Beet greens are the leaves and stalks attached to beetroots. Have you ever eaten them? In case you didn’t know, they’re edible, delicious and nutritious!
Because beetroots are mostly sold in the supermarket without their leaves attached, many don’t know that these gorgeous leaves can be eaten and are highly nutritious (since they’re greens!). You are most likely to find beet greens (attached to their beets) at organic grocery stores and farmers’ markets. And it’s also an economical way to get some greens (basically they’re ‘free’ when you buy the beets).
About a month ago, I found myself inundated with beet leaves (and beets). I couldn’t resist buying them at the organic store where I shop. They looked so beautiful and fresh – both the beets and the leaves, so I bought a bunch. Then my parents popped by on the weekend and brought me a large bunch from their home garden. (By the way, their home garden is their whole back yard!)
Since beetroot leaves don’t keep fresh for too long after harvesting (up to a week or so), I needed to make something quick smart so I would not waste these gorgeous, luscious leaves. Plus I needed more room in my refrigerator. This got me thinking of different ways to cook up beet leaves. I came up with seven:
- use it in a curry with the beets
- add it to a frittata, like you would silverbeet
- use it instead of spinach in a spinach and fetta pie
- juice them (younger beet leaves are best because of lower oxalic acid than older leaves)
- eat in a salad (again, younger beet leaves are best)
- add it to soups, like you would spinach, kale or silverbeet
- just sauté them with some garlic and herbs to have as a side, or try variation I came up with below
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 small brown onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 5 cups (~500g) shredded beet leaves & chopped stems
- 2 tbsp salt-crusted capers
- ½ cup coconut milk
- sea salt to taste
- squeeze of lemon
In a wide and deep fry pan, heat oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and sauté briefly before adding the beet leaves. Stir continually.
Once the leaves have wilted add the capers and coconut milk. Saute for a couple more minutes, then turn off stove. Season and squeeze over some lemon juice.
(Note: the dish is not meant to be saucy — the milk evaporates off. But if you would like it to be, just add more coconut milk.)
Serve as you would side of greens — I ate mine with pan-fried fish on one occasion, and with some rice and dhal on another.
What other ways have you used beet greens?