What to Do With Beet Greens – 10 Ways to Love Them!

Can you eat beet greens? Yes, you can! Beet leaves are often overlooked as a “vegetable” but they’re perfectly edible. Good for you, even! Here are ten ways to add beet greens to your menu, utilizing this overlooked source of nutrients.

Originally published in June of 2011, this post has been updated.

young beet greens in a pottery dish.

So often we cut the green tops from root vegetables and send them off to the compost. These greens, though, are often perfectly edible. That’s the case with radish greens, and it’s true of beet leaves as well.

What to Do With Beet Greens

If you’re growing beets, the greens can be harvested when they’re young and used as “baby greens” in a salad. (The crop needs to be thinned anyway, so no waste!) At this stage they’re quite mild. Mature beet greens have a characteristic beet flavor and can be sautéed much as you’d prepare any greens. They can be used in other ways, too!

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Cooking Beet Greens

Much like other greens, beet leaves can be cooked and served as a vegetable side dish. Your imagination is the limit.

    • Boiled: Cook beet greens in a pot of boiling water that’s been salted. Simmer over medium heat for two minutes, then drain.
    • Steamed: Place leaves in a metal steamer. Put an inch of water in a pot and set the steamer inside. Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 minutes or until tender
    • Sautéed Beet Greens: Heat a couple tablespoons of your favorite oil in a frying pan. Add a clove or two of crushed garlic if you like, or red pepper flakes to add a bit of spice. Put several handfuls of beet greens into the hot pan and stir; cook until wilted.
    • Baconed: 🙂 Cook several slices of bacon in a frying pan until they’re crispy. Remove bacon and crumble it. Add beet leaves to hot pan and cook until wilted. Stir crumbled bacon in and serve.

 green powder in a glass jar

Make Beet Green Powder

One way to use beet tops is to preserve them as a dried powder. This powder can be added to smoothies (great during the wintertime dearth of fresh veggies!), stirred into salad dressings, and used in soup. See this powdered greens recipe for how to make powdered beet greens for long-term storage.

Here’s what I found, though. The amount of green powder that results from a full dehydrator is — at least in my opinion — not worth the extensive drying time required and the power used to fully dry the greens.

I’d use an alternative method. Either air dry the greens if your climate is hot and dry enough (mine’s not) or dry them in the heat of your vehicle. Yes, that’s right. In your car. This will allow you to dry a lot of beet greens at once, making the effort more worthwhile. 

beet green sauerkraut before fermenting; still bright green.

Ferment Them!

This beet green sauerkraut is a knockoff of traditional kraut made with cabbage. It’s tangy and delicious and full of probiotics!

Make a Smoothie

Make your favorite smoothie, but sneak in four or five beet leaves. Beet greens disappear beautifully; this a perfect way to incorporate more veggies into the diet. I made a banana-blueberry-pineapple smoothie with the greens and my then 15-year-old said, “Ooh, that’s a good one.”

Success! If your people are super sensitive, start with just one or two leaves.

beet leaves growing in a garden.

Make Chips

I figured, if it can be done with kale, why not beet tops? 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 leaves turn brownish fairly quickly; they are not a pretty snack (they look more like crispy fall leaves than something edible), but they’re tasty.

Related: Early Greens: The Edible Sweet Potato Vine

Green salad with baby beetroot greens.

Toss Them into a Salad


The young leaves of beets are surprisingly mild and tender, making them a great addition to a salad – with homemade salad dressing, of course! 

beet greens and stems.

What to do with Beetroot Stems 

The stiff stems of the beet leaves are edible as well, and can be chopped and incorporated with any of the beetroot greens recipes. They can also be used separately. 

Pickle Them

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. A little shortcut, 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.

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 chard.

3 fresh red beets on a wooden table

Try making this fermented beet kraut with the beet roots!

close up of red beet stems in a garden

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

50 comments… add one
  • Kristi Ambrose Aug 4, 2023 @ 6:54

    I decided to get beets and some nice leaves because I saw that they are PACKED in potassium some of the most potassium rich veggies you can have. I pickled my beets and plan to do a salad or sautee the leaves.

    1309mg of potassium in 1 cup of beet leaves. I have water retention so I am trying different things out before I go to a supplement haha.

    • AttainableSustainable Aug 10, 2023 @ 6:43

      Perfect, glad you are finding ways to use them!

  • Ted Jul 30, 2023 @ 21:46

    Beetroot leaf stems make a great quick pickle – Make a salt and vinegar brine, put sectioned blanched beetroot leaf stems in a pickle jar, pour the hot brine in and seal. Much the same as the dilly bean idea but this lasts longer and doesn’t taste of dill. I like dill beans but beet stems taste better without it.

    • AttainableSustainable Aug 3, 2023 @ 7:59

      That sounds tasty!

  • James L Boatman May 24, 2023 @ 8:32

    when putting up my beets, (generally pickled) i wash the greens dry them and put them in the dehydrator. Once dried, I put them in a large bowl and crumble them so I can make beet leaf tea. The stiems are great in the mixture, but you might have to break them up. A tea made with beet greens and sweeten with honey make a great cup of tea.

    • AttainableSustainable May 25, 2023 @ 10:55

      Great idea, thanks for sharing!

  • LED Jun 13, 2019 @ 18:48

    GREAT ARTICLE! It makes me sick how much goes to waste when it comes to beets as I LOVE the stalks and the mature greens are silky buttery yumminess when sauteed. I chop up the stems and throw them in the food processor along with roughly cut up beets, give ’em a good WHIR WHIR and then saute them with broccoli-rice and cauli-rice for a yummy hash. Throw in the beet greens – along with arugula and baby kale- when sauteeing the beets and beet stems and you’ve got a nutrient powerhouse. I saute with veggie stock for extra yum flavor along with olive oil, a table spice blend, salt, pepper and then top with nutritional yeast for extra b vitamins as I’m vegetarian and always lacking in that area. **please don’t throw them away so much nutrition! ***LOVED the idea of making powder and hadn’t tried (yet) in a smoothie although I do add in spinach/kale and love it. Will try the pickled stems to for my husband as he is a pickle nut anything pickled he loves ANYTHING.

    • Christy Jul 1, 2020 @ 17:28

      Thank you, thank you for all of these wonderful ideas!

      • Narda Oct 17, 2020 @ 8:58

        I like steamed or boiled beet greens with a bit of vinegar on top. Just the way I like my cooked spinach:)

  • Alicia Feb 27, 2019 @ 16:48

    Wow! I’m super excited to try this. I’m so new to dehydrating and this recipe and information is fantastic. Thank you!

  • Jonica Mar 31, 2018 @ 11:10

    These are such great ideas! I never thought beet greens would be mild enough for a smoothie! I am always trying to cut down on my food waste so I love all of the recipes that use the green tops of root veggies. Sometimes I get tired of just sauteeing or using them in salads so thank you for the inspiration!

  • Gail Jul 15, 2016 @ 16:07

    Beet greens are my favorites of all; and I especially love the stalks. When they are grown right, the stalks have a salty and juicy flavor I like even better than celery. I munch on them while cooking.
    I like to juice my beet greens and stalks, too. I haven’t pickled the stalks yet, but do like to add them to a Kimchi recipe here and there.
    I chop them up in salads, along with the leaves, of course.
    They are great in stir fries mixed along with other greens.
    But best of all, I just like munching on them the way they are.

  • Caroline Sep 2, 2015 @ 3:33

    They are great in eggs. Chop and saute, then put them into an omelet or frittata.

  • Ann Marie Aug 21, 2015 @ 2:37

    Great ideas. I grew up on beet & turnip greens. Usually steamed with butter, but some “Hodge podge, veggies in a milk base soup.times in my Mom’s :

  • Dianne Koehler Jul 31, 2015 @ 0:46

    we had an overabundance of beet greens (all greens) and used the food processor to make a pulp with nutritional yeast, chia seeds, flax seeds, garlic/cayenne peppers then made spicy crackers and a green pizza crust. both are hits around here. best part is I have 15 bags of the pulp in the freezer to continue making pizza for months to come. we use it every couple of weeks and love it!

    • Priscille Jul 25, 2022 @ 9:38

      I had beet stems and was thinking of making hummus but when I put in my vitamin it was too liquid so I added 2 lemons, frozen fruit and a bit of Maple syrup and Wow what a nice frozen treat! I’ve had 2 servings, good good.

    • Chris Hale Jun 10, 2023 @ 4:37

      Crackers? Please share recipe

    • Leila Jul 30, 2023 @ 3:38

      That sounds like such a nutritional powerhouse!!! Could you be kind enough to share the recipes, thanks!

  • Michele Jun 3, 2015 @ 4:45

    We grew beets in our garden. My husband said they were good but I had never eaten them. He washed them, patted them dry and sauteed them in low heat olive oil and garlic and a little salt & pepper at the very end. I was pleasantly surprised. I would definitely try them again.The flavor was excellent, a little meatier texture than spinach. Mild but unique flavor. Who knew?

    • Kris Bordessa Jun 5, 2015 @ 14:24

      Right? I make a killer roasted beet salad that my whole family loves.

  • Marcia Stoner Apr 26, 2015 @ 14:12

    I added chopped beet greens when I made lacto fermented sauerkraut. Turned it a beautiful shade of pink and added a spicy flavor.

    • Kris Bordessa May 4, 2015 @ 6:31

      Oh, good idea!

  • Angela MacDougall Apr 22, 2015 @ 2:33

    I dehydrate mine and them chop them up in the food processor, then I store them for winter. In deep winter when we are lacking nutrients I add them to everything, smoothies, soups, mashed potatoes, etc. I also do this with access swiss chard, collard greens and kale. Our goal is to not have to use the grocery store in the winter months.

  • Janet Carlson Jul 15, 2014 @ 5:44

    In Florida we have Annie’s Organic Buying Club. https://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.

  • Vicki Apr 18, 2014 @ 2:59

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

  • jon doe Mar 30, 2014 @ 23:54

    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.

    • Diana Oct 4, 2022 @ 9:42

      I’ve always known them as beetniks. They are delicious!!

  • Annie Feb 20, 2014 @ 10:36

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

  • Bunny Jan 30, 2014 @ 14:17

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

  • Joyce Cain Nov 9, 2013 @ 11:22

    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.

  • janet Apr 23, 2013 @ 6:12

    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 Apr 23, 2013 @ 6:41

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

  • MyKidsEatSquid Jun 16, 2011 @ 6:57

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

  • Sonia Jun 14, 2011 @ 7:21

    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..

  • Jennifer Margulis Jun 14, 2011 @ 5:28

    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…

  • sarah henry Jun 13, 2011 @ 20:15

    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.

  • Jane Boursaw Jun 13, 2011 @ 17:12

    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.

  • sheryl Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:31

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

  • Jeff Van De Mark Jun 13, 2011 @ 14:15

    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 Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:14

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

  • Casey@Good. Food. Stories. Jun 13, 2011 @ 13:18

    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 Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:15

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

      • Kerry Jun 14, 2011 @ 2:50

        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.

  • Alexandra Jun 13, 2011 @ 11:45

    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.

  • Dona Jun 13, 2011 @ 11:06

    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 Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:15

      Well THAT sounds fabulous!

      • Lisa Jaffe Hubbell Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:18


      • Dona Jun 13, 2011 @ 15:58

        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)

        • Pamela Lancaster Jun 17, 2023 @ 13:15

          You said fermented. Just like doing cabbage with the whole beet and greens. I would love that recipe. Thanks

          • AttainableSustainable Jun 22, 2023 @ 6:39

            It’s linked in the post!

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