced Beetroot Idlis: Add finely chopped green chilies, ginger, and a few curry leaves to the batter for a spicier version.

4. Serve with Nut Chutneys: Pair beetroot idlis with protein-rich nut chutneys like peanut or almond chutney to enhance the meal’s nutritional value.

5. Mini Idlis for Kids: Make mini beetroot idlis using smaller molds. These are more appealing to kids and make for a great lunchbox item.

Health Benefits of Beetroot Idlis

Enhanced Nutrient Intake: By incorporating beetroot, you increase your intake of essential vitamins and minerals, which can boost your overall health.

Improved Digestive Health: The high fiber content in beetroot aids digestion and promotes regular bowel movements.

Cardiovascular Benefits: The nitrates in beetroot can help reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow, supporting heart health.

Weight Management: Beetroot idlis are low in calories and fat, making them a great option for those trying to maintain or lose weight.

Antioxidant Properties: The antioxidants in beetroot help fight oxidative stress and inflammation, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Detoxification: Beetroot supports liver function and helps in the detoxification process, flushing out toxins from the body.

Beetroot idlis are a fantastic way to introduce more vegetables into your diet while enjoying a traditional and beloved dish. They are not only visually appealing but also packed with health benefits, making them perfect for breakfast, a light lunch, or even a snack. Try this nutritious and delicious twist on idlis and add a burst of color and health to your meals. Enjoy the wholesome goodness of beetroot idlis and take a step towards a healthier lifestyle!

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