Have you bought a bunch of beetroot and thrown away the greens? Probably, most people do. It’s not an ingredient that many people would have the confidence to cook with, or even think to use it at all. But I’m here to tell you that Beet Greens are not just awesomely good for you, they also taste delicious!
When you next buy a bunch of beetroot, use the tops within the first couple of days of bringing it home, and the roots will keep for later in the week.
If you’re growing beetroots at home, you can keep taking the leaves from the plant as they grow, and they can be added to stirfrys, soups, or juices. If you’ve got a whole bunch, try this pasta recipe. It was so tasty I will definitely be making it again.
Why are beet greens so good for you?
They’re rich in nutrients, in particular magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B2, manganese, potassium and iron. They have a lot of antioxidants in them, and they’re also an abundant source of nitrate, a nutrient which is converted to nitric oxide in the body, a chemical that helps to dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Nitrate is best utilised when beets and beet leaves are consumed raw (such as in a juice) but there is still some absorption when cooked.
Smoked Trout and Beet Greens Pasta
- 1 small red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 bunch beetroot greens, thoroughly washed.
- 2 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 200g spaghetti (you could use wholegrain, spelt, rice or other varieties)
- 1 fillet of smoked trout, skin and bones removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 vegetable stock cube
Vegetarian alternative – use sauteed mushrooms instead of the smoked trout.
- Separate the stems from the leaves on the beetroot greens.
- Put a large pan of water on to boil. once it hits the boil, add the spaghetti. check it occasionally to see when it’s done.
- Heat a large frying pan to medium heat, and add the pine nuts. (Don’t use oil at this point). Keep a close eye on these, shaking the pan or stirring every now and then. Once they get nicely browned, tip them out into a bowl and reserve these for later.
- Meanwhile, finely dice the onion and garlic. Add the olive oil to the pan, then saute the onion and garlic until soft.
- Dice the beet stems and add to the pan. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes, then crumble in the stock cube and add a splash of water.
- Reserve the smallest beet leaves, and thinly slice the remaining larger leaves. Add all of these and stir, adding another good splash of water. Cook for another 5 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
- Crumble in the smoked trout fillet then scoop the spaghetti out of the water and add to the pan. If a bit of pasta water comes with it that’s great (it makes the sauce silky). Mix well.
- Crack over some black pepper and taste for seasoning. If its too salty add a small squeeze of lemon.
- Serve into bowls then top with the pine nuts and Parmesan.
Do you cook with beet greens? Let me know your favourite way of using them in the comments below?