Roasted Beets & Braised Beet Greens (RECIPE)

August 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here are easy and healthy recipes for preparing beets and their greens. I hear people discard the beet greens, but to me, that seems like a waste. You can eat nearly the entire vegetable, so why not do it? I love beets and their greens prepared in simple ways that enhance their natural flavors.

Beets can be traced back to a wild seashore plant, the sea beet, that grows throughout Southern Europe and Northern Africa and, along with their close cousins — Swiss chard and spinach — have been consumed since prehistoric times. Beets are supposed to be detoxifying and a good source of folate, and 1 cup of the greens provides 220% of your daily vitamin A and 60% of your daily vitamin C. And they taste great: sweet and a bit nutty.

Salad with our roasted beets, mesclun and baby chard...but not our tomatoes!

Roasted Beet Salad

For two

For beets and salad:

5-6 small (1.5 inch diameter) beets or 2-3 large (2-3 inch diameter) beets

Olive oil

4 generous handfuls of mixed salad greens of your choice (I love a mesclun mix with young Swiss chard leaves, which add nice flavor and succulent texture)

Salt and pepper

For dressing:

Juice from half a lime

1 spoonful of honey

1/8 cup good olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Trim tops and bottoms off of beets and scrub well. Toss to coat in olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the beets in the center of a square of foil; bring up and cinch the sides of the foil to form a sealed packet. Put the packet in a baking dish.

Roast until fork-tender, anywhere from 25-40 minutes, depending on the size and number of beets. Check earlier to make sure you don’t overcook them.

When the beets are done, take them out of the foil packet and let them cool. Once they’re cool enough to handle, take half a sheet of paper towel in each hand and gently rub the beets to remove the skins. (The paper towel tip is courtesy of Thomas Keller’s ad hoc cookbook, which I mentioned in an earlier post about the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and it works like a charm! No need for those fancy-pants scrubby gloves.) Depending on the size of the beets, cut them in half or quarters.

Wash the salad greens and spin dry.

Mix the lime juice and honey in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil until you have an emulsified dressing.

Place salad greens in a big bowl. Pour the dressing down the sides of the bowl around the entire perimeter (pouring the dressing down the sides of the bowl instead of on top of the greens will ensure the greens are coated evenly). Toss the greens to coat with dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide greens evenly between two small salad bowls. Put cut beets into the big bowl; toss to coat in dressing that’s still in there. Divide beets between two small salad bowls, placing gently atop the greens.

Raw bull's blood beet greens

Braised Beet Greens

For two

Greens from 2 bunches of beets

2 shallots

2 cloves garlic

Olive oil (standard olive oil for cooking; good olive oil for drizzling)

Salt and pepper

1-2 tablespoons water

Wash the beet greens and chop into 2-inch strips. Chop the shallots and mince the garlic.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat; add olive oil. Add shallots and garlic and cook until translucent and soft; lower heat if necessary so the shallots and garlic don’t brown. Add the beet greens; stir to coat with the oil. Add the water. Cover the pan to braise the greens.

Cook the greens until tender, about 10 minutes. Check the tenderness of the greens every few minutes to ensure you don’t overcook them and to add more water if necessary (if the greens dry out, they’ll stick to the pan).

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle good olive oil on top before serving.

Braised bull's blood beet greens...look at that intense red!

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