Although I’ve long been a fan of roasting beets (not to mention pickling them), after disposing of the beet greens several times, I thought it quite wasteful and set out to make a side dish with them. I soon found that I almost enjoyed the beet tops more than the beets themselves, and I’ve never tossed them out since.
While the beetroots are certainly a healthy choice, packing quite a dose of folate, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and fiber, the beet greens are an excellent source of iron, and provide a good serving of vitamins A, B, C, and K.
The deep violet-red betalain pigments from the beetroot and the beet stems have been shown to have high antioxidant properties and are being heavily researched in the prevention of cancers. The beet greens are a rich source of green chlorophyll which has been shown as an effective in the prevention and treatment of liver, skin, and colon cancer.
Besides all that, they’re damn delicious, and as such, it only makes sense to eat them. Plus, they’re easy to prepare and you’re not paying extra for them, so STFU and cook them already. Oh, right, you probably want a recipe…
Roasted Beets & Beet Green Salad Recipe
1 bunch beets
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
salt & pepper
For the vinaigrette dressing:
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1 small shallot, minced
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F. Separate beet stems and beet greens from the beet root. Place beet roots and garlic clove on a large sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Close foil around beets to form a cooking packet, and place in the oven until a knife can slid easily in and out of the beets (anywhere from 60-90 minutes, depending on size).
While the beets are roasting, mix the mustard, honey, shallots, and vinegar together in a small bowl. Drizzle olive oil in slowly while whisking to emulsify the oil and vinegar (this can also be done in a food processor or blender). Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Chop beet stems into 1/2″ chunks and beet greens into 2″ strips. In a wide saucepan, bring 1/2 cup of water to a simmer. Add beet stems, cover, and cook over a low heat for 12-15 minutes or until tender. Add beet greens, cover, and cook for about 1 minute or until slightly wilted. Drain.
When beets have finished roasting, open foil and stir 1 Tbsp of the collected cooking juice/oil into your dressing for added flavor and a pleasant pinkish/red color. Run the beets under cold water, removing the skins with your hands or a towel you don’t mind permanently dyeing red. Slice into medallions.
Toss the stems and greens with the dressing, and plate alongside slice beet roots. Spoon some of the vinaigrette over the beet slices. Garnish with any variety of items — I chose shaved Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and parsley. Sunflower seeds, roasted hazelnuts, fresh chevre or feta would also be great toppers. Experiment away!
Got a a cool recipe for kale, or maybe something different for collard, mustard, dandelion, or turnip greens? Leave a comment! And check out what my friend Niaree does with her radish greens. Yum!