These sautéed beet greens are a quick and incredibly healthy side dish. Sautéing beet greens with garlic and onion balances the bitterness of the greens and is very delicious. Once you try this beet greens recipe you’ll never throw away the beet tops again.
Beet greens are the green leafy tops of a beet. The beet (aka “beetroot”) is the part that grows underground. Red stems connect the beet greens to the beetroot and they are also edible.
Beet greens are a powerhouse of nutrients. They boost immunity, lower blood pressure, improve mental health, strengthen bones, and more!
Fun Fact: Here in America and Canada we call it a beet, but in Australia and the UK you’ll hear it referred to as a beetroot. It is the root of the beet after all.
Sautéed Beet Greens: Ingredients
Organic Beet Greens
I get organic beet greens at the farmers market, still attached to the beet root. They are so yummy (and pesticide-free) that bugs sometimes nibble on them, as you can see in the photo below. 🙂
I’ll take soil-grown and nibbled beet greens, over sprayed beet greens any day.
You’re most likely to find beets at the farmers market during the shoulder season as they are a cool weather crop. Look for them in late spring and autumn in most states, or during winter in Florida. If you live in the north you’ll probably find them all summer…sorry about that. 🙂
Quantity: The greens and stems from one beet will make a serving of beet greens. For this recipe I’m using the greens and stems from two beets. Here is a simple roasted beets recipe you can make with the beets.
The sweetness of cooked yellow onion will balance the bitter flavor of the greens – so I don’t recommend omitting onion.
Go with yellow onion or sweet onion, but not red onion or white onion as they lack the sweetness that pairs so well with beet greens.
One large, or two small cloves of fresh, minced garlic.
A teaspoon of olive oil to sauté the stems and onion, plus a little more if needed for the greens.
How to Make Sautéed Beet Greens (Plus Tips!)
When I sauté beet greens, I cook both the greens and stems. Yes, beet stems are edible, and they taste great!
Beet stems do take longer to sauté than the leafy greens, so we’ll add the stems to the pan with the sliced onion ahead of time. When the onion and beet stems soften, add the greens to the pan and sauté until they are wilted.
Minced garlic is added at the end for a quick toss before removing the pan from heat. Your beet greens are ready to serve!
1. Prepare the ingredients
Start by cutting the stems off the red beets, close to the root. Rinse the stems and leaves well under running water. If you bought your beets at the farmers market there will be soil remnants to remove.
Be sure to pat the stems and greens dry – water droplets will cause the oil to spatter when you sauté.
Greens: Cut each leaf (beet green) from the stem and set the greens aside.
Stems: Chop the stems into 1.5 inch long pieces and set them aside separately.
Onion: Cut half a small onion into four pieces and slice each piece thinly.
Garlic: Mince one large or two small cloves of garlic.
2. Sauté the beet stems and onions
Heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or wok.
When the oil is warm, add the sliced onions and beet stems.
Sauté until they soften, but are not completely done. This will take 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Add the beet greens to the pan
Add the beet greens to the pan, stirring to incorporate with the oil and other ingredients. Add a little more oil to the pan if needed.
Continue stirring almost constantly until the greens are wilted. This will take about 5 minutes.
4. Finish with minced garlic
When the beet greens are ready, toss in the minced garlic and stir quickly to incorporate.
Remove the pan from heat and serve right away.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do cooked beet greens taste like?
The flavor profile of cooked beet greens skews towards bitter, like spinach but not as bitter as mustard greens.
Bitter isn’t a bad thing. If you enjoy other greens such as spinach and swiss chard, you’ll like beet greens. I love swiss chard, but prefer beet greens because they don’t give the dry mouthfeel you may be familiar with.
My beet green recipe is especially good because I pair the greens with sweet onion to balance the bitterness.
What can I serve with beet greens?
Sautéed beet greens are a wonderful and healthy side dish, just chose your accompaniments carefully. Beet greens have a strong flavor which I don’t recommend serving with delicate proteins such as white fish. Beet greens pair well with steak and chicken and especially dishes that are sweeter, to balance the bitterness of the greens.
Other Recipes Made with Beets
Sautéed Beet Greens (with Garlic and Onion)
- 6-8 ounces beet greens (greens and stems from two beets)
- 1/2 small yellow onion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 large clove fresh garlic minced
- Cut the stems off the red beets, close to the root. Rinse the stems and leaves well under running water and pat them dry.
- Cut each leaf (beet green) from the stem and set the greens aside.
- Chop the stems into 1.5 inch long pieces and set them aside separately.
- Cut the onion half into four pieces and slice each piece thinly.
- Heat one teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or wok. When the oil is warm, add the sliced onions and beet stems. Sauté until they soften, but are not completely done. This will take 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the beet greens to the pan, stirring to incorporate with the oil and other ingredients. Add a little more oil to the pan if needed. Continue stirring almost constantly until the greens are wilted. This will take about 5 minutes.
- When the beet greens are ready, toss in the minced garlic and stir quickly to incorporate. Remove the pan from heat and serve right away.