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May, 2009

Sautéed Beet Greens With Fresh Garlic Olive Oil and Persian Lime

By Heidi Allison

Don’t toss those beet tops out! These undiscovered leafy greens are not only edible, but have a fabulous flavor reminiscent of their culinary cousin, Swiss chard. But, these greens have a distinct edge —their stems are so tender you can forgo the labor-intensive step of stripping the tough rib from the leaf. The only prep work this lusty green requires is a quick rinse and a rough chop
.

Red Beets
In this recipe, the beet greens’ slightly bitter and naturally salty flavor are enhanced by the mildly sweet acidic taste of the Persian lime and thinly-sliced fresh garlic—the perfect counterpoint flavors to tame their robust taste. Quick to prepare, this sauté gets to the table in less than 5 minutes, and pairs beautifully as a standout side for any pan-seared cold-water fish. Another good reason to add beet greens to your culinary repertoire is that they stretch your food budget. In these hard economic times, foods that do double-duty by covering several meals are a go-to bargain. The beet root can serve as the foundation of a light entrée in soups or salads, while the greens will stand alone as a stunning side, or serve as a graceful team player when added to omelets, risotto, quiche or pasta. And, beet tops pack a lot of nutrition for a mere 39 calories per serving! Beet greens are emerging as a nutritional powerhouse, rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, betacyanin (a potent antioxidant), leutin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate and vitamins , A, B6, C, E, and K. In fact, researchers discovered that beet greens are even more nutritious than the roots! They safeguard your health by reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Sautéed Beet Greens with Garlic, Olive Oil and Persian Lime
Serves: 2
Sautéed Beet Greens with Garlic, Olive Oil and Persian Lime
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large bunch beet greens
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about ¼ -inch thick)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil Zest of 1 lime, plus juice of ½ limes
1/8 tsp. honey
Pinch of salt

Preparation:
Rinse beet greens several times in a basin of cold water to remove any sand, and then drain on paper towels. Chop greens and stems into 1-inch slices and place into a large bowl, and then set aside. Heat a large wok over medium-high until hot. Add oil, beet greens and immediately start to flip over greens in the pan using tongs. As the greens start to wilt (about 25 seconds), add garlic and toss with tongs several times— garlic should still be raw but slightly warm. Add lime juice, zest, honey, and salt. Toss with tongs several times until incorporated. Remove from pan and serve immediately.

Notes from the Author:
This dish cooks very quickly – no multi-tasking while preparing this one. The finished dish should still be a bit crunchy and look vibrant. Its flavor is best when served warm or at room temperature.