The other night while roasting up some beets with the mister, I nearly panicked because he tried to throw away the leafy tops. Deal breaker! Well not really, but didn't he know the power of beet greens? Obviously not and he's not alone. Even though more and more folks are handling raw beets in the kitchen, beet greens are still viewed as being disposable.
If you're a fan of Swiss chard, then you'll love beet greens, as they are pretty much synonymous in look, taste, and use. When using beet greens, I'll rip the leaves from the stems and toss them raw in a salad or cook them up as a warm side dish. Because the stalks take a little bit longer to cook, I remove the leaves first and blanch the stems before sauteing everything together with olive oil, sea salt, chili flakes, lemon juice, and garlic. Beet greens also taste great in a hearty soup or in a veggie lasagna.
Besides tasting good, beet greens are packed with vitamins A and C and have a good amount of iron and calcium too. They're also pretty low in calories and don't contain any fat. The next time you buy beets, snap off the tops as soon as you can — this helps your beets retain moisture — and store the greens in a plastic bag in the fridge. They'll keep pretty well for about four days. One trick I learned is to ask for discarded beet greens at the farmers market. Since most people don't use the tops, the farms have a lot of beet greens that are just going to be thrown out. I usually end up with a ton for free!
How do you feel about beet greens? If you love them, tell me how you like to prepare them.