Mom’s Beet Greens

I was on the phone with my mom recently and she raved about the beet greens she’d cooked up. I couldn’t remember ever having them and she moaned, “Oh, they are so good,” her voice dripping with relish as if she were talking about a decadent slice of cake. She then shared with me her recipe, which sounded so simple I couldn’t believe I hadn’t made it before. A few days later, when I stopped in to the farmer’s market to pick up some local honey (6 lbs of it!), and spied some beet greens for sale, I scooped up a handful. Once the temperatures had cooled enough from the scorching weekend to make cooking bearable, I jumped on the chance try out my mom’s recipe.

Washed beet greens

They are quite pretty! And the beets are so tiny. Apparently the beets are a little sweeter when they are this young, and pulling them from the garden now ensures the rest of the beets grow nice and plump.

A pinch of beet

I washed the beet greens under cold water to remove as much of the dirt as possible. My mom uses a paring knife to scrape off the outer part of each beet to ensure all the dirt is gone, but I omitted this step because I didn’t want to end up with red hands. Later, this led to a few unfortunate bites of gritty beet greens, so I highly recommend you scrape the outsides of the beets if you don’t want the extra crunch.

I trimmed the roots off and put the greens in a pot with some water, butter, salt, and pepper. After about 30 minutes, I had a nice little dish with a flavorful, buttery broth.

Cooked beet greens

(Colin’s poor little table has taken quite a beating over the years!) In spite of a few gravelly bites, the dish turned out wonderfully. I was surprised at how much the greens tasted like spinach, since rainbow chard and kale have such distinct flavors from spinach. I felt like Popeye the Sailor Man getting a super charge of veggies.

Beet greens side dish recipe

Mom’s Beet Greens

Serves 1.


  • Handful of beet greens
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash the beet greens under cold running water. Pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Trim the roots off the ends of the beet greens. Scrape the outside of the beets to remove excess dirt.
  3. Fill the bottom of a medium saucepan (2.5 quarts) with 1-2 inches of water.
  4. Add butter, beet greens, salt, and pepper to the saucepan.
  5. Bring to a light boil.
  6. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until beets are fork-tender, then serve.

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