How To Use Beet Greens Or Beet Leaves And Stems

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When I make beet greens, or any greens, I wash them, separate the stems and leaves, and boil the stems and leaves separately. The reason for this is that the leaves cook in about 3 to 5 minutes, while their stems take about 6 to 8 minutes.

Usually, I combine different kinds of greens, like in this case I added spinach to the beet greens.

Sauteed beet leaves, spinach, and garlic.Sauteed Beet Greens With Garlic

Washed beet greens and spinach.

Beet leaves and spinach washed and ready to go.

Boiled greens, sliced garlic, and olive oil.

Mise en place: The garlic is sliced and the spinach is cooked, drained, pressed, and chopped.

When you buy beets look for bunches with the greens still attached. In many cases the price for the same number of beets that are stemmed, is close to, or the same as buying them in a bunch. But the greens are edible and absolutely delicious. With bunch beets you get a twofer.

When you shop for beets, look for beets that are firm to the touch and tops, or leaves, that are dark green. If the tops have a lot of brown dry discoloration avoid that bunch.

Sauteed Beet Leaves And Stems

  • Yield: 1 to 2 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 bunch beet greens
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • EVO, to coat the pan


  1. Remove all of the large stems from the beet greens. Trim the ends of the stems and quickly rinse the stems under running water.
  2. Cutting crosswise, slice the stems into 1/4 inch (6 mm) pieces.
  3. Bring a 2-quart pot of salted water to a full boil.
  4. Add the stems and return to a boil. Cook until the stems are soft but not mush, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set Aside.
  5. Wash the greens thoroughly by immersing them in a sink full of water and gently agitating them. Remove the greens to the other side of the sink, or a drain board, and drain and rinse the sink. Repeat the process for a total of at least three washings. This is necessary to remove all the dirt.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a full rolling boil. Working quickly, add the greens in handfuls, making sure to fully submerse each addition.
  7. While you're waiting for the water to boil, refill the sink with clean cold water.
  8. Return to a boil and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately drain through a colander. Rinse the spinach under running water to cool it, and transfer it to the water to stop the cooking. (The easiest way to do this is to leave it in the colander and just submerse it in the water bath, that way you're not trying to fish out all the greens.)
  9. Once the greens are cold, press them to squeeze out the excess water. Transfer the greens to a cutting board and rough chop them into bite size pieces. 
  10. Combine with the stems and set aside.
  11. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to coat a saute pan lightly. Place the pan over medium-low to medium heat and add the garlic.
  12. Cook until the garlic just begins to brown. Add the beet leaves and stems and toss to coat the beet greens. Cook until the greens are heated through and the garlic is golden brown.


  • When you make sauteed beet greens, or any sauteed greens other than sauteed spinach, boiling the greens first, yields a better result. They cook more evenly and they are easier to work with.

Tags: beet leaves, beet green, sauteed beet greens