Wondering how to use beet greens? They’re not a common “vegetable” but they’re perfectly edible! Here are some ways to use them, along with links to some tasty beet greens recipes.
I pulled the first beets out of the garden the other day. When I cut off the leaves 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 with how to use beet greens.
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What to do with beet greens
Beet greens can be harvested when they’re young and used as “baby greens” in a salad. At this stage they’re quite mild. Full grown 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!
1. Make a beet greens 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.
2. Make chips
I figured, if it can be done with kale, why not beet leaves? 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.
3. What to do with the stalks if you like pickles
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.
4. 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! Give this strawberry & beet green salad a try if you’re wondering what to do with beet greens!
5. 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.
Related: Fermented Beet Kraut
Do you have any clever ways to use beet greens?
Originally published in June of 2011.