Scalloped Potatoes & Beets

aka "Those Pink Potatoes"

A surprising summer au gratin vegetable side dish, familiar but at the same time inventive, just thin layers of potatoes and beets, baked and melded together with garlic, grated Parmesan and light cream. And oh, such dramatic color, yes?!

Scalloped Potatoes & Beets, another creative vegetable side dish ♥ Just four ingredients + pantry staples. Beautiful color!

Whole Food, Fresh & Inventive. An Unusual Summer Side Dish or Even Light Supper. Beautiful Color! Just Four Ingredients + Pantry Staples. Light But Filling. Budget Friendly. Make It Ahead, Serve It Later. Potluck & Party Friendly. Scales from Small Plates to Large Platters. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free.


Scalloped Potatoes & Beets Made the List!

A Magical Summer Night

Summers back, friends hosted a backyard potluck, convening spirited folk from the different corners of their lives. The midsummer night was steamy, the kids rambunctious, the trees a rainbow of colored light, the Jimmy Buffet dulcet.

Food-wise, the talk of the party was the "pink potatoes" — a delicious make-ahead dish perfect for family dinners and friendly potlucks since it’s good both hot and barely warm. The beets and potatoes remain distinct but also somehow melt together in a tantalizing way.

Yes, this is the side dish that owned the night. Yes, I asked for the recipe.

Scalloped Potatoes & Beets, another creative vegetable side dish ♥ Just four ingredients + pantry staples. Beautiful color!

About This Recipe

  • Scalloped Potatoes & Beets is a creamy vegetable casserole constructed with five layers of thin-sliced red-skinned or Yukon gold potatoes and red beets, baked with grated Parmesan and half & half until soft and cheesy. It's long been called "Those Pink Potatoes" because the beets stain the potatoes a beautiful pink color.
  • It may be served as a side dish or even, in larger slices, as a vegetarian crustless tart.
  • It may be served hot, at room temperature or even chilled.
  • Distinctive Ingredients = potatoes + beets + cream + grated Parmesan
  • Short Ingredient List = all the above + garlic & butter for the baking dish + salt & pepper
  • It takes time to slice the potatoes and beets thin and to build the five layers. But once the prep is done, the dish bakes and requires little more attention.
  • This au gratin dish has a dramatic appearance, that's because when the potatoes and beets bake together, the beet color permeates the potatoes.
  • This is a calorie-friendly recipe, each serving is under 200 calories, that's unusual compared to other scalloped potato recipes.
  • This is a budget-friendly recipe, all the ingredients except the Parmesan are quite inexpensive.
  • The recipe serves 8 as a side dish, abou 6 as a main dish.

What's In Scalloped Potatoes & Beets? Just Four Ingredients + Pantry Staples.

In all my recipes and most well-written recipes, every ingredient serves a purpose. Each one matters. Each one contributes to the overall dish. It's not that an ingredient can't be substituted by something else but when choosing the substitute, it's important to understand why the original ingredient was present in the first place.

  • Potatoes Use medium- to large-size potatoes, that means red skinned potatoes or Yukon golds. Leave the skins on, no need to peel. Small potatoes work too, they're just fussier to cut thin. And you do want to cut the potatoes as thin as possible. A mandoline works (and moves quicker) but with a little care and attention, it's really quite easy to cut very thin slices of potato with a sharp knife.
  • Beets Use small- to medium-size red beets, trimmed and peeled before slicing. Your hands will stain red with beet juice but don't worry, it comes clean after a couple of hand washes. Again, focus on slicing the beets thin, especially since they're denser than potatoes. And again, a mandoline works but it's not in the least bit hard to cut thin slices with a sharp knife.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese I use freshly grated Parmesan but really, I think that pre-grated Parmesan would work fine, not the Kraft green can stuff, but pre-grated or even pre-shaved.
  • Half & Half Half & half is common in the U.S. but in my kitchen, since we nearly always have cream and whole milk, we mix the two 1:1 to make our own half & half. (Yes, half & half is just that, half cream and half whole milk.) Heavy cream also works and makes for a thicker, creamier dish but is also much richer, too rich for my taste anyway. You really do need to use at least half & half for thickening power: anything less like whole milk, 2% milk, 1/2% milk or skim milk, just won't thicken.
  • Pantry Ingredients Just butter and a garlic clove for greasing the baking dish, plus salt and pepper. That's it!

How to Make Scalloped Potatoes & Beets

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in three steps. You can do this!

  • PREP the baking dish with garlic and butter; measure the half & half; grate the Parmesan.
  • BUILD FIVE LAYERS, alternating thin slices of potatoes and beets, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper, half & half and grated Parmesan.
  • BAKE for an hour at 350F/180C, pressing the layers after 20 minutes and 40 minutes to ensure all the layers cook through and the colorful beet juices permeate throughout.
Collage of four photos showing how to make Scalloped Potatoes & Beets ♥

A Few Key Steps

upper left | grate the Parmesan and measure the half & half first, you'll want them prepped and handy before slicing the potatoes and beets since each one is applied after each layer, also salt and pepper

upper right | create the first layer of thin-sliced potato, filling the baking dish, overlapping the slices a bit

lower left | create the second layer of thin-sliced beet, you can see the seasoning, parmesan and half & half on top of the first potato layer

lower right | repeat the potato layer (and another beet layer and a final potato layer)

A newspaper clipping of Those Pink Potatoes, published in the Webster-Kirkwood Times and the South County Times in suburban St. Louis.

Popular in Print!

For some years, Kitchen Parade was published in my then-hometown's weekly newspaper. "Those Pink Potatoes" created quite a stir, that year!

Scalloped Potatoes & Beets, another creative vegetable side dish ♥ Just four ingredients + pantry staples. Beautiful color!

For Best Results

For my weekly column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I interviewed chefs and translated their restaurant recipes for home kitchens. The most illuminating question? "How can a home cook ensure the same results?" So now I ask that question of myself, too, for my own recipes. Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Slice the Potatoes & Beets Very Thin Thin-sliced potatoes and beets are important. If they're sliced thick, the casserole dish may become too full and overflow or you may end up with only enough of the two vegetables for three layers vs five layers.

But most of all, thick slices take longer to cook. If your slices turn out quite thick, to compensate you may want to use a deeper baking dish, more half & half and to increase the baking time.

With a sharp knife and a little patience, it's quite easy to cut thin slices of both the potatoes and the beets.

But for fast, even slices, nothing is better than a vegetable slicer called a "mandoline" or some times a "Japanese Benriner". I do have one and pull it out every so often, it's similar to this mandoline (affiliate link). But do use a mandoline with great care. The blades are wicked sharp and I know several people who have suffered bad cuts. For more information, please see How (and Why!) to Use a Benriner (Japanese Mandoline / Mandolin).

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Scalloped Potatoes & Beets, another creative vegetable side dish ♥ Just four ingredients + pantry staples. Beautiful color!

aka "Those Pink Potatoes"

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: about 2 hours
Serves 8 or more as a side dish, 6 as a main course.

Buy extra potato and beet, you need enough for five layers (3 of potato, 2 of beet) and how much is needed depends on the thickness of the slices.
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • Butter for greasing
  • 3 ounces (85g) fresh Parmesan, grated
  • 1½ cups half & half or heavy cream
  • About 1 pound (450g) red-skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, no need to peel
  • About 1 pound (450g) small or medium fresh beets, trimmed and peeled
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh thyme, optional but nice

PREP Heat the oven to 350F/180C. Rub a shallow quiche pan or 9x9 glass baking dish with the flat surface of the garlic clove, then butter the bottom and sides of the dish. Measure the cream and keep it handy. Grate the Parmesan, roughly divide it in five, four portions of equal size for the first four layers, one portion of larger size for the top layer. Keep this handy too.

POTATOES & BEETS With a vegetable slicer like a mandoline (see ALANNA’s TIPS) or a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes and beets very thin. I slice only enough for a single layer at a time, this reduces the risk that the potatoes will turn brown.

CONSTRUCT FIVE LAYERS, three potato layers for the bottom, top and middle; two layers of beet between the potato layers. The slices should overlap just a bit.

THE FIRST FOUR LAYERS Season each of the first four layers with salt and pepper; top with a handful of grated cheese and a splash of half & half.

  • Potato or Beet Layer
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Grated Cheese
  • Splash of Half & Half

TOP LAYER Add the fifth layer (potato) and season with salt & pepper. Distribute the remaining cheese evenly across the top. Carefully pour the remaining half & half over the top, jiggling a bit to help it filter through the layers.

BAKE for a total of 60 minutes. After 20 minutes and 40 minutes, gently press the top of the dish to submerge the layers into the liquid after 20 and 40 minutes, letting the beet color ooze up and especially, to cover the top layer so that it will cook well. Test for doneness and if done, remove from the oven.

If the dish needs more oven time, consider covering the top with foil so it doesn't burn but do know, the foil will also shield the dish from the heat, requiring even more time to finish baking. I've never had this happen but with thick slices, can imagine how it could occur.

TO SERVE HOT If slicing, cover with foil and let the dish rest for 15 minutes to firm up a bit. If scooping, serve immediately.

TO SERVE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE Let the dish cool uncovered for about 30 minutes.

TO MAKE AHEAD Assemble and bake the dish earlier in the day. To rewarm to serve hot, return the dish uncovered to the oven at 350F/180C until it's hot. If the dish has been kept at room temperature, this takes about 20 minutes. Timing will vary but the cheesy aroma will alert you when it's hot and bubbly again.

ALANNA's TIPS Do not use fat-free half & half, it just doesn't have the thickening properties of real half & half or heavy cream. I love the perfectly thin and perfectly shaped layers from a vegetable slicer called a Benriner, a Japanese mandoline that sells for $30 to $40. But with care and attention, it's very doable to cut thin slices of both the potato and the beet with a steady hand and a sharp knife. To serve more people, just build five layers of potatoes and beets in a larger baking dish with equivalently more cheese and half & half. It'll take more time to assemble but it's a real crowd pleaser.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
Per Serving (assumes 8 made with half & half): 169 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 28mg Cholesterol; 231mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 3g Fiber; ?g Sugar; ?g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus ? & SmartPoints ? & Freestyle ? & myWW green ? & blue ? & purple ? & future WW points

Per Serving (assumes 8 made with cream): 188 Calories; 12g Tot Fat; 7g Sat Fat; 42mg Cholesterol; 221mg Sodium; 15g Carb; 3g Fiber; ?g Sugar; ?g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 4 & PointsPlus ? & SmartPoints ? & Freestyle ? & myWW green ? & blue ? & purple ? & future WW points


My Canadian relatives make a family-dinner favorite routinely requested as, You know, "that pink salad".

For my version, just toss chopped romaine lettuce with toasted sunflower seeds, drained mandarin oranges and finely chopped red onion.

Just before serving, barely wet the greens with a dressing whizzed in the blender: ¼ cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons reserved mandarin orange syrup, some red onion, ½ teaspoon dry mustard, a teaspoon of salt – plus the source of the blush, four maraschino cherries.

More Summer "Magical Marriages" Between Potatoes and ...

~ potato recipes ~
Confetti Potato Salad ♥, a colorful mix of sweet potatoes, potatoes and vegetables. No mayonnaise.

Best Ever New Potatoes & Green Beans, a classic summer combo ♥ Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Budget Friendly. Gluten Free. Rave Reviews.

Peperonata with Potatoes, rustic Italian antipasto ♥, the classic Italian dish made from peppers, onion, tomato and potatoes. Served warm or at room temperature. Vegan. Recipe, tips, nutrition & Weight Watchers points included.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

~ beet recipes ~
~ potato recipes ~
~ Parmesan cheese ~

~ All Recipes, By Ingredient ~
~ How to Save Money on Groceries ~

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2007 & 2023 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/10/2007

    Very pretty!

  2. Anonymous7/10/2007

    That potato dish has my name written all over it indeed:) Looks wonderful - and I love how I can get a sneak view of your garden through those pictures!

  3. Anonymous7/10/2007

    That sounds great, I'll make a point of looking for beets at the farmers' market today.

  4. Anonymous7/10/2007

    You are the beet queen, no matter if your Dad doesn't understand! (And I still don't like Louise Erdrich ...)

  5. Anonymous7/10/2007

    It's just so nice to look at and a different dish for the table.

  6. Anonymous7/10/2007

    That sounds great! I must try it! I like the idea of adding parmesan, in between the layers.

  7. Anonymous7/10/2007

    These are definite keepers Alanna. These dishes make for knock-out presentations.

  8. Anonymous7/10/2007

    Haven't written to you before as I don't get a chance to get on the computer very often but I have to tell you how much I appreciate your recipes. They really are wonderful and I use them all the time. Thank you so much for your effort.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna