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Sautéed Beet Greens

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Our sautéed beet greens recipe will force you to rethink tossing those lovely red stems next time you have fresh beets in hand! This is a nutritious and tasty side dish, and the flavor of the beet greens is enhanced even more by our additions of garlic, lemon juice and crispy bacon bits!

Have you ever wondered what to do with beet greens? Don’t you love a recipe that also has a “zero waste” factor? Sautéed beet greens are just that, incredibly good for you, and DELICIOUS, too.

Overhead view of a dish of sautéed beet greens and crisp bacon bits.
This is a quick, easy and healthy side dish!

If you’ve never tried sautéed beet greens, think of the flavor as similar to Swiss chard.

what do beet greens taste like?

Are beet greens bitter? Since beet greens are dark and leafy, their flavor can sometimes taste slightly bitter and earthy. However, beet greens are a little sweeter than other hardy greens and the ingredients in our recipe make this dish the perfect combination of complementary flavors. If you like this recipe, I’m sure you will also like our wilted greens with bacon.

how to make sautéed beet greens

Our sautéed beet greens recipe only requires six ingredients and comes together in no time at all (if you ask me, that’s the recipe for EVERY perfect side ? )! After you make these beet greens try making our sauteed rosemary lemon beets or some simple roasted beets.

Beet greens being prepped on cutting board, dish of cut stems and whole beets in background

Here’s what you need to make them:

  • Fresh beets with their greens
  • Bacon slices, thick-cut
  • Reserved bacon fat
  • Garlic, minced or grated
  • Salt, and pepper
  • Fresh lemon

The process for making the sautéed beet greens is so simple! Here’s how it’s done (but be sure to check out the full recipe at the bottom of the page for ALL the details):

  1. Prep the beet greens – Remove the beet stems, rinse them, and cut the leaves (greens) from the stems. Chop both the stems and the greens and place them each in separate dishes.
  2. Sauté the bacon – Cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces and brown it in a skillet until crisp. Remove from heat with a slotted spoon.
  3. Sauté the stems – Cook the beet stems in the bacon fat until they’re tender. Stir in the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the beet greens – Add the beet greens to the sauté mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss while cooking for 2-3 minutes or until tender.
  5. Add lemon, bacon, and serve – Transfer the beet greens to a serving dish and squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle on the bacon bits and serve!
Skillet of sautéed beet stems

recipes notes and tips

For the best sautéed beet greens, here are a few tips:

  • The bacon will be easier to cut if you place single slices on parchment paper and set them in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse the greens and stems under cold water and then dry them off as much as you can with paper towels or a clean towel.
  • When cooking beet greens, remove the skillet from the heat when the greens are slightly tender but still bright in color. They’ll continue to cook in the pan.
  • Since the thicker stems take longer to cook, they need to be sautéed a bit before adding the tender leafy greens.
skillet of beet greens

Are beet greens good for you?

Just like beets are considered to be a superfood, beet greens are just as good for you! They’re packed with vitamins and nutrients, antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory (and even anti-cancer) properties. They’re also low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, but high in fiber, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

It’s nice to have an easy and healthy dish in your back pocket, and this sautéed beet greens recipe is pretty delicious, too. Eating your veggies never tasted better! We hope you agree. 😉

Close up view of side dish of beet greens with bacon bits. Spoon and lemon in background


  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots: These bright and colorful roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots are a simple and delicious side dish for any meal. Sweet carrots and savory Brussels sprouts combine with salty bacon, soy, and honey. Yum!
  • Roasted Asparagus with Curry Sauce: This nutritious side dish is a quick 5-minute roast in a hot oven. The make-ahead creamy curry sauce has low-fat mayo and no-fat Greek yogurt. Curry-dusted cashews top off this great side dish.
  • Roasted Cauliflower Steaks: Roasted cauliflower steaks are perfect for a Meatless Monday Meal! With crisp roasted edges and a rich garlic butter flavor, our easy sheet pan roasted entrée is wonderful with the fresh taste of a chimichurri sauce.


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Close up view of side dish of beet greens with bacon bits. Spoon and lemon in background

Sautéed Beet Greens

These Sautéed Beet Greens are a nutritious and delicious side dish!  Their earthy flavor is complimented with garlic, lemon juice and crisp bacon bits.
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 2-3 pounds fresh beets with their greens
  • 4 bacon slices thick cut
  • 2 tablespoons reserved bacon fat
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 fresh lemon


  • Rinse the beets under cold running water then cut the beets from the stems.  Set the beets aside to use for another purpose.
  • Cut the stems in 2-inch pieces, place in a dish and reserve.  Chop the beet greens and place them in a separate bowl.
  • Stack the bacon strips together and slice lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.  Place the bacon bits in a cold, large skillet.  Turn the heat to low and allow the bacon to brown and crisp up, stirring occasionally.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate and reserve.  
  • Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.  Transfer the dish of cut stems to the bacon fat and sauté over medium heat until they are tender but still firm to the bite, about 4 minutes.   Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the prepared beet greens, sprinkle with salt/pepper and toss while sautéing for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Do not overcook.  Transfer the beets to a serving dish, squeeze lemon juice over the top and garnish with the reserved bacon bits.
  • The greens should still have a bright color, they will continue to cook from residual heat after being transferred to a dish


  • When cooking beet greens, less is more. Cook just until lightly tender.
  • Place the bacon in single slices on parchment paper and set in the freezer for 15 minutes and they will be much easier to cut.
  • Rinse the greens and stems under cold water then blot them as dry as possible with an absorbent kitchen towel.
  • The thicker stems will take longer to cook to a tenderness and should be sautéed a bit before adding the tender leafy greens.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat when the greens are tender but still bright in color. They will continue to cook by residual heat and become darker in color.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 531mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 19g

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating


Monday 18th of May 2020

Anything with bacon has got to be DELICIOUS!

Dahn Boquist

Tuesday 19th of May 2020

I agree!!

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