Five Ways to use Beet Greens

greens, beets, garden, pickles, chips

I pulled the first beets out of the garden the other day. I’m not a beet grower and have only just added beets to our dinner repertoire, so this is new to me. I cut off the greens and headed to the compost pile when it occurred to me that hey, these are edible too! I’m not big on cooked greens, so I did a little playing around.

Add them to a smoothie. Make your favorite smoothie, but sneak in four or five beet leaves. They disappear beautifully, making this a perfect way to incorporate more veggies into the diet. I made a banana-blueberry-pineapple smoothie with beet greens tossed in and my 15-yer-old said, “Ooh, that’s a good one.” Success! If your people are super sensitive, start with just one or two leaves.

Make chips. I figured, if it can be done with kale, why not beet greens? Clean the leaves and tear them into large pieces, removing the ribs. Dry thoroughly and toss with a tiny bit of olive oil. I used about a teaspoon of olive oil on greens from four beets. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with coarsely ground salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the greens are crispy. The beet greens turn brownish fairly quickly; they are not a pretty snack (they look more like crispy fall leaves than something edible), but they’re tasty.

Pickle the stalks. While I didn’t pickle an entire batch, I cooked some stalks until they were crisp tender and tucked them into a jar of my dilly green beans. Cheating, yes, but I think you could use the dilly green bean recipe replacing the beans with beet stalks and it would work out just fine.

Toss them into a salad. The leaves of the beet are surprisingly mild and tender, making them a great addition to a salad – with homemade salad dressing, of course!

Stir fry the stalks. I have to admit, I didn’t like them this way, but neither do I like Swiss chard. My husband, who is a fan of Swiss chard, thought the stir fried stalks were great and very similar to Swiss chard.

Do you have any clever ways to use beet greens?

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  • Dona ,

    I fry up a good pound of sugar-free bacon, reserving the grease and draining & crumbling the bacon itself. Then I go out and pull my beets w/ greens…wash both tops & roots and then peel & dice the roots like I would potatoes for fried potatoes and roll the greens up tightly and slice them (chiffonade) into medium sized slices. I dice up an onion too and start it to fry in the bacon grease and toss in my chopped beets and cover my skillet and let the beets cook w/ the onions & bacon grease. The LESS I mess with it the nice and crispier the beets and onions get. When the beets are tender I toss in the sliced beet greens and fold them into the beets/onions. When the greens are tender I plate up servings and sprinkle each with crumbled bacon and top with sour cream. Its an AWESOME meal in and of itself. Sorry Ive never taken time to take pictures. Its beautiful! :o)

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      Well THAT sounds fabulous!

      • Um…YUM!

      • Dona ,

        It IS fabulous. I fermented a half gallon of beets earlier this week and have another bundle Im planning to do tomorrow…..lots of garlic, fresh dill & onions in the mix. Super EASY. I LOVE beets (homegrown, heirloom, organics ;o) I will have at least 4 gallons in the pantry by the end of next month and Im sure I will still run out before spring.

        Im drying beet greens too. Actually working on 5-6 gallon jars of assorted dried greens (kale, chard, beet, radish, arugula, spinach, etc). Nothing makes beef stocks taste better than greens. I put up a half gallon jar of dried Italian Flat-leaf parsley just today and am probably ging to have to dry my lettuce leaf basil this week also :o)

        The heat of summer and knowing this stuff is stashed away waiting makes me REALLY look forward to this winter :o)

  • Try adding garlic to the stir fry. Yum! I had never thought of putting beet leaves in a smoothie. Think I will try that tomorrow.

  • DUH, I never thought to bake the beet leaves like I do kale to make chips! Perfect solution, since I usually choke down the sauteed leaves.

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      They’re not as pretty as kale chips, but we liked them.

      • Kerry ,

        and I’m thinking, might be interesting to play that appearance up use as a garnish, or make up an autumn toned dip (hummus maybe) and serve with that for a seasonal themed dish…

        we often use roasted or sauteed cabbage with pasta, maybe beet greens would be good thay way too.

  • Take the greens, clean them and run a knife along any thick stalks. Steam them until the stalks are tender(maybe 10 minutes). Meanwhile, heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a very small sauce pan to medium high. When the oil is hot drop in a couple of large garlic cloves that have been sliced thinly. Brown the garlic in the oil and at the end toss in some chili flakes if you fancy that sort of thing(and I do). If your greens aren’t ready, remove the oil from heat and pour the mixture into a separate container or your garlic will turn into carbon chips. When the beet greens(or kale or rapini)are done drain and toss together with the oil and garlic mixture. Salt to taste remembering that no salt is almost a crime in the world of greens despite any professed ill effects to the contrary.

    This method cured me of greens avoiding tactics.

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      Hm. I may have to try this on your recommendation!

  • sheryl ,

    I love kale chips, but never thought of doing this with beet greens. I’ll definitely give this a try.

  • These are great ideas, and I’ve never heard of kale chips or beet green chips, but I love chips of any kind. Love greens, too. It feels like a mega-dose of vitamins when I eat them – like I’m suddenly Superwoman.

  • sarah henry ,

    tender young beet green leaves are a nice addition, in my experience, to a salad. and i love kale, as you know, so will have to give those chips a try.

  • We love beet greens. I think I’m allergic to beets now (I sometimes have a terrible reaction right after eating them, but not always) but not to the greens…

  • Sonia ,

    Make a beet green chiffonade and serve in a salad mixed with other greens. Or throw some in a pot of soup. Eat as you would Swiss chard..

  • These all sound like yummy ideas–esp. the chips. I think I’m going to try that with basil leaves today.

  • janet ,

    I dry the leaves in my greenhouse, crush them and sprinkle them in soups and stews. They also work in spaghetti sauce. I use dried spinach the same way as my kids aren’t fond of it unless it’s in lasagna :-) I really hate to waste food I’ve grown so drying works well for me.

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      That’s an excellent way to use them! Thanks for sharing.

  • Joyce Cain ,

    I make beet green soup. beet greens, potatoes, onion, garlic and a dash of red pepper. Just cook it all together and serve with parm/garlic bread.

  • Bunny ,

    If you are a fan of Greek food beet greens replace spinach beautifully 85 spanakopits. We love it at our house.

  • Annie ,

    You should know that your site is my very favorite!!! I love your unlimited information!

  • jon doe ,

    add the greens to beet borscht

    also, my baba would make “Lizzards”. these are bread dough wrapped with the beet leaf, and baked.
    a real Ukrainian dish is to then cut up the lizzards and fry them in a cream sauce.
    I’m sorry I don’t know the real name for them…. as little kids we called them Lizzards and Baba always knew what we meant.

  • Vicki ,

    Beet green make a lovely addition to fresh pesto.   They’re mild & will tame down sharper greens like kale & arugula. 

  • In Florida we have Annie’s Organic Buying Club. http://www.anniesbuyingclub.com/
    When I have fresh beets in my share, I’ll toss the peeled beets into the crock pot, dry and roast them until they soften.
    That leaves me with the leaves. I’ve found the beet leaves work out just as well as swiss chard in lentil bean soup, another crock pot recipe. Sometimes I’ll get lazy and combine the beet greens with other greens, such as Kale, collard greens, spinach or swiss chard and make a casserole or lasagne. What I’ve found is that I can substitute beet greens for any greens in a recipe.

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