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Beet stalks--how to cook?

We picked up some beets at the farmer's market.

Currently, there is a pork shoulder (butt) in the oven at 200F; it will be pulled out sometime tomorrow. To accompany it, I'll cook the beet greens in a manner similar to collards.

The beets will be made into a vegetarian borscht with wild mushrooms.

Question: what is the best way to cook the stalks? Blanched, julienned, and sauteed? In a quiche?

I've never cooked beet stalks, and welcome any advice.


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  1. If you are going to cook the beet greens till really soft like Southern greens then I would just chop the stalks and include them for textural variety. If you are talking about making them at the same meal as the greens that is the way I would go. If they are the really long stalks you could gratinee then like Europeans do with the chard stalks. I tried an Elizabeth Schneider recipe for Vegetable from A to Z that pickled them personally did not care for the prep.

    1. Cross cut thin, blanch, then stir fry.

      1. Beets and chard are close relatives and the greens taste pretty much the same, although beet greens are not as tender and require a little more cooking than chard or spinach. The stems are rather tough, so best to strip off the leafy parts.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Zeldog

          So closely related in fact that one variety forms a bulb, the other does not. The difference in texture or toughness is probably that the swiss chard gets pulled earlier, while the beet greens are older (and therefore more fibruous) because of the extended time in the ground needed for the beet bulbs to form.

        2. Cut 'em up pretty small and saute with a bunch of butter. Maybe add some good stock for a nice glaze. They take more cooking than chard or kale, and have a very gentle flavor. I love them almost as much as the beets themselves.

          1. i don't know if you saw the thread I started earlier about that my son had brought me a big box of vegetables earlier today. I don't know how to cook the greens or knew if I could mix them or not.
            I didn't get much feedback so I since I needed to get it started (don't want to waste anything) I cleaned the beets, and cut the tops about an inch from the beet. Rinse the beets, set them aside for a second. Then I rinsed and picked throught the tops, just weeding out dead stuff, grass, and anything that didn't look fresh. Washed it all under cold water, and then pulled out my biggest pasta pot, and pushed the greens into the pot to soak. I also had swiss chard, I added that too the pot, preparing it the same way.

            I tossed the water, and refilled the pot swishing the greens. Filled it up and let it sit for about an hour. Then I just took them out draining them a bit, and cut them into about 2 to 3 inch strips, staks too. I was worried about the stalks, honestly.

            Once I did that, I put them all back into the pot, filled it with cold clean water, and put it on the stove. I added about 1 T of kosher salt, and about the same in pepper.
            I let that come to a boil, then I added 3 T of bacon grease, half of a white onion and four fresh garlic cloves sliced. Let it all simmer for about 3 hours. I kept tasting the pot liqour, and added salt and pepper. Let it continue to cook on low. All was tender in about 3 1/2 hours. Just taste the liqour and season that to your own tastes. I would of added bacon but someone ate the bacon that I thought I had....ahem.

            Meanwhile I put the beets into aluminum foil (unpeeled) they were all different sizes. I rubbed olive oil all over them and then added salt and pepper, wrapped them all in one sheet, and then another (double wrapped) baked them for 1 hour at 350. At the end of the cooking time the largest one was cooked through. I tested with a paring knife and it slipped right on through easily. The smaller ones are fine. They are cooling and resting to chill and I'm making a salad with herbs (chives) and feta, olive oil and red vinegar,

            I just had a bowl of the beet and chard tops, they were scrumptions!
            I know I've eaten plenty of greens but this is the first time and cooking these, and surprisingly the stalks are even good and tender.
            Hope this helps you out! Beets are super good for us, I must eat more!

            and here is a picture for you to get an idea...

            6 Replies
            1. re: chef chicklet

              Beautiful. Going to do something similar.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                They were delicious, I must do this more often! Maybe they tasted so good because they were a gift?

              2. re: chef chicklet

                I have to admit that for some things, I'm a lazy cook. While the pork was in the oven at 200F, I left the beets (stalks removed) for 4 hours. Then peeled them, and put them in the refrigerator (I'm out of onions). My husband insisted on working on the greens--he washed them 4x, and they're drying. We had enough good pork which pulled apart without forks for lunch (and as an afterthought, tomato sandwiches for dinner--vegs needed).

                Pulled pork, borscht and collards for tomorrow's dinner with blanched julienned stalks atop a spinach salad. May add the last peach if I don't eat it first.

                1. re: Caralien

                  If I had thought about it, I would of used a nice piece of pork, delicious they were, but the pork would of been just perfect. I had a very strong craving for old timey cooked greens for some reason (I ama sucker for that broth).
                  I kept the broth that was left, trying to figure how to work that into a meal, and then I still have the lovely beets!

                  1. re: Caralien

                    Looking at your post again, do you have a recipe for that borscht? Is yours a cold soup? Looks like I'm getting some more beets this coming weekend, and I couldn't be happier!

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      I am horrible at following recipes, but am planning to loosely base it on this one (omitting the dairy, served cold, finely chopped roasted beets, no pureeing...):

                2. Omigod! I can't tell you how jealous I am if you have beet greens!

                  They should be VERY young. If there's evidence of a beet it shouldn't be much larger than a big marble. Wash the greens well and shake off all the water you can. Then you can steam them with just the water clinging to the leaves. Only a few minutes and have butter and a mild, yummy vinegar at the ready.

                  If you prefer, let the leaves dry and sauté them in butter in a large pan. Like spinach, they'll cook down multiples of what you anticipate.

                  You could chop them, but I think a few greens -- from tiny beet to leafy tip -- swirled into a little cone like pasta is as elegant as the greens are delicious.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rainey

                    This was an excellent suggestion -- I had a plate of buttery sautéed greens on long stems with little marble beets. The way i twirled my fork, it was like eating spaghetti and meat balls! I wished I had more than one bunch...

                  2. I treat them like other greens and sautee.

                    1. I was in a horticulture class back in junior high. One of the crops we grew was beets. I hated beets back then, but my mom who grew up in Japan during WWII, insisted that we make full use of the beets. While I didn't touch the beets, she made tsukemono out of the stems and greens - those I ate and liked.

                      1. I'm so glad you posted this thread! I bought young beets (around the size of a silver dollar) with greens attached at the farmer's market yesterday, and the greens were gorgeous, and I was contemplating what to do with them. Unfortunately, my veggie drawers were full, and so I stored the beets and greens on the bottom shelf of my fridge. When I opened the fridge this morning, the greens were frozen! Clearly my fridge has a cold spot, because I have the coldness level set between 6-7 and other parts of the fridge don't freeze. Anyhow, I threw out the frozen greens (with sympathies to the chef on Top Chef Masters whose veggies froze), and cooked the beets anyhow --roasted using Mark Bittman's method in How to Cook Everything -- wrap washed beets in foil, place on a roasting pan, and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or longer, until tender.

                        Even though the beets themselves had been partially frozen, they roasted up beautifully. I quartered them and dressed them warm with a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, dijon, a tad of balsamic, olive oil, green onion, parsley and salt, they they were divine!

                        I can't wait for next weeks' market so I can get another bunch and actually do something with the greens :-) Now that I know my fridge's predilection, I will make sure not to let them freeze!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DanaB

                          As a rather fanatical beet lover, so sorry to hear about your greens. I wonder if cooked what they would of tasted like? hmm. Anyway, today I'm preparing the beets that I roasted yesterday, mine were not all uniform but nothing was large, and so I roasted them too. I will peel them with a dark cloth today, and since I love dijon, I'm using your idead for the dressing, sounds so good. Did you serve them warmed or at room temp?

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            They were still warm when I served them, but I'm sure they'd be fine room temp as well. I'm eating the leftovers for lunch today, straight from the fridge :-)

                        2. First time working with beet greens... washed them and stripped the leaves off of the stalks because I'm saving them for another recipe for tonight. I suppose you could use the leaves here too though. Cut the stalks into 1/2" pieces and sauteed in a pan on low heat with butter and half an onion, left covered when I wasn't stirring. Once tender (probably 15-20 minutes later) I poured some mixed egg & milk over the top and made a quick omelet. Added swiss cheese, a sprinkle of rosemary and plenty of salt & pepper. Cooked this way, the stalks taste a bit like asparagus and have a similar slight crunch. So I guess you could call it "mock asparagus omelet"! Could probably use this in a quiche as well.

                          1. I like chard and beet stems in a quick pickle. Bring a large pot to a boil, add the stems and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, cool in an ice bath, toss with white wine or sherry vinegar, some salt, and some fresh marjoram. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

                            1. I've always done beets in a pressure cooker. I cook them 10-15 minutes at high pressure (based on size), then bring down pressure, add the greens & stalks, and return to pressure for 3 minutes. Everything comes out tender and tasty, with just a little butter.