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How-to Buy, Cook, and Use Beet Greens to Save You Money and Reduce Food Waste
Have you every bought a bunch of beets, cut off the leafy stems, and tossed them?
This is s a common thing to do. I know I used to toss out or neglect the beet tops.
But, think again before throwing out those beautiful beet greens. When you buy a bunch of beets, you’re getting a two for one deal: beetroot and a leafy green bunch. Don’t you just love a good deal?
In fact, for much of history, beets were primarily grown for their leaves.
Beet greens are packed with health benefits. Plus, they taste great. They are mild, slightly sweet, and are perfect for sautéing or braising. The beet stems will become super tender while the leaves wilt up for easy chewing when cooked.
Beet greens are in the same family as Swiss chard. You could probably already tell that since they look so similar. And you can store, cook, and use them in about the same way too.
Next time you buy a bunch of beets, don’t just start thinking about how you want to cook the bulbs. Also consider how to cook those beet greens. These beet green recipes will help.
Beet Green Nutrition
The word “superfood” gets tossed around when talking about beets. Read this post on the health benefits of beets if you want to learn more.
But, what about beet stems and leaves?
Well, they may be even healthier than their bulbs.
Beet greens are high in nitrates. These aren’t the sodium nitrate which is found in processed food. The nitrates in beets help increase blood flow. As a result, this helps lower blood pressure, boost brain health, and increase athletic performance.
Beet greens are also loaded with vitamins and minerals like fiber, vitamins A, K, B6, and C. These contribute to a healthy immune system, bones, and eyes.
In addition, beet greens are highly nutritional while being low in calories. This is a winning combo in the fight against weight gain.
Check out these 10 health benefits of beet greens to learn more.
How-to Buy Beet Greens
When evaluating the freshness of an entire beet vegetable, the first thing you should look at is the beet greens. If the beet greens are still attached, it means the plant was dug up within the past week or so. Look for greens that are perky with no shriveling.
Depending on your grocery store, beets may or may not be available with their greens still attached. Your local farmer’s market is always your best bet for finding fresh beets. You can find your nearest farmer’s market by searching in this USDA directory.
In addition, you can order your beets online through various produce delivery services. Fresh produce is delivered directly to your doorstep. I wrote all about the best places to order produce online to help you choose the option that is right for you.
When is Beet (Green) Season?
Beets are harvested starting in early summer all the way through early fall. You will see them at your farmer’s market in a variety of maturity levels and sizes.
Early season beets are smaller and less earthy. During this time, their greens are young and often pristine. This is the best time to get fresh beet greens.
You will start to see bunches of beet greens without their bulbs in late summer. Beets keep well for a few weeks. So, their season is extended into early/mid-winter. In most cases, their beet greens were removed before storing.
How-to Cook Beet Greens
The easiest way to cook beet greens is by sautéing in a skillet or pan. Follow these simple steps for how to cook beet greens from a bunch of beets:
- Cut stems about 1 inch above the beet bulb.
- Chop stems into about 1” pieces.
- Add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a medium pan or skillet. Heat over medium heat.
- Add the chopped beet greens and a pinch of salt to the pan. Sauté, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside if you are adding to another dish. If serving greens by themselves continue to next step.
- Add greens to a bowl. Top with 1 tsp. acid of choice (lemon juice, white wine, red wine, apple cider, or sherry vinegar all work great). Add a splash of olive oil. Taste and add more acid, salt, or olive oil if necessary.
- Serve immediately, eat at room temperature, or store covered in refrigerator 3-4 days.
How-to Use Beet Greens
Let’s face it, beet greens aren’t the hippest or most widely use leafy greens. They take a backseat to kale, Swiss chard, and collards in the recipe world.
Luckily, beet greens are a great substitute for any of those hearty leafy greens in recipes. They are more mild and tender while being less bitter than kale and collards. Their leaves are also a great substitute for spinach.
Add cooked beet greens to grain bowls, eggs, Buddha bowls, roasted vegetables, or serve well-dressed for a simple side dish. Or make one of the delicious recipe ideas below.
Beet Greens Recipe Ideas
Found on walktoeat
This colorful vegan roasted beet and avocado salad is the perfect healthy substitute for the classic potato salad. Avocado adds healthy omega-3 fats that keep you feeling full. Plus, they contribute to a creamy texture instead of mayo. Keep this beet green recipe in mind for your next cookout.
Found on A Couple Cooks
This simple omelette is a great way to make use of your leftover beet greens. Eggs are healthy as it is. But, adding nutrition packed beet greens transform this easy egg dish into a vitamin, mineral, and protein packed meal. Plus, this beet greens recipe only takes 15 minutes to make.
Found on walktoeat
This squash and wild rice salad is a delicious and filling vegan meal prep dish. Instead of sautéing the greens like in most of the other recipes in this list, the greens are lightly roasted. This helps tenderize and bring out some of their sweetness. To use your entire beet bunch, you can easily substitute the squash in this recipe with beets. Or simply add beets to make this salad more filling.
Found on Maria Ushakova
Want to keep it simple with your beet greens recipe? Use this sautéed beet greens recipe to cook up a simple vegan side dish. This recipe shows you that you don’t need to make a multi ingredient dish to enjoy beet greens. They can be delicious on their own.
Found on Minimalist Baker
Pesto makes everything taste better. Plus, you can make it with just about any green(s). This vegan pesto is packed with several kinds of greens and herbs. Opt for beet greens instead of kale as indicated in the ingredient notes of the recipe. Top your sandwiches, grains, bread, potatoes, and meat with this health packed pesto.
Found on walktoeat
If you are ever unsure how to cook something, just sauté it and toss it in baked eggs. It will taste delicious. Promise. Use beet greens in this healthy vegetable frittata. Make this in a cast iron skillet for a filling one-pan dish. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. In other words, perfect for any meal.
Found on Eating Bird Food
Go full beet with this recipe that used both the beetroot bulb and greens. No waste here. Golden beets are a bit easier to work with compared to red beets because they don’t stain as much. Red beets will make your cutting board look like a Picasso painting. Golden beets are also less sweet and earthy. Whether that is good or bad is based on your preference.
Found on Cooking and Beer
This roasted beet and greens salad with crostini looks amazing. Sweet beets and their healthy greens next to cheesy toasted bread makes for a perfect appetizer.
Found on MJ and Hungryman
I love a good quinoa salad. Adding quinoa or another healthy grain to an all vegetable salad instantly turns it into a filling meal. This creamy beet green chopped salad recipe does just that. And then tops it all off with a creamy Greek yogurt green goddess dressing. This beet greens recipe will make you happy for dinner one night followed by a happy lunch the next day.
Found on Sprinkle of Green
A stew is a great way to build flavor one ingredient at a time. As you simmer, ingredients breakdown and their flavors meld together. This hearty beet greens stew is packed with delicious spices like paprika, ginger, and cumin for max flavor. A can of chickpeas adds heartiness.
10 Beet Greens Recipe Ideas
- Pick one of the recipes in this list. Purchase recipe ingredients, cook the dish, and enjoy!
Which Recipe Are You Going to Make?
You can’t go wrong with any of the beet green recipes in this list. I’m obviously partial to the roasted beet and avocado salad (#1 in this list) because it is from yours truly.
So, which one will you make next time you get a bunch of beets?
If you need to buy fresh beets, consider ordering them online. There are a bunch of produce delivery services that will drop off fresh veggies and fruit right to your doorstep. I wrote this post on the best produce delivery services to help you decide which is best for you.
Don’t Forget About The Beet Bulbs
Beet bulbs are the stars of the beet plant.
This Beets 101 guide provides you with everything you need to know to buy, store, cook, and eat beets.
Looking for Beet Recipes?
Here are more beet recipes to keep your brain and body at peak performance.