A great way to make the most of beets is to serve them with their flavorful and nourishing greens. Sweet and citrusy beets with beet greens is a simple preparation using orange and lemon juice, whose flavor nicely complements both the beets and the greens.
Use red or golden beets, or a combination: Unless you’re buying them in a bunch, you can use either red or golden beets, but combining the two (or another variety of beets) is beautiful and delicious.
What to serve with sweet and citrusy beets with beet greens: This delectable dish goes with just about any kind of meal, including grain dishes, pastas, casseroles, and as a side-by-side with main-dish salads.
Ingredients for sweet and citrusy beets
- Beets with fresh greens (red or golden, or a combination), 4 large or 6 medium
- Cornstarch or arrowroot
- Lemon, 1
- Orange juice, preferably fresh (from 1 to 2 oranges)
- Maple syrup or agave
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh dill or parsley (optional)
About beet greens
Not surprisingly, beet greens are the leafy greens attached to the beet root. Chances are, if you come across them, you’ll be getting the beets as well as the greens.
Unless they grow prolifically in your home garden, a typical bunch of beets that you purchase will consist of 3 to 5 beets, and a modest amount of greens.
They’re quite comparable to chard in terms of flavor and texture; like some varieties of chard, beet greens have a slightly salty undertone. Beet greens from different color beets taste fairly similar to one another.
There’s no reason not to use beet greens raw, but they’re less palatable that way. They’re better lightly steamed or wilted, and since big bunches are rare, what you’ll get with a typical bunch of beets wilts down to quite a modest amount.
If you ever find yourself with an abundance of beet greens, use them in place of or in addition to chard or spinach in recipes featuring those greens in lightly cooked form.
As with chard, the choice of whether to use the thinly sliced stems (those from red beets “bleed” quite a bit) or not is up to the individual cook. Here’s lots more about beet greens, sometimes known as beet tops.
Recipe is from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
Explore more …
- Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad
- Roasted Rutabaga with Beets, Carrots, & Parsnips
- Festive Beet and Carrot Salad
- 4 large or 6 medium beets, with fresh greens (red or golden, or a combination)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
- 1/2 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon minced fresh dill or parsley, optional
- Remove the greens from the beets, leaving about 1/4 inch of the stalks on the beets.
- To prepare the beets: To cook, place the beets in a saucepan that will comfortably hold them, and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer over medium-low heat 20 to 30 minutes, or until the beets are just tender. To microwave: Place the beets in a covered microwave-safe container with a small amount of water; microwave, starting with 2 minutes per beet. Add more time as needed until the beets can be pierced easily but not overdone.
- Let the cooked beets sit in a bowl of cold water to cover while preparing the greens.
- Wash the leaves and cut them away from the midribs. Chop them into bite-size pieces and rinse well in a colander. Place in a stir-fry pan or steep-sided skillet with enough water to keep the bottom of the pan moist. Cover and cook down until just wilted and bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.
- Trim the roots and tops from the beets and peel them. Slice them 1/4 inch thick, or cut into large dice, whichever appeals to you more.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve it. Add the orange and lemon juices and agave nectar and whisk together.
- Add the diced beets to the pan and stir together with the greens. Return to medium heat. Pour the citrus sauce in, and cook, stirring continuously, until thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle in the optional dill, and serve at once.
Explore lots more plant-forward salads & sides.