It is so nice to cook up all of one purchase of fresh vegetables in one recipe. Often with vegetables, we use some and some is left for another day — and then forgotten. It gives me a terrible feeling when I see valuable organic produce becoming compost in the vegetable bin of my refrigerator.
Fresh beets look so beautiful in a bunch. When you buy beets in a bunch, it is best to use both the beets and beet greens right away. Even though the beetroots keep well, the beet greens do not. It is best to use those greens while they are still crisp and vibrant.
By the way, beets are getting good press in the medical literature. Those bright attractive colors are a hint that there are plenty of good nutrients in that food.
Here’s what a 2015 research review had to say about beets:
“Beetroot is a rich source of phytochemical compounds, that includes ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids and flavonoids. Beetroot is also one of the few vegetables that contain a group of highly bioactive pigments … betacyanin pigments that are red-violet in color and betaxanthin pigments that are yellow-orange in color.”
So, next time you are at the farmer’s market, pick up one of those nice colorful bunches of new beets with the beet greens still attached. Because the recipe I’m sharing with you today will turn that whole bunch into a satisfying vegetable side dish.
P.S. You really do want to add the bacon or butter to this recipe. Fat increases the absorption of vitamins from vegetables. A fascinating study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated, “Essentially no absorption of carotenoids was observed when salads with fat-free salad dressing were consumed. A substantially greater absorption of carotenoids was observed when salads were consumed with full-fat than with reduced-fat salad dressing.”
Beets, Beet Greens, and Bacon (or Butter)
Not sure what to do with those beet greens? This recipe turns your whole bunch into a delicious side dish.
- 6 small beets with tops
- 4 pieces bacon or 4 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Wash the beets and greens carefully, removing all dirt and sand.
Separate greens from the roots.
Coarsely chop the greens.
Cut each beet into halves or quarters.
Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces (or the butter into 12 pats).
In a Dutch oven or covered casserole, place the water, then the greens, then the beets, then the bacon pieces or butter.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until the beetroots are tender.