In the organic farmer’s market, I can find fresh, tender beets for my recipes from the end of October until June. Actually, the producer from whom I buy the beets often gives me for free a bag filled with beet greens that some customers asked her to take off the beets they’ve purchased, as they only wanted the beetroots. Although I am always very happy with this gift, at the same time I wonder why such a nutritious fresh produce, that can be used in many delicious recipes, may seem to some useless.
The truth is that, at least in Greece, beet greens are rarely used in recipes, although they comprise an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. However, due to their high phytic acid content, it is advisable to prepare them properly before consumption, in order to improve their taste and the bioavailability of several nutrients. Of course when I say “properly” I don’t imply that there is need to do something complicated. You just have to cook them for a few minutes in boiling water to enjoy the maximum of their benefits and taste, either as a salad or as a component of a slightly more complex recipe such as this delicious «risotto».
The recipe can be made with buckwheat or rice (or even quinoa) according to your taste. In any case this recipe is very tasty, easy and ideal for a quick, nutritious meal.
- 400 g of tender beet greens blanched, drained and coarsely chopped (see note)
- 1 cup dry buckwheat
- 1 medium-sized beetroot boiled, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 leeks sliced
- 1 cup tomato cut into cubes
- ½ cup chopped dill
- ½ cup white or red wine
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1tsp red chili flakes (if you like spicy flavors)
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- In a large saucepan add the oil and sauté the leeks for 2-3 minutes until translucent, over medium heat.
- Rinse the buckwheat and add into the pan. Stir and add the wine and the rest of the ingredients apart from the lemon juice. When the food comes to boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Shortly before turning of the heat add the lemon juice and stir. Taste and serve immediately.
Note: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the beet greens, and cook uncovered until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and once the greens are cold, drain well, and coarsely chop.