Sautéed Beet Greens

updated Nov 12, 2021
Sautéed Beet Greens Recipe

Hearty beet greens and stems hit a hot skillet and relax into a garlicky tumble of wilted greens.

Serves4

Prep15 minutes

Cook9 minutes to 12 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Drew Aichele

Thrifty cooks know how to make the most of their grocery budget — from meal planning to saving scraps for stock to reimagining last night’s dinner. My favorite saving strategy involves buying a single ingredient I can use in two completely different ways. What is it? Beets, of course!

The root of the beet tends to get the most attention — and with its deep garnet or golden hue, why shouldn’t it? But after it’s been pickled or roasted, turn your attention to the hearty greens and stems. When sautéed in a hot skillet with garlic and finished with lemon, they quickly become a delicious and easy side.

Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Drew Aichele

What Do Beet Greens Taste Like?

While some leafy greens are tough and hearty, requiring long braising and a tolerance for bitterness, beet greens have a mild, earthy flavor and a tender texture. Adding the sliced beet stems to the skillet adds color and crunch to the sautéed greens.

What’s the Best Way to Cook Beet Greens?

The biggest mistake when preparing beets isn’t ending up with ruby-stained fingers — it’s letting the greens go to waste! Treat beet greens as you would a hearty bunch of spinach, Swiss chard, or tender kale.

  1. Cook the stems: Chop the stems into bite-sized pieces, then sauté with garlic and red pepper flakes until almost tender.
  2. Add the greens: Add the coarsely chopped greens to the skillet and toss until just wilted.
Credit: Photo: Paola + Murray; Food Styling: Drew Aichele

What Should I Serve with Beet Greens?

Swap cool and crisp salads for warm, wilted greens to accompany any protein from roasted pork tenderloin to beefy flank steak. You can also add the greens to cooked grains, salty cheese, and leftover roasted veggies for a hearty grain salad.

Sautéed Beet Greens Recipe

Hearty beet greens and stems hit a hot skillet and relax into a garlicky tumble of wilted greens.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 9 minutes to 12 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches

    beets with the greens attached

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Remove the greens from 2 bunches beets by trimming about 1 inch above the beets. Reserve the beets for another use. Rinse the greens thoroughly, but no need to dry. Trim the leaves from the stems. Coarsely chop the greens (about 6 cups). Cut half of the tender stems crosswise into rough 1-inch pieces until you have about 1 1/2 cups; keep the leaves and stems separate. Discard any remaining stems.

  2. Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves. Finely grate the zest from 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon), then juice the lemon until you have 1 tablespoon juice.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large regular or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the beet stems, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and sauté until the stems fade in color and are almost tender and the garlic is fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes.

  4. Add the beet greens and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and cook, tossing often, until the greens wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice and toss to combine, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The beet greens and stems can be chopped up to 2 days in advance. Dry with paper towels and refrigerate separately.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.