What to do With Beet Greens (Instead of Composting Them) 38

Wondering what to do with 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 beet greens recipes.

beet greens

I pulled the first beets out of the garden the other day.

I cut off the beet 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.

This post may contain affiliate links; I'll earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase.

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 recognizable beet flavor and can be sautéed much as you’d prepare any greens. They can be used in other ways, too!

Add them to 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 beet 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.

red beets with greens sitting on a wooden table

Make chips out of your beet greens

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.


What to do with beet 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.

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!

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.

Beet greens recipes to try:

Do you have any clever ways to use beet greens?

This post was originally published in June of 2011. Updated March 2018.

Wondering what to do with beet greens? They're not a common

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

38 thoughts on “What to do With Beet Greens (Instead of Composting Them)

  • 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)

      • 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)

  • Alexandra

    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.

    • Kris Bordessa Post author

      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.

  • Jeff Van De Mark

    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 Post author

      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.

  • Jane Boursaw

    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.

  • Jennifer Margulis

    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..

  • Pingback: beets, their greens with thyme, balsamic & walnuts | Diary of a Crazed Cook

  • 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 Post author

      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. 

  • Janet Carlson

    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.

  • Angela MacDougall

    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.

  • Marcia Stoner

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

  • Michele

    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 Post author

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

  • Dianne Koehler

    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!

  • Ann Marie

    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 :

  • Caroline

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

  • Gail

    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.

  • Jonica

    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!