Can’t stop the beet…

…beet greens, that is. So you made a roasted beet salad and now are curious about what to do with those greens. In honor of Danny at Danny’s Kitchen, and his wonderful idea for “The Great Leftover Challenge,” here’s a small post about what I did with my left over beet greens, in hopes of inspiring you to do the same (or similar).

Beet greens look similar to turnip greens, save their colored stalks and veins, and are associated with the generally healthy and good for you “greens family” (kale, chard, dandelion greens, etc). Or at least, I generally associate them in the “greens family”, which for me means versatile and more often than not tasty. Except collared greens — apologies to the collared greens lovers, I just can’t get into them.

Back to beet greens and using up those left overs. Next time you’ve got beet greens laying around, begging to be used, try this for a quick weekend lunch:

Beet greens and kale with pasta in an olive oil (or cream) sauce

  • One bunch beet greens
  • One bunch Tuscan Kale
  • Half a medium onion, diced
  • One handful of pine nuts, toasted
  • Fresh lemon zest
  • Pinch (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil or cream – pick your poison with this one, either way it’s tasty
  • Pecorino Roman cheese to garnish
  • Half a box of fusilli pasta

Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Add the pasta, and set the timer as indicated. While the pasta cooks, prep the greens.

In a saute pan, warm enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and sauté, over medium heat about five to six minutes, or until the onions are translucent and softened. Add the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook about another minute. Add the beet greens and kale, sautéing until the greens are slightly darkened. There’s no need to over cook the greens – I find kale gets slimy if over cooked.

By this time, the pasta should be finished. Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water. Combine pasta and greens in the sauté pan (or the same pot used for the pasta if their isn’t enough room in the pan). Stir to distribute the greens evenly through the pasta. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water, two to three shots of cream (or olive oil), and stir to combine.

Serve the pasta garnished with the Pecorino cheese, pine nuts, and lemon zest.

  1. I love beet greens, I hardly ever see a recipe that utilizes them! I love this 🙂


    • Katie said:

      Thanks Sydney. I’m a recent fan of beet greens myself and am continually exploring how to use them. Would love to hear your favorites if you’ve got some!


  2. I love beet greens too! Beet greens an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and E, but they are actually MORE nutritious than the actual beets themselves(!) I have a recipe for BEET GREEN SOUP on my blog and I also juice them in my juicer. If you can believe it, they actually throw them away over here in the UK so I get them for free from the farmers market! Recipe is here:


    • Katie said:

      People throw them out here in the US, too. A few months ago, at a cooking class, I noticed they had set the beet greens aside, so I couldn’t help but ask the chef what he planned to do with them. I also like using them in stews and stirs fries, although the red variety bleed a bit.


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