Beet Greens

Side DishGluten-FreeBeetGreens

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.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

For so many years I loved beets but threw the beet greens away. Yikes! No more. This is a delicious way to serve greens, whether collard, kale, or beet. In fact, beet greens taste (and look) a lot like Swiss chard.

So, the next time you buy beets with the greens attached, don’t throw away the greens! Chop them up and add them to a soup or stew, or prepare sautéed with onions and bacon like we are doing in the following recipe.

Beets with Beet Greens

Updated from the recipe archive, first posted 2004.

Beet Greens Recipe

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

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.


  • 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
  • 3 Tbsp of cider vinegar


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

2 Sauté the bacon, onions, garlic: 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 occasionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic, cook a minute more.

3 Add water, sugar, red pepper flakes: Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper flakes. Bring mixture to a boil.

4 Add beet greens, cook until tender, add vinegar: 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 the vinegar. (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)

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Beet Greens

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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93 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. PapaG

    The recipe is good but poorly written. Be careful when following the directions. Each instruction starts with a title that incorporates ALL the ingredients in that instruction. THEN it proceeds to tell you that certain ingredients are added first, followed by others. Very strange.


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  2. MaryFrances

    Yummy. Tasted like Greek grape leaves to me. I used avocado oil and xylitol.


  3. Bonnie D. Ivanish

    Not long ago, our grocery began leaving the greens on the beets. I was glad, because I had always heard how nutritious they are, but I had no idea how to prepare. I found your wonderful recipe about a year ago and I have made it many times since then. I’m here to say thanks, and to suggest a slight variation which I tried & loved. Tonight I was having a piece of salmon, with this in mind as a side, but I needed a little something more, like a starch. No time to cook pasta or potatoes, I decided to add a can of light red kidney beans (rinsed) at the end of preparation, allowing just enough time to heat them through. I am so pleased that I thought of it….beans worked perfectly together with the greens, a well-balanced meal with the salmon, plus I didn’t need to dirty another pan. Easy & delicious, this recipe rocks!


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  4. Rosemary

    I added just a dash of salt.


  5. Lori Windspirit

    These were delicious! Great recipe! I kept looking at the greens attached to my beets and I thought it was such a waste to throw them away that I looked for and found your recipe. This is perfect for a Keto side! I steamed the stems with cauliflower and then added them both to the saute and it was lovely! They are delicate and yummy and there is no bitterness at all. Thanks for the great idea!


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