Beet Greens

Delicious way to serve beet greens and other greens such as collard or kale. Beet greens recipe with bacon, garlic, onion, sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes.

While this recipe calls for discarding the stems, if you want you can use them too if they aren't too woody. Just cut them into 1-inch segments and add them to the onions after the onions have been cooking for a minute.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beet greens
  • 1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (or a tablespoon of bacon fat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/6 cup of cider vinegar

Method

1 Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

2 In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.

3 Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar. (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)

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Comments

  1. Beetie

    Great recipe. The only thing I’d do differently would be the use of the stems: rather than throwing them away, I’d chop them up and throw them in the pan ahead of the greens, letting them cook until they’re soft. They’re really good, and a pretty color.

  2. Mary Jo

    I have been eating beet greens ever since I was a little girl and my mom used to serve them to us kids, they are one of my favorite greens and no you do not have to cook them very long about like spinach

  3. Peter

    Crazy Thick Leaves

    Are we talking about the same beets? These seem very THICK and raw, they taste a little like grass, although my wife seems to think they taste a bit like spinach.

    The longer the beets are in the ground, the thicker the leaves. Just keep on cooking them (as if they were collard greens) until they are tender enough to eat. They should taste a lot like spinach. ~Elise

  4. Bill

    Excellent! I went a little on the longer side to let the liquid reduce, and they turned out wonderfully. (And none of the gritty teeth that spinach and chard can cause!)

    This would make a wonderful warm salad tossed with some bowtie or cavatelle pasta.

    Thanks!

  5. judy

    This is a great recipe. I was grilling the beets and I decided to do something with the beet greens but the greens were more interesting than the beets. I didn’t have any pepper flakes so left them out and it was fine.

  6. Joni Parker

    We were making beets for dinner and searched for a recipe to use the greens. I found this one and we had all the ingredients except bacon. So I used a leftover turkey sausage link instead. (One clump of 3 beets = 1/4 lb of greens so I quartered all the quantities) We thought this tasted wonderful and complimented the main course shrimp and side dish beets perfectly. It was exactly 2 servings.

  7. Linda

    This is the most delicious recipe…I just finished cooking the beet greens (I use maple syrup instead of sugar – and salami in lieu of bacon) and then added the steamed baby beets into the beet green mixture. Beyond delicious.

  8. sac-eats

    Made it per instructions with the addition of 1/2 cup of beet green stems, diced, which were added 2 min after onions. Big hit, everybody loved the dish.

    Thanks, Elise.

  9. Suzanne

    Vegetarian: omit bacon, substitute olive oil, add a handful of toasted pine nuts before serving. Do use the stems by chopping and adding to the water. Let them cook 3-5 minutes, then add the rest of the greens. They only need to wilt to be cooked 3-5 minutes). If you don’t have enough beet greens (3 beets should yield about half a pound), you can supplement with any other greens. Ruby chard is very similar, and would work beautifully.

  10. dana

    Great recipe. Definitely dice and use the beet stems if they’re not too woody. I diced a whole yellow onion (large) and used olive oil along with about 4 oz. diced kielbasa (didn’t have bacon). Also, suggest skipping the sugar and adding balsamic instead of cider vinegar — 2 Tbs. worked for me.

  11. Maxine

    Fantastic. I have never cooked beet greens before, just heard about how wonderful they are. This recipe was awesome. I love the vegetarian variation posted in the comments. :)

  12. Alex Stailey

    This was a wonderful recipe for fresh beet greens! I didn’t have bacon so I used some real bacon bits and it worked great!Thanks for a Great Recipe

  13. Ann

    I was a bit skeptical because the greens didn’t look too appetizing before I cooked them, nor did it smell very good while cooking, but WOW – delicious!

  14. Tasha

    LOVED them! Saw a recipe for roasted beet salad on a cooking show today that looked wonderful. When I got the beets to make the recipe they had lovely leaves and stems and I wanted to find a recipe for them. This one was amazing. Will definitely make it again. I followed the recipe with one modification- I used seasoned rice vinegar- as I didn’t have cider vinegar. I thought it worked well…although it’s probably a little sweeter than if I had used the cider vinegar.

  15. Christine

    That was fabulous. Thank you! I returned from the produce stand with very fresh beets and thought the leaves were beautiful and there must be something I can do with them. Your recipe displayed at the top of my search results. I’ll use your recipe again and again. It’s even special enough to buy beets on purpose for the greens! (And the reddish color of the pan sauce is so wonderful. It’s very attractive too.)

  16. Louise in CA

    Wow this was good! I agree with the person who said they’d buy beets just to get the greens and use this recipe! I will definitely make it again.

  17. Louise

    Really, really, really good! My husband and I both loved them. Fixed them today with Rachael Ray’s Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Potatoes. Nice compliment to her dish. Thank you–

  18. Jane

    Great recipe but I think I went a little heavy on the pepper … HOT! I’ll delete it the next time and I know it’ll be perfect.

  19. Kelly

    I am not a big fan of beets, but grow tons of them in the garden primarily for the greens. They are good for you, and this recipe is absolutely fabulous!! I have a houseful of little boys who agree. Thanks, Elise!! Kelly

  20. Denise

    Elise, You’re making my husband so happy with all your fabulous recipes for fresh produce coming out of his spring garden. These greens were delicious. We will not be discarding our beet greens anymore!

  21. Jessica

    This recipe is so delicious and I’ve shared it with several people.I use the vegetarian version with olive oil. However,the last time I added a few drops of hickory seasoning liquid smoke.Heavenly! Thank you Elise for this wonderful recipe.

  22. Stacey

    Lovely recipe. We added extra red pepper flakes (1/8 tsp) for a kick at the end, which was great. The layers of flavor are awesome.

  23. Joelle

    I loved this recipe. This is my first year growing beets in my garden (red and yellow) and only the second recipe I have made using cooked greens. I used 3 dried cayenne peppers from last years harvest and blended them with the sugar water. I added mushrooms with the onion, garlic and bacon. I used precooked bacon, so I sauteed everything in butter. The end result was just like a wilted spinach salad with sweet bacon dressing. The best part about it was that I was just thinning the beets, so it was an early vegetable.

  24. Lizzy

    I used a combination of kale, chard and beet greens to eat up all the greens my community supported agriculture program provides. I don’t eat pork and I can’t eat garlic so I used onions, red pepper flakes and lemon zest, balsamic vinegar and smoked salmon (my own). Delicious!

  25. Jurga

    You can also try to make a beet greens SOUP. It is very popular in my country Lithuania.

    The recipe is very simple: beef or pork broth + beet greens with stems + carrots + potatoes. When serving you can add 1/2 of table spoon of sour cream. Delicious :)

  26. Ninette Bird

    Hi Elise, I find that cooked beet leaves are akin to the red leaf chard when cooked. However to me it has a much richer taste. I have cooked it by just sauteing it with a bit of red onion, salt and pepper and a few very small bits of hot peper flakes or a few thin slices of a hot peper like habernero and then squeezing a bit of lime on it before searving with a plate of steamed fish caribbean cooked style along with some thing we call fungi which is a corn meal mush with okras in it. The mush is done the same way you do polenta but cooked in the water that the okra is boiled in. The cooked beet dish is the side vegetable of greens as it’s referred to back there.

  27. Jameil

    Great recipe! I omitted the bacon and the sugar, and threw in a handful or two of dried currants along with the greens. They added a nice sweetness and contrasted well with the robust flavor of the vinegar. I also squeezed some lemon juice over it before serving. I will definitely be making it again the same way.

  28. Liane

    I just learned that chard is actually beet greens where the beets are grown for the greens, not the roots. So they are essentially the same, but chard is thicker than beet greens. They do taste good in chicken soup!

  29. Emily

    This turned out great! I used the balsamic vinager instead of the cider vinegar and suger and I chopped up the stems and added them as suggested. The dish was so pretty with the dark greens and reds and the flavor was great. The greens seemed lighter and fresher than regular turnip greens that have cooked all day. I served them with black eyed peas and cheese quesidillas with the bacon and sun dried tomatoes on them… a very good meal! Great way to use those beet greens! Happy New Year!

  30. Christina

    Thanks for this! Sounds delicious!

    Another great recipe:
    - wash and chop leaves (stems included)
    - peel beets when raw, cut in half and then into slices approximately 1cm thick (or just eighths if the beets are small)
    - bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add beets and greens at the same time
    - cook until beets are fork tender (about 20 min or so) and drain

    If you want to do this Greek style, add olive oil to your pot, get the oil hot, add beets and greens, stir to coat, and add lemon juice. Don’t be shy with the oil.

    Slightly different take on this: again add the oil (again, don’t be shy – that’s why bread exists) to the pan, get it hot and add the beets and greens together with some minced garlic. Stir around so that the greens are coated and the garlic cooks a bit (you could also add the garlic before) and then add just a touch of very good quality balsamic vinegar (cheap stuff is going to make your beets taste like they came out of a jar…). This is my favourite way to do them, and people who normally don’t like beets try them this way and then decide to change their minds about beets.

  31. Gail Peters

    I roasted golden beets and got this recipe for the greens, so delicious!
    I didn’t have bacon so I omitted it and it was great without it.

  32. H

    A nutritionist I know recommends beet greens for families who are prone to gall stones; it seems these can help prevent them if eaten about once a week.

  33. Angel

    Another tasty idea for beet greens that I concocted the other day is to make a pesto out of the leafy greens (I chopped them before the stem got too thick because that part can be very bitter). In keeping with the fact that I was making a non-traditional pesto, I changed from pine nuts to pistachios, and I also squeezed in the juice of one lemon and a put in a few drops of white wine vinegar. The result was very delicious! Hope this gives you more inspiration for beet greens!

    What a great idea, thank you for sharing! ~Elise

  34. Nat

    Thanks for the great recipe!
    Wow, this is a delicious dish. I’m looking forward to try it again, rather than just for the sake of saving greens.

  35. Rhienna

    This recipe tastes quite a bit like the grass you’d feed a cow. While I’m sure the nutritional value is a plus, this is a dish I’m really going to need to modify to get the family to eat. I’m thinking of cutting the recipe and adding part to a chicken alfredo.

  36. rebecca

    If this is what you’d feed a cow, you have a lucky cow. I’d like to be that cow! This is simply DELICIOUS, Elise. Thanks for another winner.

  37. Trish

    I added the stems AND I added some fresh, chopped ginger twice (once with the onions and garlic, and again with the greens). I tossed the whole mix with some cooked brown rice and chilled for a salad.

    Simply Recipes… Simply Wonderful!!

  38. selam

    I am 10 weeks preg and have been craving beets. I have never purchased or cooked beets before. Have eaten it before in a restaurant as a salad.Anyhow, I bought some today and it came with leaves. I boiled the beets with potatoes to make cold salad… but got rid of the greens as I had no idea that you could eat the greens. I cant wait to buy it again and try your recipe. its sounds delicious and healthy. will post again soon as i try it.

  39. willowisp

    NUM! I’ve never cooked a sweet and vinegary stir fry before, but your directions were great and it turned out delicious! Thank you!

  40. Gretchen

    Great recipe. We were looking for a way not to waste the greens from the beets we bought at farmers market. This was a very tasty way to do that. Even my DH–who is usually not in love with the kale/greens recipes I prepare–really liked it. We will definitely keep this recipe on hand and make it again. The one modification I made (since I am trying to cut back on sugar) was to replace the tbsp of sugar with 1 tbsp of Agave Syrup. Tasted great!

  41. kimberley

    Wonderful recipe. Added some baby spinach. Highly recommend. I always hated throwing out the green. Will now do this every time I get beets!! Vinegar finishes it off perfectly.

  42. cheryl

    This is a great recipe. You can use swiss chard which is also in the beet family but is grown only for its greens. We can buy it year round in our area inexpensively. You get more greens buying it that way. Some of the stems are white, some are red like beets and some other colors are available. We make it a lot with just butter, vinegar, salt and pepper.

  43. ender

    “…simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender… (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)”

    This recipe sounds great but yikes! I think these cooking times are a bit hi. I tend to cook greens (also things like snow peas, broccoli, and many other veg.) as little as possible; just enough to wilt basically. If you grew up eating old-school vegetables (cooked for days) this takes a little getting used to, but once you do , you never go back. A lot of vitamins and other nutrients are lost in overcooking… and a lot of taste and texture.

    It completely depends on the greens. I get young chard that I can cook in just a few minutes. Sometimes the collard greens we get are so mature they require half an hour of cooking just to get tender enough to eat. I too like to cook greens as little as possible, but sometimes, especially with more mature leaves, it will take longer. ~Elise

  44. Deb

    Can you freeze them once they are prepared?

    Hi Deb, I don’t know. I haven’t frozen cooked (or raw beet greens for that matter) beet greens. If you do, please let us know how it works out for you. ~Elise

  45. alyce

    why don’t you peel the roasted beets before they cook in the oven??? i always wondered about that….delicious!

    You could do that, sure. ~Elise

  46. becca

    This is heaven! I’m glad I searched for a beet green recipe and came across this one. The flavors work so well, a keeper! I wanted to make more, so I added some spinach from my garden (at least 1/2 lb). I added some more bacon, a large onion, 5 big cloves/garlic, and kept same amount of water, sugar, pepper, vinegar. Aside from the spinach, my own additions were: 1 can cannellini beans (white kidney) rinsed/drained, and about 1/4 cup fresh parsley. Those were added into the cooked greens and simmered for a few minutes. I served this over quinoa, but pasta or rice would be fine, too. I can eat this all day, thank you!

  47. becca

    Correction to my post above: Since I only had 1/2 lb. of beet greens, I added 1/2 lb. spinach. That’s why I kept the water, pepper, vinegar amounts the same. But the recipe yielded a little more since I added more onions and included beans.

  48. Patti

    Made these tonite. I tasted them before adding the vinegar and was skeptical about whether I should add the vinegar. Glad I did :)
    I had a whole bunch extra water so not sure if I did it right but they were delicious.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  49. Albrecht Maier

    Can I freeze the beet greens for later use, similar to how I process zuccini for later use?

    I haven’t frozen them, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  50. Kendra

    Ok, I lied. I didn’t wait until the night after next to be on the menu. I cooked these up for lunch and they’re delicious! Perfect balance of flavors–good thing I have more beets. Thanks again for a great recipe :)

    Kendra

  51. lisa

    fantastic recipe! I didn’t have any bacon on hand so used butter and schmalz instead. also added some red kale to the beet greens.

  52. Pieter

    Your recipe looks very inviting and I will try it. Here is South Africa, we have eaten beetroot leaves for as long as we can remember. We would sautee the stems with onions in a little bid of sunflower oil until soft and then add the leaves to the pan. Pour in about half a cup of water. Top with slices of potato and when the potato is done, the rest are all done. Add salt and a generous amount of white pepper.

  53. Nis

    i don’t eat Beet normally (Thinking its too much sugar) but tried this recipe. It was yummy. However substituted bacon with Maldive fish. (Because I don’t eat meat) However, I prefer this without vinegar. Thanks for a good recipe…

  54. William

    I made this recipe without the bacon and it is quite good. After all I have been hearing lately about the cruelty to pigs (pigs are kept all their lives in Gestation Crates, no sun, no interaction with other pigs, and have miserable painful lives)… I quit eating any kind of pork. I don’t want to have any part of that! This recipe doesn’t need it, so try it without and help end animal cruelty :)

  55. Karen

    I have never had beet greens and I bought some beautiful yellow beets. I saw this recipe and decided to try it. Outstanding!!! My husband even liked them. I roasted the beets and put the beets in the middle of the greens. A very nice presentation. Loved the recipe. Thanks for the great recipe.