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What Are Beet Greens? FAQ, Recipes & More!

What Are Beet Greens? FAQ, Recipes & More!

Thank you for coming by to learn more about beet greens. What are beet greens? They are the edible, leafy green tops of the beetroot. 

You likely already know about the brightly colored, nutritious, bulbous root vegetables called beets. 

Due to their widely-known nutritional value, it’s common to find beet juice, powdered beets, and all other kinds of beet products.

But did you know the leafy greens and even the purple-colored stem of the beet are even higher in nutrients? 

And did you know that they are used much in the same way as most other dark, leafy greens?

Beet greens are very nutrient-rich, packing in loads of vitamins, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients.

 If you like Swiss chard, you may enjoy beet greens as the two are similar in both appearance and flavor. 

Even if you try them and find that the flavor isn’t for you, there are many ways to hide beet greens in meals while still getting all the nutrition and benefits from them. 

There are endless ways to incorporate these healthful heroes into your diet. 

Whether you want them hidden in a smoothie, raw in a salad for lunch, or as an indulgent side dish for your weeknight dinners, there is sure to be an ideal recipe for you.

Keep reading to see our answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about beet greens and our 10 favorite recipes to incorporate them into your life.

What do beet greens taste like?

Beet greens have been described as slightly sweet, mild, and a bit earthy. 

When cooked, they become so tender and silky that they may quickly become your favorite green.

A little bit heartier than spinach, they resemble Swiss chard in some ways; though beet greens are certainly the sweeter of the two.

Beet greens’ nutritional value compares to that of kale. 

But unlike kale, they are silky smooth and have a lovely texture when cooked. 

To avoid the tough texture of kale, opt for the sweeter, milder, softer beet greens instead!

Many people much prefer the taste of beet greens to other bitter, tough, dark, leafy green options, so it won’t be surprising if you try these for the first time and love them!

We have a few recipes here that will not only enhance the earthy flavor of beet greens, but may make you a fan forever!

Read on to learn about the benefits and delicious character of beet greens with recipes to help you along the way!

What to do with beet greens

Beet greens are good raw or cooked. 

They can be added to a salad or stir fry. 

They will be the main star of a dish, or they will be left hiding on the sidelines. 

It all depends on what you’re looking for!

The most popular method of cooking them is to sauté the beet greens, much like you would with any other dark, leafy green. 

They’re best in savory dishes, and they’re absolutely amazing cooked in butter.

Using the 10 recipes linked after our Frequently Asked Questions, you’ll find a variety of different ways to cook the beet greens, each one more exciting than the last!

Are beets and beet greens the same thing?

Beets and beet greens come from the same plant, but they are two different parts of it. 

The two parts are both packed with nutrients, but they do taste a bit different from each other.

The bulbous, purple part of the beet tastes pretty earthy, being described by some as dirt-like! 

The leaves and stems, however, are much milder and hardly earthy at all. 

This alone classifies them as certainly not the same thing.

It is possible to harvest the leaves from beetroots without harvesting the bulb itself.

If you were gardening your beets, you could take many clippings of leaves and stems while allowing your beet to continue to grow underground.

The two are also usually used in quite different ways.

While it is normal to sauté, steam, or bake beet greens, it is more common to find beets pickled or served plain and raw. 

You can’t forget that their textures are also certainly very different. 

The beet itself is very starchy, while the beet greens are soft and smooth.

Can you eat beet greens raw?

Yes, of course.

Raw beet greens are less silky in texture than they are cooked, but they are still delicious, sweet, and perfect for salads. 

They can even be added as a garnish in addition to fresh herbs or chopped scallions. 

It is also possible to throw a few of the leaves into your green smoothie for hidden nutrients.

If you’re wondering about the health benefits of raw vs. cooked beet greens, you’ll be pleased to know that the nutritional value hardly changes. 

It is generally thought that cooking your food takes out some of the nutrients, and while this may be true for very tiny amounts of the nutrients, as long as you’re not overcooking your beet greens, you’re not losing much of the value.

Even if you don’t love the taste of raw beet greens, you’ll still be able to reap the endless benefits after cooking them. 

But maybe you love the taste of the raw beet greens and want to eat them fresh and raw.

In that case, there are several tasty recipes using raw beet greens below. 

Keep reading to find out how to make them.

How to use beet greens

It’s clear now that beet greens are nutritional treasures and would be an amazing addition to any meal. 

But now, how do we make them? 

We mentioned above that the tastiest option is to sauté in butter and add all of your favorite spices and seasonings, but if you’re looking for full recipe ideas, look no further!

And of course we have a few tips for how to store beet greens right here.

Below are the 10 best ways to use beet greens.

Recipes With Beet Greens

Almost every one of the following 10 recipes uses also the root of beet as well as the beet greens, which is perfect for low waste and for getting more bang for your buck!

This super unique twist on beet greens from Epicurious is as delicious as it is surprising. 

Instead of using basil for the pesto sauce, this recipe calls for beet greens. 

The pesto sauce uses walnuts, beet greens, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to turn this classic into an even more nutrient-rich, indulgent meal.

Add the delicious, fiber-rich asparagus to the pasta, and top it with a protein-rich poached egg, and you have a wholesome, fulfilling dinner that’s equally tasty.

This recipe takes only an hour to throw together, so it’s a great option for any night of the week. 

The ingredient list is not very long, either, so the grocery shopping time is minimal as well.

If you’re a fan of pasta, and particularly pesto, and don’t love the taste of beet greens, this recipe is perfect for you. 

The flavor is masked by the other ingredients in the sauce, like lemon and parsley, so you’re left with only a subtle beet green flavor and a big plate of fettuccine noodles!

This simple, classic recipe for sautéed beet greens is easy, delicious, and quick.

 These would make a great side for any number of meals.

The recipe uses olive oil, garlic, golden raisins, lemon, walnuts, or pistachios (Or both! Your choice!), and salt and pepper to elevate the beet greens from good to amazing. 

For an even more decadent and indulgent experience, you could substitute half of the olive oil for butter.

To throw this great side dish together takes only about 5 minutes and very few ingredients that you see listed above. 

Add some baked chicken and quinoa or maybe some roasted chickpeas or tofu for a vegetarian-friendly option, and you’ve made an easy, better-for-you weeknight dinner that everyone will love!

Plus, although this is one of the few recipes here that doesn’t also use the beetroot, the Love & Lemons site linked above also lists a few recipes that would use up the beetroot itself—another way to stay low waste and economical!

This is the absolute star of the show if you end up not liking the taste and flavor of beet greens. 

Hiding quietly in this smoothie, they’re not even detectable.

This recipe calls for almond milk, orange juice, beet greens, frozen mixed berries, beets, and bananas. 

Though if you wanted to up the thickness and creaminess and have your smoothie border on a Dreamsicle, you could use Greek yogurt in place of the almond milk.

The berries and fresh orange juice will pack in so much bright, powerful flavor to this smoothie that you’ll wonder if the beet is even there! 

All of these nutrients make for a great way to start your day.

The smoothie takes about five minutes to make after chopping the beetroot and the beet greens and squeezing the orange. 

So this would be the ideal on-the-go green smoothie for anyone.

It even provides some tips on blending your smoothie just right to get the best possible consistency. 

Overall, this is one of the better options for hiding your beet greens. 

And because you could switch the smoothie ingredients up however you’d like, you could make something like this many times a week to pack in those nutritional benefits first thing in the morning.

Food Waste Feast, the site that created this recipe, focuses on eliminating as much food waste as possible. And beets are the perfect option for this!

The salad uses all parts of the beet so that you’re saving money and saving the environment one bite at a time.

They recommend using baby or young, early-season beets since they tend to be much less bitter and also sweeter. They’ll really elevate this salad.

The bulk of the salad is made with beets, beet greens, another mild lettuce or spinach, feta cheese, and walnuts. 

But the best part is, of course, the dressing. 

Using olive oil, lemon juice, plain Greek yogurt, and salt, it’s creamy and yet also light. Perfect for dressing your beet salad.

Not only will this salad taste amazing, but it also looks gorgeous. 

The greens contrasting with the hot pink beets and white feta make for an eye-catching bowl.

This recipe, absolutely overflowing with nutrients, takes only about 15 minutes to make and only a handful of ingredients are needed.

This one will be perfect for those who love the taste of the raw beet greens and who already love beets as well. 

Mixing them together in this delicious salad will be the beet-lover’s dream!

The recipe calls for roasted beets, beet greens, chicken or vegetable stock, olive oil, onion, Arborio rice, garlic, wine, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and parsley. 

And though this is quite a few ingredients, the result is absolutely worth it.

Ready in 45 minutes, this would be another simple and fairly easy weeknight dinner that could probably even be something to enjoy making with the kids, since they’re sure to love the pink color of this dish!

A few commenters recommended adding a handful of roasted walnuts at the end to add some texture. 

And of course, using a small portion of the beet greens to garnish would also be perfect here.

Probably the most visually appealing recipe here, this one also, fortunately, uses the entire beet and is more fulfilling and more economical because of it.

If you’re looking for the more indulgent and hearty options to use your beet greens in, this one is one of the best.

Another rich, creamy, indulgent option to use the whole beet plant comes from The New York Times. It’s bright pink in color, making it fun for any occasion.

Another simple beet greens recipe that dresses them up to make a decadent but simple side dish.

With bacon, onion, garlic, sugar, red pepper flakes, and apple cider vinegar, these beet greens are the most interesting and flavorful you can find. 

The saltiness of the bacon mixed with the sweetness of the cooked onion and sugar, all on top of the spice from the pepper flakes and bitterness from the apple cider vinegar is amazing.

The complexity behind this simple side dish will surprise and please you, guaranteed. 

And who doesn’t love some bacon with their vegetables?

Ready in 30 minutes, this delicious spin on sautéed beet greens will complement your weeknight meal perfectly.

With an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars, this sautéed beet greens recipe will not disappoint.

This salad is another awesome option for those who prefer their beet greens raw. It combines the beet greens with mustard greens to bulk up both the size and the flavor of the salad.

The main part of the salad is made with just a few simple ingredients: mustard greens, beet greens, beetroot, grape tomatoes, and crumbled feta.

The herb vinaigrette packs in all of the huge flavors, however, consisting of parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, white wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. 

This dressing will increase your love for the salad tenfold!

This is a nutritious, simple option for anyone looking to pack some extra benefits into their diet. 

Everything here provides delicious benefits, and it is also truly tasty!

This salad takes only 15 minutes to make, so it could be thrown together anywhere, anytime. 

And this would undoubtedly be another great option for pairing with a hearty meal like chicken or tofu and quinoa or brown rice.

A second, equally scrumptious smoothie that can be used to hide your beet greens.

This smoothie recipe calls for the beetroot as well, providing twice the dietary benefits.

With banana, beetroot, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, plant-based milk, beet greens, and Medjool dates, this smoothie tastes like a snickerdoodle. 

No cinnamon on hand? Here are a few substitutes.

This is another great opportunity to use Greek yogurt instead of the milk it calls for, but you can make it in whatever manner feels best for you.

Also, if you’re looking into how to make your smoothies more satiating in the morning, you could add a protein powder and some seeds to this one and the berry and beet green one from above. 

This would provide that extra fuel your body needs to get you through the day!

Ready in only 10 minutes, you’ll have a rich, creamy, sweet, and nutrient-dense breakfast for any morning.

This crave-worthy pasta is almost like a deconstructed pesto. 

All the typical ingredients for a pesto are there, but instead of blending them to make a sauce, they’re all thrown into this amazing pasta dish.

In this dish, we have pine nuts, olive oil, onions, garlic, golden beets plus beet greens, Farfalle pasta, and Parmesan cheese. 

Not many ingredients are necessary to make this delicious pasta shine.

It should come together in just over an hour, making this one of the more intensive beet greens recipes, but certainly worth the time and effort nonetheless.

And maybe if you wanted to switch it up, you could end up making an actual pesto sauce one time as well!

You’d simply need to throw everything in the blender, except the beetroot, onions, and pasta, and maybe add lemon, and you’d have yourself another beet green pesto.

For those who love pasta and want to incorporate more beet greens into their diet, look no further!

Last but not least, we have one more tasty salad that incorporates many delicious and nutritious superfoods. 

This recipe from Cookie + Kate is fulfilling and quick! 

It technically does not call for beet greens, but we think that they would be a more than welcome addition to this superfood salad.

This salad, unlike some of the others listed here, is probably packed with enough nutrients and fuel to be a full meal. 

Adding quinoa, edamame, almonds, beetroot, carrot, beet greens, and avocado to a bed of your favorite lettuce or spinach will leave you with an amazing foundation for this hearty salad.

After that, the vinaigrette dressing will finish it off, making this undeniably one of the best-tasting salads you can find! 

The dressing calls for apple cider vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, mint or cilantro, honey, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.

This salad will easily become one of your favorite options for using your beet greens, perfect for a packed lunch or even a light summer dinner.

It does take 45 minutes to put together, but it produces such big flavors and nutritional benefits, that you’ll be glad you spent the time to accomplish this incredible powerhouse salad.

The bottom line

Beet greens are:

  • A nutrient-dense powerhouse of vitality
  • They provide so many dietary benefits 
  • Their taste is much like that of other dark, leafy greens—less bitter and more tender than kale

And using the tasty, easy, well-loved 10 recipes above, you’re sure to find a way to incorporate these antioxidant superheroes into your diet more regularly going forward.

Hopefully, the 10 recipes and answers to the Frequently Asked Questions above will even inspire you further, to come up with your own recipes and unique, exciting ways to incorporate beet greens into your life.