Recipe: Sautéed Beet Greens with Pine Nuts

Do you ever get into a vegetable rut?  You want to include vegetables with dinner every night, but you find yourself reaching for the same three or four veggies, and preparing them in the same old way?

I think food ruts happen to everyone eventually, especially with vegetables.

These sautéed beet greens with pine nuts could help shake up your vegetable routine.

Sautéed Beet Green with Pine NustWhen looking at cookbooks, recipe magazines, or blogs, or when taking in all the eye-candy on Pinterest, you might not be seeing a lot of recipes focussing on vegetable side dishes.  If contemplating what to make for dinner, main dish ideas probably grab your attention.  Or maybe you are being seduced by dessert recipes.  What about vegetable recipes?  Sadly, they don’t often get a place to shine in the sun.

Vegetable side dishes usually are not complicated.  They typically only call for a handful of ingredients, and they are easy to make.  This is great, as it allows the cook to focus on other, more time-consuming or complicated portions of the meal.  Maybe this is part of the reason vegetables don’t get a lot of attention in the recipe world.  However, many of us want to eat more vegetables, but we don’t know what to do with them.

Thanks to my CSA box, I am exploring the wide world of vegetables.  I am the recipient of vegetables that don’t usually make it to my dinner table.  Some of them are unfamiliar.  Some are vegetables I usually overlook.  I am definitely not in my same old routine with vegetables right now.  I thought it would be a good idea to share vegetable side dish recipes with you over the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully they will inspire you to try something different.

These sautéed beet greens are a great place to start.

Although I discovered beets this winter, beet greens are new to me.  In the past, I have ignored the leaves of root vegetables, discarding them as kitchen waste.  My first CSA box contained a bunch of beet greens, with small, inedible beets at the ends of them.  The greens are the portion that is intended to be eaten.

Beet Greens

My bunch of beet greens. You can see how tiny the beet roots are. They really were not edible. The but leaves were large and tender.

Beet greens can be treated in the same way as Swiss chard or other dark leafy greens.  I opted to sauté mine.  Worried the beet greens would be too bitter, I discarded most of the stems, as I find the stems tend to be the most bitter part of a leafy vegetable.  The sautéed beet greens weren’t bitter at all.  Maybe it is because these are young beet greens, picked early in the season.  These are harvested for the purposed of beet greens, and the beet root portion of the crop is lost.  Later in the season, when the beets are harvested for their roots, the greens are still attached, and while perfectly edible, I don’t imagine that they are as tender as these young ones we had.

The greens will pick up the flavours of the other ingredients they are cooked with, resulting in a tasty vegetable dish.  The pine nuts add some crunch, which makes it more interesting in the mouth, and also a smooth, buttery flavour.

My bunch of beet greens was a small one.  If you have a large bunch, just double the ingredients.

Recipe:  Sautéed Beet Greens with Pine Nuts

Sautéed Beet Greens with Pine Nuts


  • 1 bunch beet greens
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (you could use honey if you don’t have maple syrup)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts*


  1. Thoroughly wash beet greens. Pat dry using a clean tea towel.
  2. Coarsely chop greens into pieces about 1” long, discarding stems.
  3. Heat non-stick pan on medium and add olive oil.
  4. When olive oil heated, add shallot to pan and sauté, stirring often, until golden brown but not burnt, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add vinegar and maple syrup to pan, stir, and cook one minute.
  6. Add beet greens to pan and stir constantly, until greens wilted, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer greens to serving bowl and sprinkle pine nuts over top. Serve while still warm.

* For directions on toasting pine nuts, see this roasted green bean recipe.

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