Swiss chard is one of the most widely available (and consumed!) leafy greens. Beet greens, on the other hand, are usually unceremoniously tossed in the trash… the roots are typically the main attraction. But did you know that beets and Swiss chard belong to the same family of veggies?
In fact, the beet greens can be cooked exactly the same way you would cook Swiss chard. The only difference is that they have a hint of beet flavor to them, which makes them extra-delicious – at least to my taste buds.
Whenever you’re buying bunched beets, look for leaves that are bright green and perky. The freshness of the leaves guarantees the freshness of the roots. Plus, you get two for one – you’ll cook the roots for sure, but you’ll also sauté the tops to make this massively flavorful side dish!
And once you’ve used your beet tops, you may want to make one of these recipes with the roots:
- Bruschetta with buffalo mozzarella and beet pesto
- Baked golden and red beets with anise vinaigrette
- Linguini with pan-roasted beets, fresh tarragon and caraway
Sautéed Beet Greens with Cumin, Lemon Zest and Crispy Fried Garlic
active time: 20 min
For the crispy fried garlic
- 8 large garlic cloves – skinned and sliced in 1/16” slices (use a mandoline)
- 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
- canola or safflower oil for pan-frying
- sea salt to taste
For the sautéed beet greens
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- peel of 1/2 lemon – use a vegetable hand-peeler to peel the lemon and cut the peel crosswise in 1/16” slices
- 1 lb (455 g) beet greens (or Swiss chard) – stalks trimmed off and leaves torn in 3” pieces
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- Step 1: Place the garlic in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with the flour and toss until the slices are well coated. Place the garlic in a medium sieve and shake to remove excess flour. Heat a small heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to come 1/8” up the sides of the pan. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and spread over the whole surface of the pan, in one layer. Pan-fry the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes until golden-brown, stirring from time to time. Transfer the garlic back to the sieve and let the excess oil drip, then transfer to a tray lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let cool to room temperature. Use the fried garlic within 24 hours.
- Cook’s note: This recipe makes more fried garlic than you’ll need for this dish. Save the balance for sprinkling on salads or tucking into a sandwich.
- Step 2: Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, chili pepper flakes, cumin seeds and lemon zest and sauté for about 1 to 2 minutes until the lemon zest is golden. Add half the beet greens and toss until wilted. Add the balance of the leaves and continue to toss until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, toss quickly and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the crispy fried garlic and serve immediately.
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Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.