If you have been cruising the farmers market lately, if you have a vegetable garden, or if you belong to a CSA, you probably know that beet season has begun. You probably have all sorts of plans for the beets themselves, but are you wondering “What do I do with the beet greens?” Well, here is a post all about what to do with beet greens. Plus I have an awesome salad recipe from the archives to share with you all.
Before I get into five things to know about beet greens, I want to give a little disclaimer about them. You may think that they taste muddy or bitter. You may be thinking about composting them. I used to hate beet greens myself. Like, they literally made me gag, hate. You know those salad mixes that sometimes include baby beet greens? I used to hand pick the beet greens out. It drove me crazy that I didn’t like them, since I pride myself in liking all foods.
But at some point, Probably due to the fact that we kept getting them in our CSA share, I thought of my chef from “Taste and Flavor” class in culinary school, chef Andre. He’d said you may have to “be exposed to” (i.e. eat) a new flavor up to 10 times before you like it. I know with kids it’s true, so I figured I could choke down another exposure. Eventually, I turned the corner, and now I actually love them! What I discovered is that the key is in the flavor pairings. Below I’m sharing my favorite way to use them in this bold beet green salad with garlicky sherry vinaigrette and feta cheese. I also have some tips what to do with your beet tops.
Above is a picture my friend Melissa Pasanen, Vermont Food Journalist, posted on instagram shortly after we chatted about beet greens at the Shelburne Farmers Market on Saturday. Aren’t they pretty? I was too busy eating everything in site to take a picture of them myself.
5 things to know about beet greens
Beet Green Nutrition
The greens of beets are wicked high in lutein and zeaxanthin which are good for eye health. They are a great source of Vitamin A and are off the charts for Vitamin K. They also have natural fiber which helps keep you full longer, and help with digestive health.
Beet Green Seasonality
Though the beet root is a great storing crop, and therefore seasonal all year long, I would argue that the greens are at their best right now in the late spring and early summer. When they are young like they are now, their greens are tender and they are so yummy in salad. As the beets mature their greens are better suited for cooked recipes.
Beet Green Storage
Cut the greens off of the roots and store them in a re-sealable plastic bag. Leaving them out of the bag in the fridge will yield limp greens. If the greens are limp when you are ready to use them, you can refresh them by completely submerging them in room temperature water for an hour. This works really well if the greens are cold from the fridge. Use the greens within a few days of bringing them home from the grocery store. Fresh from the garden or CSA they will last about a week in plastic.
Beet Green Prep
Cut off the red stems at the bottom of the leaves. I cut the greens into bite-sized pieces because I think tearing takes too long. Then wash the heck out of them in a salad spinner. Fill the salad spinner with cool water. Place the greens in the salad spinner basket, and submerge them into the water. Swish them around a bit. Let all the sediment fall to the bottom of the salad spinner, and then lift the basket of greens out. Empty the water and repeat again. Simply running water over the greens will not wash away all the dirt and grit. Beet greens are usually pretty dirty, so you may need to wash them twice. If they’re from your own garden, probably four times!
Cooking Beet Greens
When raw, beet greens like to hang out with other strong flavors. The salad recipe below is the kind of thing that works well with the earthy flavors of the green. They also love anchovies and Romano cheese, in case you were wondering.When cooking the greens, keep in mind that they cook pretty quickly, like 4 minutes or so for a saute and only a minute or two if they are simmered in soup or blanched in boiling water. You can use the red stems but they need to cook longer. Chop them up and sauté them with onions and garlic or other longer cooking veggies. Then add in the greens once the stems are soft.
Looking for more ideas? Never fear here are some recipes from my blogging buddies that may tempt you.
Beet Green Pesto | Nutmeg Nanny
Beet Green Pasta with Walnuts | An Edible Mosaic
Beet Green and Garlic Scape Bruschetta | Love and Olive Oil
Beet Pesto and Greens Pasta | Yankee Kitchen Ninja
Sweet Potato Bell Pepper and Onion Hash with Beet Greens | Barefeet in the Kitchen
I have another recipe coming on Friday, I’ll be using the beets themselves in another five star salad. Be sure to stop back then. If you can’t wait, this one may be up your alley: Green Salad with Beets and Prosciutto Chips. Ooh, or this one: Layered Slaw with Beets, Apple, Cheddar and Bacon.
I also have a new post coming on Thursday this week. After talking to Deanna and Kelly during the Vermont City Marathon with the Cabot Fit team, I have decided to add another post into my weekly rotation. Tuesdays and Fridays will still be days for me to post recipes, but after their encouragement, I am also planning to add in a Thursday post for other things I am thinking about. I’m thinking of calling it Thursday Things, because I can’t really think of something better. In these posts, my plan is to share links, ideas, rants, fitness related stuff. That sort of THING.
Have you ever gotten over an aversion to a food you hated?
Have you eaten raw beet greens?
Don’t throw away those beet grees! Wondering what to do with your beet greens? Make this simple and delicious Beet Green Salad with sherry vinegar and garlic dressing with crumbled feta cheese. Simple, gluten-free, wheat-free and vegetarian.
- 8 cups beet greens, washed and spun dry (5–7 ounces)
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 1 ounce)
- 1 small clove garlic, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Place greens and feta in a large bowl. Mash garlic with kosher salt with the side of a chef’s knife on a cutting board to form a paste. Whisk garlic paste, olive oil, sherry vinegar and Dijon in a small bowl. Pour dressing over greens, season with pepper and toss to combine.
1 mg Cholesterol
- Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
- Calories: 120
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 430 mg
- Fat: 7 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Carbohydrates: 4 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 3 g