Everyday Superfoods – Beet Greens ( Plus Beet Pesto Recipe)

My student guest blogger Leigh is at it again with another entry in her Everyday Superfoods series. Last time Leigh talked about beets, but this time she is going to tell us what to do with the rest of the beet plant – specifically the beet greens. 

Everyday Superfoods – Beet Greens 

Beet greens are often a new food for people, but new is good when it comes to vegetables.  If you haven’t tried beet greens yet, this post will convince you why you should!

Like other leafy greens, beet greens offer a wide array of nutrients. One highlight is their high amount of antioxidants – vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene – which support numerous body systems and contribute to healthy aging and a strong immune system. In addition, one cup of raw beet greens provides more than your daily requirement for Vitamin K, a nutrient that plays a key role in keeping your bones healthy.

Beet greens are affordable and easy to find. They are generally sold along with the beet root, which as you already know, is also an everyday superfood. A bunch of beets with the green tops are available at most grocery stores, costing around $3 Canadian and are often grown in Canada.

If you haven’t cooked with beet greens before, adding them to your meals can be quite simple. An easy way to prepare beet greens on their own is to sautee them. Wash and cut up the stems and leaves, put them in a pan with some oil and garlic on medium heat, and sautee them until tender, making a perfect side dish.

Another way to prepare beet greens is in a pesto. This recipe for beet green & sunflower seed pesto offers a well-balanced, simple dinner idea: sunflower seeds provide protein and healthy fats, while the beet greens add an extra nutritional punch.

Beet Green & Sunflower Seed Pesto 

  • 1 cup dry roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 4 cups lightly packed beet greens, thoroughly washed and stems removed
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • ¾ tsp teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, if you like spice)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pasta, your preference


1. In a food processor set to high, pulse together sunflower seeds and garlic cloves for about 30 seconds, until garlic is minced. Add beet greens, olive oil and seasonings. Pulse for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until desired consistency is reached.

2. Cook pasta according to directions. Once pasta is cooked and drained, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add pesto in desired amount for pasta and mix. 

3. Garnish with your favourite cheese, if desired. Serve and enjoy!

4. Leftover pesto will keep in the fridge up to 5 days. Pesto can also be used as a spread for sandwiches, a sauce for pizza, or a tasty dip for crackers and veggies.

Hope you guys enjoyed another awesome article and recipe from Leigh!

Until next time, Eat Up!


Andy De Santis RD MPH