beets, and more beets

My father and husband planted a huge long row of beets, and the other day when I was thinning them, I saved the pretty, red-tailed greens.

For my lunches, I sizzle a little butter in a skillet and throw in a few large handfuls of beety greens, salt the whole mess, and then toss it around with a fork until it’s dark green and tender. I let the greens sit, off heat, for a few more minutes while I make my quesadilla—this gives the beet roots time to soften a little more.

I make a tortilla sandwich with some kind of melting cheese and a bunch of feta, toast it, and then stuff the quesadilla with the greens.

Thanks to all the beet tails, it looks a little like I’m eating a mouse-stuffed quesadilla. Mm-mm, good beety mice!

(If that image disturbs you, chop up the greens pre-saute.)

Speaking of beets, I wrote about them for this week’s column. It’s a new recipe, so I’m posting it here, too.

Cilantro Beet Salad
Inspired by my pastor, Jennifer Davis Sensenig

This is more a formula than a recipe. It seems like a crazy amount of cilantro, and it is, but it’s all good. Trust me.

1 cup roasted (or boiled) beets, cooled and diced
½ to 1 cup chopped cilantro, stems and leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
cooked quinoa, optional
feta cheese, optional

Toss together and taste to correct seasonings.

How to Roast Beets
Trim off the stems and leaves. Scrub the beets. Put the whole beets in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 60-90 minutes or until the beets are fork tender. Cool slightly before peeling. Eat warm, with butter and salt, or refrigerate for later use.

How to Cook Quinoa
Cover 1 cup of quinoa with hot (not boiling) water and let soak for 5 minutes. Rinse and drain the quinoa several times. Both the hot soak and the rinsing help to reduce the bitterness.

Put the quinoa in a saucepan and add 1 ½ (scant) cups of water or chicken broth. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are tender.

P.S. I’ve been getting a bunch of spam, so I added the word verification back into the commenting process. If it gives you any trouble, let me know.

This same time, years previous: spaghetti with fresh herbs and fried eggs, a driving lesson


  • Margo

    oh perfect. I accidentally bought 2 bunches of cilantro (it's the heat frying my brain) and I have beets in the fridge too. perfect.

    Your lunch sounds delish, too. There's a mouse that has come back to our house last week (summer – what the heck) and I would cook him and eat him if that would mean he would be GONE.

  • Zoë

    I've been eating loads of beet greens. I realized I like them so much more than Swiss chard. I'm not going to plant that stuff again. I think I'll start growing beets just for the greens.

    • sk

      Zoe sweets, about your chard aversion, maybe it depends on how starved a person is for greens. I hold close to my bosom my stash in the freezer from last summer and hope I get to freeze more this season. A sizable dollop of that heated-in-the-skillet-with-butter stuff on my plate seems just heavenly.

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