Don’t toss out the tops next time you prepare fresh beetroot. Instead, make Sautéed Beet Greens! You can have this healthy side dish on the table in under 10 minutes to serve with any simple meat and fish entrees, in grain bowls, or even stuffed in phyllo pastry!
The leaves and stems from beets are entirely edible and full of flavor and nutrients. You can eat them raw in salads and smoothies, but they’re also delicious steamed, braised, or in this case, sautéed and served as a warm side dish.
Like kale and chard, the leaves and stems are delicious sautéed in oil with simple seasonings, and they pair well with practically anything.
This easy beet greens recipe is perfect during the week, served with high-protein main courses like roasted salmon or baked rainbow trout, but you can also add this vibrant side dish to any holiday meal or fancy dinner table!
Benefits of Eating Beet Greens
- The nutrients. Beet greens are high in vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of fiber.
- The cost. Like most root vegetables, the beets are budget-friendly, so if you use the leaves and stalks as well, you’re getting even more bang for your buck.
- The serving options. This simple recipe focuses on how to sauté beet greens, but that’s not all they’re good for. Read on for more ways to include beet greens in your diet.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Olive oil – As with any simple sautéed vegetable recipe, each ingredient plays a significant role in the flavor quality of the finished dish, so be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive for sautéeing.
- Beet greens – For two servings, you’ll need the leaves and stalks from 3-4 beetroots. It may seem like a lot at first, but like spinach, swiss chard, and kale, beet greens cook down considerably.
- Spices – I like keeping it super simple with nothing more than garlic powder, salt, and pepper. These seasonings accentuate the sweet, earthy, and slightly peppery beet green flavor without overpowering it.
How to Cook Beet Greens and Stems
Step 1: Wash.
Plunge the beet greens into a deep bowl filled with cool water. Lift the greens out of the water, refill the bowl with fresh water, and submerge the greens again. Take the greens out of the water, shake off the excess water, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Step 2: Chop.
Place the beet greens on a cutting board and chop the leaves and stems into bite-size pieces using a sharp knife.
Step 3: Season.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the chopped leaves and stems and stir to coat them evenly with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Step 4: Sauté.
Then, cover the pan, and cook, stirring frequently, until the leaves and stems soften and reduce in volume (about 6 minutes). Serve hot alongside practically any main course, and enjoy!
If you buy a bunch of beets with the stalks and leaves still attached, know that the greens have a brief shelf-life, so try to use them ASAP.
The beets will stay fresh in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks, whereas the beet greens will wilt in just a couple of days.
Like the leaves, the stems are edible, so please don’t discard them.
I usually cook them the whole time with the leaves so they retain some crunch. However, if you’d rather the stems be on the softer side, simply sauté them for 1-2 minutes before adding the leaves to the pans.
If you have an overabundance of beet greens from homegrown beets or from buying a bunch, and you can’t use it up in a day or so, you can quickly blanch them and then freeze them in portions to add to juice, add to smoothies or cook up later.
If you want to put your spin on this beet leaves recipe, here are some ideas for inspiration:
- Add more veggies – If you want to bulk up this dish with added veggies, it’s best to sauté them until fork-tender before adding the beet leaves and stems to the pan. Add shredded carrots, sliced mushrooms, or thinly sliced red bell peppers.
- Fresh garlic and onion – Sautéeing aromatic ingredients with leafy greens is always a good idea. After heating the oil, add minced garlic and onion (or shallots) and cook until fragrant before adding the beet greens to the pan.
- Bacon or pancetta – Cook 3-4 slices of chopped bacon or pancetta in the pan until crispy, then remove it from the pan. Add the beet leaves and stems, and cook them in the hot bacon grease until wilted. Return the crispy bacon or pancetta to the pan and enjoy!
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Properly stored in an airtight container, leftover cooked beetroot greens will last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Freezing: Once cooled to room temperature, divide the sautéed beet greens in a muffin tin or ice cube tray and place it in the freezer until frozen. Then transfer the frozen portions to an airtight freezer bag and keep them frozen for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you eat the leaves and stalks of beets?
Yes, not only are they completely safe to eat, but they’re also delicious whether enjoyed raw or cooked.
What else can you do with beet leaves?
In addition to being sautéed, beet leaves are great boiled, steamed, and braised. They’re also fantastic stirred into soups and stews or consumed raw in salads and smoothies. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try making roasted beet leaf chips or beet green pesto!
Beetroot Recipes You’ll Love:
If you love beets, check out my Guide to Cooking Beets, or try one of these beetroot recipes:
- Easy Sauteed Beets
- Mediterranean Beets with Garlic & Olive Oil
- Beetroot Soup
- Raw Beet Salad
- Detox Kale and Beet Salad
- Beet Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese and Grapefruit
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 pound of beet greens (or beet greens from 3 to 4 beets)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the chopped stems and greens to the pan and mix making sure they are evenly covered with the olive oil. If you like the stems to be on the soft side, you can add the stems first, cook them for about one or two minutes, and then add the leaves.
- Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Cover the pan and cook the beet greens until they are cooked through for about 6 minutes. The greens will soften and reduce in volume. Make sure to stir them a few times so that they cook evenly.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 serving calculated with oil.
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Nutrition InformationYield 2 portions Serving Size 1/2 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 96Total Fat 7gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 436.1mgCarbohydrates 7.2gFiber 5.9gSugar 0.8gProtein 3.6g
Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.