Sauteed Pink Beet Greens

September 18, 2009
0 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

Whenever I cooked beets I felt like I needed to do something with the greens. They are always so beautiful and it seemed a shame to waste them so I did some tests and found my favorite way to eat them. - Marisa Grace Desmond —Marissa Grace

Test Kitchen Notes

This may be the most thoughtful sauteed greens recipe we've ever encountered. Beet greens (which we think deserve more attention in the kitchen) are usually wilted in hot olive oil with a little garlic, and they're delicious this way, but Marissa Grace Desmond plotted out ways to amplify the greens' sweetness while tempering it with chilies. She has you brown garlic with shallot and red pepper flakes, then layer in sugar, black pepper and salt, before adding the greens and wilting them. Just before serving you splash the beet greens with sherry vinegar, which electrifies the whole dish. The key here is the sugar, which caramelizes with the garlic and tightens up the sauce, so by the time the greens are cooked (and beet greens should really be cooked), it wraps the greens in a cloak of sweet and fiery sauce. (By the way, we doubled the amounts here so it would serve 3 people; if you do this, add vinegar to taste.) - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 bunch beet greens
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  1. Wash and trim your beet greens. If the stems are very thick it is worth trimming them back a bit.
  2. On medium heat, saute the garlic, shallot and red pepper flake in the olive oil until slightly browned. Add black pepper, sugar and salt.
  3. Place the beet greens into the pan, pour the water on and immediately cover. Do not remove the lid for a few minutes to allow the greens to wilt. Once they have cooked down, remove the lid and stir all of the ingredients together. Cook for a few more minutes allowing the water to evaporate.
  4. Just before removing pour the vinegar over the greens. Remove, serve and enjoy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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27 Reviews

ariel A. April 28, 2017
Loved these! The chili, sweetness from the shallots and sugar, and the vinegar balanced each other out really well.
The T. October 18, 2015
Just made this today! I paired these greens with some brown rice, roasted cauliflower and garlic hummus. Check out my feature on!
Shortrib July 29, 2015
Delicious! My greens took about 8 mins to tender-up the stems. Finished dish looks beautiful and flavours are satisfyingly complex. Thank you for the recipe! (I'm also lined up now to try the Crazy Bastard Fusilli mentioned below!)
Barb November 10, 2014
Great recipe. My husband doesn't usually like greens and he said these were the best greens cooked like this that he's had. I think the sugar really helps tame the bitterness, and the vinegar adds a nice touch at the end.
Jo April 20, 2014
This was incredible! An added surprise to the joy of making roasted beets! And I'm trying the suggestion listed below next!
amy J. February 12, 2014
I love this recipe-delicious, simple, healthy, and beautiful. You might enjoy Andy Nusser's "Fusilli alla Crazy Bastard" (after the famous Charles Borsotti cartoon): it's basically your pink greens with toasted walnuts, goat cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes ("loosened" with some pasta water) and fusilli.
Jackie317 May 27, 2013
Is there an alternative for the Sherry vinegar?
drbabs May 27, 2013
Red wine vinegar works. Maybe a little less. (Taste and see.)
Tbird June 26, 2012
I made this for my family tonight (along with quinoa and lamb chops). I loved. My 11 year old loved. My 6 year old liked. My wife... Not so crazy about it. I got these greens from my friend's garden this weekend and was wondering what to do with them. Thanks for the recipe!
borntobeworn May 21, 2012
I made these tonight and they were fabulous! Looking forward to more greens from my friend's garden :)
fitsxarts January 28, 2012
I made Nigel Slater's chocolate-beet cake tonight and this was a terrific precursor -- since i had the greens on hand. Cut the sugar down to 1 tsp, which was all the greens needed. Brilliant call on the sherry vinegar, thanks for a great recipe!
ashleyamore June 24, 2011
So wonderful! @maryvelasquez, this reminds me of a dish I used to eat in Rome- a 'spaghetti saltata in padella' - with the addition of cabbage and mushrooms. Add a little provolone or parmigiano, and voila, transported to an eclectic little restaurant near Campo dei Fiori.

Still, this is fantastic as is. What a delicious way to enjoy beet greens. Now, what to do with those beets. . .
friendlyoaks May 31, 2011
Well almost 2 years later I finally tried these. Absolutely fabulous! I used chard because that was what I had on hand, but any greens would be great. I have flight plans later this week and plan to tote a sandwich of these greens with fried halloumi cheese for lunch enroute. I will be a very happy traveler.
familydinners February 9, 2011
I made this tonight...awesome! Everyone loved it, even the veg haters.
Teri January 10, 2011
I finally got to make this Sunday night. It was great!
KLL5 October 7, 2010
I was underwhelmed by this recipe. But maybe I did something wrong?
GoodFoodie October 8, 2010
Needs more salt...
alli51 July 15, 2010
This recipe would work great for various types of Asian greens (which I typically just cook with a bit of oil, kosher salt, and some soy/fish sauce and maybe some chicken broth). This will be much more interesting!
drbabs May 23, 2010
Hi Marissa--I made this last night with spinach and arugula instead of beet greens. It was great.
Denise May 6, 2010
Saving. Thanks!
WinnieAb February 22, 2010
I made these pink greens tonight- was cooking up the beets for the beet recipe challenge and have been wanting to try these forever- they are fantastic! I substituted a little chopped onion for the shallot and used Meyer lemon juice instead of the vinegar. I'd never think of adding sugar but it works so well here...great recipe!
GoodFoodie November 22, 2009
Absolute beet green fan (as well as swiss chard -- which could work with this as well??) ......can't wait to try this!
Marissa G. July 14, 2010
I've used both chard and kale for this recipe and they have come out well. I like the beet greens the best as they give the pink hue to the sauce and are more tender!