Posts tagged ‘beet greens’

Un-beet-able

It’s 9:15 pm and I’ve just now finished eating dinner. I came home later than planned and was then distracted by other things, so by the time I got around to contemplating my options, I needed something fast. Having already eaten a salad for lunch, I steered clear of the lettuce, but beyond that, pickings were slim.

Sliced cheese and tortilla chips got me out of more than one dinner fix this winter, but with all the veggies now available, I felt too guilty to go that route. There is plenty of pasta in the cupboard, but with no pesto or sage butter, that didn’t sound appealing. And roasted beets, while amazing (and a favorite), are too time consuming for as late as I was starting.

Which is how I arrive at beet greens. Unlike the beetroot, the greens cook up very quickly. Though largely viewed as inedible and quickly destined for the compost bin in most households, being creative with beet greens is not only healthy for you, but also helps cut down on our food waste! Tender much like spinach and swiss chard, these nutrient packed beauties are ready and waiting for your next menu.

I’ve done beet greens a few different ways in the past; usually it involves oil, garlic and some method of steaming or blanching the leaves. Wanting something a bit different this time, I turned to my trusty search engine and in the first page of results, came upon this lovely Beet Greens Salad recipe. While it still involved the aforementioned ingredients, this recipe has a few twists to what I’ve done before.

To make this salad, you will need:

Beet Green Salad

  • Greens from 2 bunches of beets
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted until golden

1. Rinse the greens thoroughly in several changes of water.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the greens. Blanch 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. With your hands, squeeze out the excess liquid. Chop the greens coarsely.

3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When it is hot, add the greens, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until the greens are tender but still bright colored.

4. Transfer the greens to a bowl.

5. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pour the mixture over the greens and toss well. Add the onion, tomato, and almonds. Toss again. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you like. Adapted from Justin Melnick, executive chef of Tomasso Trattoria

MY NOTES: First, a comment on oil. Whenever a recipe calls for cooking with olive oil, I always substitute an oil with a higher smoke point, which is the temperature at which the oil begins to break down. Olive oil to breaks down around 200-250º and at that point can actually become toxic. Options like canola, safflower or sunflower oil are much better for any medium or high heat pan cooking. So, for this recipe, I used canola oil for sauteing the greens, but olive oil for the dressing.

The taste on this salad was absolutely phenomenal. The lemon really helps bring out more of the flavor of the greens, and the onions and tomatoes add some nice texture and taste contrast. I didn’t have any almonds, so I toasted up a handful of raw sunflower seeds, which worked well, though I’d love to try this again with almonds.

So, next time you get a bunch of beets at the farmers market, before you put them in the fridge, twist off the stems/leaves and put them in a separate bag. The roots will last for a long time, but don’t wait more than a few days for the best quality of the greens.

Enjoy!

July 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm 2 comments


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