What We’re Cooking With Now: Beet Greens
Looking for adventure in the kitchen? Our monthly What We're Cooking with Now post features a fresh produce ingredient, explains how to find the market's finest, and includes a recipe to try at home.
Why: Beet greens are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Truly a “superfood,” beet greens are an excellent source of vitamins K, A, C, E, B2, copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, fiber and calcium. They are also a very good source of iron, with 15% of the daily allowance in 1 cup, vitamins B1, B6, and pantothenic acid, as well as phosphorus and protein.
Shopping Tip: If buying whole beets with the greens and stalks still attached, choose greens that are firm, not wilted, and bright green in color. The stalks should be a deep red color and very firm, like celery. Choose smaller beet roots over larger, tougher ones or beets that are cracked, soft, bruised, shriveled, or look very dry because they will have a stronger flavor. Beets over 2 ½ inches in diameter may be tough and have a woody core.
Preparation: Cut the stalks off at the top of the beet root. The leafy greens can be mixed in with salad greens, sautéed (like spinach), added to soups, braised like Swiss chard or even juiced. The stalks can be cut like celery and added raw to cold potato or vegetable salads, or sautéed with the greens.
Recipe: Spicy Sautéed Beet Greens
2 beets with the greens still attached
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the stalks off from the top of the beet root. Save the beet root for another day.
Wash and rinse the greens and stalks, as beets are a root vegetable and the leaves can be very dirty. Shake them dry. Cut the stalks off at the bottom of the leafy section. Cut the stalks into thin pieces just like celery and set aside. Roll the leaves tightly and cut them into strips (chiffonade style).
Heat a sauté pan and then add the oil. Add the cut beet stalks and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes until they start to turn translucent. Add the greens, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until fully wilted. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Before the garlic starts to brown, add the vinegar and cook until it has evaporated while stirring. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the red pepper flakes. Serve while hot.
Mildly sweet, tart and spicy sautéed beet greens make a great side dish to any summer food, especially grilled meats or seafood.