Whenever I cook vegetables, I try to use the entire plant. It’s become a habit of mine to use everything from the root to the greens. Even when I can’t cook with something like the peel of an onion or the vine of a tomato, I stick it in a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer until I can make a big batch of homemade vegetable stock. After that, to the compost it goes for use in next year’s garden. Trim off the roots of your beets, thoroughly rinse off the dirt and add the roots to your freezer bag.
I don’t think that people realize how delicious beet greens are and tend to toss them out. Don’t do that! Sauté those down with this simple recipe that lets the greens’ flavor really shine.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
6 cups beet tender stems and greens, hard stems removed (reserved for stock), roughly
chopped (about the amount of greens included in 2 bunches of beets)
¼ cup water or vegetable stock
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté for 1 minute, then add the beet greens and water or stock. Cover tightly with a lid and allow the greens to steam for 4 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir with a wooden spoon until all of the greens are wilted, about 30 seconds.
- Add the kosher salt, red pepper flakes and apple cider vinegar, stir and cook for 1 more minute.
- Remove from heat, top with chopped walnuts.
Matt LaBombard, a 2011 graduate of Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts, is associate publicist and social media coordinator at Storey Publishing in North Adams, Massachusetts. Upon returning to the Berkshires, he has found the perfect balance between work, family and friends while enjoying all the pleasures of good home cooking.