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You Should Stop Throwing Away Your Beet Greens. Here's Why.

Taste of Home logo Taste of Home 6 days ago Ceara Milligan
a close up of a plant: beets-shutterstock_759160402 © Anna_Pustynnikova/Shutterstock beets-shutterstock_759160402

Beets are versatile, earthy and nutritious root vegetables that are an exceedingly popular ingredient in many dishes. They're also 100% edible! This root's magenta or golden yellow bulbs usually get all the love. But next time you remove the veggie's long, lush green leaves, don't toss them into the compost! Not only are beet greens good for you, but they taste incredible when properly cooked.

Health Benefits of Beet Greens

Are beet leaves healthy to eat? You bet! Beets are ranked as a superfood for several obvious reasons. Their bulbs and leaves alike possess healthy properties to help keep you in great physical and mental shape. To name a few:

  • Beet greens are packed with high amounts of vitamins and nutrients, including iron, protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc and fiber. They also are extremely low in calories, fat and cholesterol. (Psst: These are the signs you're not getting enough protein).
  • Beet greens contain plenty of nitrates, which help lower blood pressure. Nitrates also improve oxygen levels in the body, which enhance exercise performance and athletic ability.
  • Beet greens also help fight inflammation, improve digestive health, support brain health and contain anti-cancer properties.

How to Saute Beet Greens

Sauteed beet greens taste amazing on sandwiches, in salads or mixed into rice, egg and pasta dishes. The greens become tender and are a great alternative (or complement) to other leafy greens such as spinach, collards, kale, mustard greens and chard.

You'll need:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. beet greens, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, optional

Instructions:

To saute beet greens, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers (an indicator that it's hot!), add beet greens, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. For a spicy kick, sprinkle on some crushed red pepper. Toss the leaves in the pan for about 8 minutes until they start to wilt. Drain out any excess liquid and enjoy!

How to Bake Beet Greens

On the other hand, baked beet greens have crispy leaves and can be enjoyed in salads and in hearty dishes such as this golden beet curry risotto. Plus, the process is super simple.

You'll need:

  • 1 lb. beet greens, thoroughly washed and patted dry with paper towels
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the greens in a single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush on coconut oil until the greens are lightly coated, then sprinkle them with salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the leaves are dry and crisp.

Related video: Beet Juice Might be the Secret to Staying Young [via Buzz60]

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