Beet leaves are edible and can be quite tasty...
Beet greens are not used as much as some other greens and are often needlessly discarded. Yet, you might find them even more enjoyable than many popular greens - young beet leaves are full of flavor. When the leaves are tiny, they make a delicious addition to the salad bowl, both in terms of nutrition and flavor.
Beet greens are a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, iron, vitamins A and C, and other minerals. You will find greens on the market, sold with beets or without.
To have the freshest and most tender supply of greens for your recipes try growing beets in your garden - beets are easy to grow.
But, even the tops of the ordinary market beets are good if properly prepared. Remember, it is only worth doing when you have fresh young greens. If they are old and wilted, simply discard them (or, add to the compost).
How to Prepare Beet Greens
Check the leaves carefully to be sure that there are no insects and wash in fresh cold water thoroughly. Lift the leaves from the bowl, pour off the water, and wash again. Do not pour the water off leaving the greens in the bowl – the sand will remain in the pan and is likely to mix with the greens again. Repeat as many times as needed to remove all grit from the stalks.
If you use the stalks, keep them separately. Cut the leaves and stalks into rough 1-, or 2-inch pieces.
- Add fresh, raw beet leaves to the mixed salad with other greens. Pat them dry after washing, or spin in the salad spinner, and cut away the stems.
- Juice beets along with fresh greens, or add beet leaves to green smoothies.
- Boil or steam beet greens for a simple low-calorie side dish:
Bring water to a rapid boil in a large pot adding salt (use 1½ teaspoon salt to 1¾ quarts of water), and cook the stalks first for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Then add the leaves and cook for another 2-3 minutes uncovered. Drain, season with salt and pepper and toss with a little butter or olive oil for a simple salad to serve immediately. Add something tart, such as vinegar or lemon, if desired.
If you are serving the beets with the greens, arrange the beets in a ring and serve the greens in the center. Dress with melted butter or Horseradish sauce.
To steam, put the beet tops in a steamer basket and steam for several minutes until tender.
Try this healthy breakfast idea with blanched beet greens.
- Add beet tops along with roots to borscht recipes:
Vegetarian borscht with mushrooms and apples
- Sautée beet greens like spinach with this basic recipe:
Heat 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil in a large skillet.
Add 4 cups chopped greens including stems; 1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish, 1 finely chopped shallot or small onion, ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard and a pinch of salt.
Cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.
Add ¼-cup water, cover and simmer until the greens are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover and cook until all liquid evaporated. Remove from heat and add ½ cup sour cream if desired.
More recipes for cooking beet greens:
Sautéed beet greens with garlic
Beet leaves with Chickpeas and Couscous
Beet Tops with Red Chard
Tender Greens and Beets in Skillet
More information: Nutrition Facts for Beet Greens
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