Are beet leaves edible raw?

Beet leaves are the leafy green tops of beetroot plants. While beetroots are a popular root vegetable, beet leaves are lesser known and underutilized. But beet leaves are not only edible, they are highly nutritious and delicious when consumed raw or cooked.

Can you eat raw beet leaves?

Yes, beet leaves are completely edible raw. In fact, beet leaves are often consumed raw in salads and sandwiches. The leaves have an earthy, mildly sweet flavor that pairs well with other salad ingredients.

Raw beet leaves are full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. They contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and polyphenols. Beet leaves even have more iron and calcium than the beetroot itself.

Here are some popular ways to enjoy raw beet leaves:

  • Chopped in green salads
  • Blended into smoothies
  • Juiced along with fruits and veggies
  • Added to wraps or sandwiches
  • Used as a garnish for soups and grains

When using raw beet leaves, moderation is key. Due to their high natural oxalate content, consuming very large quantities of raw beet leaves could potentially cause kidney stones in those predisposed to the condition. As long as you eat beet greens in moderation as part of a varied diet, they are perfectly safe to enjoy raw.

Are there any benefits to eating raw beet leaves?

Absolutely! Raw beet leaves offer many impressive health benefits:

  • High nutrient density – Beet leaves are low in calories but packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects – Compounds in beet leaves exhibit anti-inflammatory activity which may help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Supports detoxification – Certain antioxidants boost Phase II liver detoxification to help eliminate toxins.
  • Boosts energy – With B vitamins and plant-based iron, beet leaves enhance energy levels naturally.
  • Supports heart health – Beet leaves contain nutrients that help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
  • Aids digestion – The fiber content promotes healthy digestion and improves gut microbiota.

Additionally, research shows that processing and cooking can reduce the nutrient content and beneficial plant compounds in beet leaves. So by consuming them raw, you get the most nutritional bang for your buck.

Do you need to wash beet leaves before eating them raw?

Yes, you should always wash produce thoroughly before eating, including beet leaves. Give them a good rinse under fresh cool water, even if they look clean. This will remove any dirt or debris.

You can also soak the leaves in cold water for 5-10 minutes to help remove any grittiness. Dry the leaves well before using them raw, perhaps with a salad spinner. Proper washing helps ensure raw beet leaves are safe to consume.

What’s the best way to store raw beet leaves?

To best preserve freshness and nutrients, follow these beet leaf storage tips:

  • Refrigerate in a plastic bag – Unwashed leaves keep for 3-5 days, washed leaves 1-2 days
  • You can also store chopped leaves in an airtight container
  • Wrap leaves in a damp paper towel inside a plastic bag
  • Don’t wash leaves until ready to eat as moisture speeds decay
  • Utilize leaves as soon as possible for maximum freshness and nutrient content

With proper refrigeration, you can enjoy raw beet leaves for up to a week before they start to lose freshness. For long-term storage, beet leaves can be blanched and frozen for later use in cooked dishes.

What parts of the beet leaf plant can you eat raw?

Both the leafy greens and the slender stems of the beet plant are edible raw. The leaf blades have an earthy, chard-like taste. The stems are slightly sweeter and more tender than the leaves.

You can consume any part of the above ground beet plant raw – the leaf, the stem, even the smaller secondary leaves. The tiny young beet leaves can be eaten raw as microgreens. Older large leaves may be tougher and more bitter when raw.

Avoid eating the root bulb portion raw. While beetroots are certainly edible raw when young and tender, mature beet bulb vegetable needs to be cooked before eating. But the leafy green tops are delicious consumed completely raw in salads, juices and more.

What are some good raw beet leaf salad recipes?

Here are a few tasty salad recipes that showcase raw beet leaves:

Simple Raw Beet Leaf Salad

  • Torn raw beet leaves
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • Balsamic vinaigrette
  • Pine nuts or sunflower seeds (optional)

Toss ingredients together and top with dressing. Keeps well refrigerated.

Beet Leaf and Strawberry Spinach Salad

  • Raw beet leaves, stems removed
  • Spinach leaves
  • Sliced fresh strawberries
  • Toasted walnuts or almonds
  • Poppyseed dressing

Combine greens, strawberries and nuts. Drizzle with dressing just before serving.

Raw Beet Leaf and Carrot Slaw

  • Finely shredded raw beet leaves and stems
  • Shredded carrots
  • Chopped green onion
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Olive oil or avocado oil

Mix ingredients with lime juice and oil. Chill before serving on salad, tacos or bowls.

How to use raw beet leaves in smoothies and juices

Raw beet leaves can be blended into all kinds of delicious smoothies and juices. They add beneficial nutrients as well as earthy, vegetal flavors.

For green smoothies, use about 1 packed cup of raw beet leaves. Balance out the strong beet flavor with sweeter fruits like pineapple, mango or banana. Mellower greens like spinach also complement beet leaves.

When juicing beet leaves, a good ratio is 1 beet leaf to every 2 pieces of fruit or veggie. Apple, carrot, lemon and ginger all taste great with beet leaves. You can also add beetroot for extra earthiness.

Here are some tasty beet leaf smoothie and juice ideas:

  • Beet, carrot, apple juice
  • Beet leaves, kale, banana, pineapple smoothie
  • Beet leaves, strawberries, yogurt smoothie
  • Beet leaves, orange, ginger juice

Raw beet leaves are very versatile insmoothies and juices. Their bold flavor stands up well to sweet fruits and mellower veggies.

Potential concerns with eating raw beet leaves

While beet leaves are highly nutritious, there are a few potential downsides to consider:

  • Oxalates – Like other leafy greens, beet leaves contain moderate amounts of oxalic acid. Very high oxalate intake could potentially cause kidney stones in those predisposed.
  • Nitrates – Beet leaves have naturally-occurring nitrates. High nitrate levels may be harmful for some people, especially pregnant women.
  • Pesticides – Non-organic beet leaves may have pesticide residues when consumed raw. Opt for organic.
  • Thyroid issues – Extremely high intake of raw cruciferous vegetables may impact thyroid function in sensitive individuals.

As long as you eat beet leaves in moderation as part of a balanced diet, they can be safely enjoyed raw by most people. But check with your doctor if you have concerns.


Beet leaves can be eaten raw and offer great nutritional benefits. They have an earthy, slightly sweet flavor that works well raw in salads, smoothies and juices. While moderation is key, beet leaves are generally very healthy to consume raw. Give raw beet greens a try to add more nutrients and delicious flavor to your diet.

Leave a Comment