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Celebrating the Birthday of the Beetroot (and Her Greens!)

A little part of me feels sad when I see all those beetroots with their tops removed. Did you know that beetroots were originally cultivated in Ancient Egypt BECAUSE of their greens? The actual beet was more of an afterthought. That is why us Australians, and many other countries, refer to “beets” as beetroot – referring to the root, rather than the vague term “beets”, which refer to the whole vegetable, greens and all, I suppose.

I prefer to leave an inch of the stem on my beets because it looks so pretty. One thing I love about this recipe is that it lets me use every single part of this vegetable.
I prefer to leave an inch of the stem on my beets because it looks so pretty. One thing I love about this recipe is that it lets me use every single part of this vegetable.

So, here’s a recipe, right in time for Tu Bishvat, the birthday of the trees – to honour the beet – root and greens. Here is what you need:

  • 2-3 bunches of small beets with gorgeous and fresh greens attached  (for a visually eclectic and pretty salad try for red, golden and chioggia beets)
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • ¾ cup toasted walnuts, crumbled or shelled hazelnuts, chopped

The star of this salad is certainly the beets, but feel free to add some or all of these ingredients below:

  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup good quality kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ red onion, sliced and marinated in red wine vinegar for 15 minutes or more
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Pomegranate/Silan dressing

  • 2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses or silan (date honey)
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar (feel free to use the red wine vinegar from the onions)
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 grinds pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper. Separate the tops from the beets leaving about 1.5 inches of the stem. Clean and peel the beetroots and slice them into quarters, right through the roots and remaining stems. In a mixing bowl, toss the grapeseed oil and the beets (if you’re using gold and red beets, keep them totally separate so the golden colour stays golden). Roast for about 25 minutes, but check them every ten minutes, until they are tender but with some resistance and a bit of bite.

To serve, take a bunch of the beet greens, roll them up and slice thinly (or chiffonade). When the beets have cooled to room temperature, toss all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Combine all the dressing ingredients into jar or well sealed container and give it a good shake. Pour some of it over the salad, and leave some to spare. You want just enough to coat the vegetables, rather than take them swimming in dressing. I purposely got you to make extra dressing so you can use it for another salad and stop buying that crappy bottled stuff! Toss the salad well and serve at room temperature.

Chef’s tip: To skin hazelnuts easily, right after roasting, transfer all the nuts to a clean kitchen towel and wrap well. Rub the nuts through the towel for a minute or so, you should feel the skins come off. Open the towel and remove the nuts with loose open fingers, so most of the brown skins stay on the towel.

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Savory Garlic Greens – Kale

If you are looking for a nutritional bang for your buck, kale is where it’s at! This beautiful winter-hardy vegetable is currently in season, and it’s one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can eat! There are many different ways to enjoy kale, but here I will share with you my go-to recipe for delicious and savory dark-leafy greens.


A one-cup serving of kale provides 180 percent of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for Vitamin A, 200 percent for Vitamin C, 1,020 percent RDA for Vitamin K, as well as 5 grams of fiber- with only 36 calories and 0 grams of fat! Per calorie, mineral-rich kale has more iron content than beef, and more calcium than milk. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination with its high fiber content. It’s also high in antioxidants, folate and magnesium. Kale even contains omega-3 fatty acids (10% RDA in a 1 cup serving)! It’s really worth the effort to add this great-tasting and nutrient-rich vegetable to your diet!

Here’s what you will need to cook up some savory garlic greens:

  • 1 big bunch of kale (or any dark leafy greens of your choice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tsp tamari soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp 
olive oil

Directions: wash greens well and check for any bugs. De-stem the greens, then chop the leaves into thin strips. Coarsely chop the garlic, then coat your frying pan with olive oil and turn onto medium high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is just starting to brown, about 1 minute. Add in the greens and sprinkle the tamari on top, then stir to coat the greens with the olive oil and tamari. Sauté on medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the greens have wilted, then cover and turn off the heat. Let the greens sit in the hot pan covered for 3-5 minutes. Even with the heat turned off, the greens will continue to steam and become more tender if left covered. These savory greens make a great side dish for most meals, and can be served over basmati rice or any whole grain of your choice.

Yield: 3-4 servings

I hope you enjoy your greens!

Do you want more ideas? See this current thread where Balaboostas members share their favorite kale recipes. They include soups, salads, and even kale chips! Yum.