The Unexpected Ingredient That Will Majorly Upgrade Your Pickled Beets

While beets aren't everyone's favorite vegetable, they have a loyal following for their taste and health benefits. Recipe developer Miriam Hahn can't get enough of the brightly hued vegetable, saying that beets are "loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals." 

But how much can you upgrade the standard recipe for pickled beets? According to Hahn, you can do more than you think. Her Mashed-exclusive pickled beets recipe uses an unexpected ingredient to take the dish's flavor — and health benefits — to the next level.

Hahn's contrivance not only ups the time efficiency of the beet-pickling process but also upgrades its flavor profile. "I love how easy this recipe is and how much flavor comes from just a few ingredients," Hahn says. "You can eat these beets alone, as a side dish or you can toss them in a salad. They go great with anything off the grill, pasta, paninis, wraps, salads, or even lettuce wraps." Here's how to upgrade your pickled beets with her special ingredient.

Ume plum vinegar is the specialty ingredient you didn't know you needed

Miriam Hahn's pickled beets recipe features the standard ingredients you'd expect: pepper, salt, garlic, olive oil (with the option of added parsley), and, of course the beets. But she adds another specialty ingredient to the mix: ume plum vinegar, which tends to have a more potent flavor than standard white vinegar.

"Ume plum vinegar has a salty, fruity, yet tart flavor. It is a really potent vinegar that goes a long way," says Hahn. It also soaks into the beets quickly, making it a time-efficient ingredient option, as it doesn't need to ferment.

And in addition to improving the dish's flavor profile, ume plum vinegar has nutritional benefits, too. Hahn, who is a wellness coach, also says the vinegar "helps with digestion, fatigue, and aids the body in releasing toxins." A side dish that's tasty and good for you? Yes, please.