Can you eat raw beetroot leaves?

Beetroot leaves are the leafy greens attached to the beetroot bulb. While the beetroot itself is a popular vegetable, the leaves are often removed and discarded. However, beet leaves are not only edible but highly nutritious. Eating beet leaves provides many health benefits making them well worth using.

Are beet leaves edible?

Yes, beet leaves are completely edible. In fact, beet leaves have been consumed for centuries in many parts of the world. The ancient Romans used to eat beet leaves frequently. Beet leaves are common ingredients in dishes like soups, curries, and stir-fries in African, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisines. Both the leaves and stalks of the beet plant can be eaten.

Can you eat beet leaves raw?

Beet leaves can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. Eating raw beet leaves is perfectly safe. The leaves have an earthy flavor that becomes milder when cooked. The younger, smaller leaves tend to be more tender with a less bitter taste. Older leaves may be tougher and more fibrous.

When eating beet leaves raw, chop them first to make them easier to chew. Use raw young beet leaves in salads, smoothies, pesto, sandwiches, and as garnish. Grate larger raw beet leaves or use them in slaws. Fermenting raw beet leaves can also reduce any bitterness.

Are beet leaves healthy?

Beet leaves are highly nutritious, sometimes even more so than the beetroot itself. They contain significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Per 100 grams, beet leaves contain:

  • Vitamin C: 80 mg
  • Vitamin A: 68% DV
  • Vitamin K: 684 mcg
  • Folate: 218 mcg
  • Manganese: 0.5 mg
  • Potassium: 644 mg
  • Magnesium: 110 mg
  • Nitrates: More than 300 mg
  • Flavonoids: High in quercetin and kaempferol

This impressive nutrition profile provides many benefits including:

  • Powerful antioxidant activity to reduce oxidative stress and cell damage
  • Detoxification support from the glucosinolates, flavonoids, and nitrates
  • Anti-inflammatory effects to lower chronic inflammation
  • Cardiovascular benefits like improved blood flow from the nitrates and magnesium
  • Better immune function from the high vitamin C, A, and antioxidant content
  • Brain boosting benefits from improved blood flow and anti-inflammatory effects

The many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in beet leaves offer protection against a variety of chronic diseases and conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, autoimmune disorders, and some types of cancer like prostate, breast, and colon cancer.

Are beet greens safe to eat in large amounts?

Beet leaves can be safely eaten regularly and in large quantities. They are considered very safe with no known toxicity or adverse effects, even when eaten daily in generous amounts. Individuals who are prone to kidney stones may want to avoid overindulging in beet leaves because of their oxalate content.

Due to their dense nutrition, beet leaves are actually one of the most nutritious and health-protective plant foods you can eat. The only downside to eating large quantities of raw beet leaves is they may cause temporary digestive upset in sensitive people unaccustomed to so many nutrients and fiber. Introduce them gradually.

Do beet leaves contain oxalates?

Yes, beet leaves do contain measurable amounts of oxalates. Per 100 grams, beet leaves contain approximately 500 mg of oxalates. For comparison:

  • Spinach contains 750 mg oxalates per 100 grams
  • Almonds contain 100-500 mg per 100 grams
  • Rhubarb contains 550-660 mg per 100 grams

Oxalates are antinutrients that can bind to calcium and other minerals, preventing absorption. High oxalate foods can be an issue for those prone to kidney stones. For most people eating a varied diet, the oxalates in beet leaves should not pose a problem.

Do you need to cook beet leaves?

No, you do not need to cook beet leaves to make them safe or edible. Cooking simply softens the leaves, concentrates the nutrients, and brings out certain flavors. Raw beet leaves provide the most nutrition and enzymes. Lightly cooking or steaming beet leaves can ease digestion and reduce bitter flavors.

Young, tender beet leaves are suitable for eating raw in salads and smoothies. Larger or older beet leaves can be blanched or sauteed to soften their texture. Fermenting raw beet leaves in kimchi, pickles, and juices can also make them easier to digest.

Can dogs eat beet leaves?

Yes, beet leaves are safe and nutritious for dogs to eat. Their high fiber content aids canine digestion while the nutrients support whole body health. Feed dogs both raw and cooked beet leaves in moderation. Introduce new foods slowly in case of gastrointestinal upset.

Beets leaves provide vitamins, minerals, and protective plant compounds lacking in commercial dog foods. They are also low in calories. Chop leaves and mix a small handful into your dog’s meals a couple times a week. Avoid seasoning with anything toxic to dogs like onions or garlic.

Do beet leaves taste good?

Beet leaves have an earthy, somewhat bitter taste. When eaten raw, the taste is strong and grassy with a touch of bitterness. Cooking mellows out the flavor. Young and small beet leaves tend to be more palatable with a milder taste.

Pairing raw beet leaves with sweet fruits and vegetables helps balance their strong flavor in salads. Balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, nuts, and seeds also complement beet greens. Smoothies mask any bitter notes.

When cooked, beet leaves take on a richer, more spinach-like taste. Sauteeing with olive oil reduces any metallic flavor. They work well in recipes like frittatas, pasta dishes, risottos, soups, and curries. Pickled beet leaves have sour, tangy notes.

What’s the best way to use beet leaves?

Some of the best ways to use beet leaves include:

  • Raw in salads, slaws, sandwiches
  • Sauteed or braised as a side dish
  • Pureed into pesto or dips
  • Juiced or blended into smoothies
  • Simmered into soups, stews, and broths
  • Pickled and fermented
  • Stir-fried or added to curries and Asian noodle dishes
  • Steamed then mixed into frittatas, omelets, and quiches
  • Boiled into a pot of grains like rice, farro, or quinoa

Both the roots and the leaves can be used together in recipes. Try sauteeing beet greens in coconut oil then topping roasted beets with the greens for extra flavor and nutrition.

Can you substitute beet greens for other greens?

Yes, beet greens can substitute for spinach, chard, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, and other leafy greens in recipes. Their texture and taste is closest to chard or spinach.

Because of their strong flavor when raw, start by replacing only half the greens first. If using mature beet leaves, chop them finely or add them to cooked dishes instead of raw salads.

Sauteed beet greens pair particularly well with heartier cooked greens like kale or collards. They work especially well in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes accented with garlic, spices, lemon, and olive oil.

How do you store beet greens?

Beet greens are delicate and perishable. For best quality, store them as follows:

  • Fresh beet greens: Refrigerate unwashed leaves in an airtight bag for up to 3-5 days. Do not wash until ready to use.
  • Pre-cut greens: Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 days maximum.
  • Blanched greens: Freeze in airtight bags or containers for 4-6 months.
  • Pickled beet leaves: Refrigerate pickles for up to 3 months.

Signs beet leaves have spoiled include wilting, dryness, discoloration, and foul odors. Compost them if they are past their prime.

Can you freeze beet greens?

Yes, beet greens freeze very well for long-term storage. Blanch them first to stop the enzyme action that causes loss of flavor and texture. To blanch:

  1. Wash and trim beet leaves.
  2. Immerse in boiling water for 1-2 minutes until just wilted.
  3. Plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  4. Drain, pat dry, and pack into airtight bags or containers.
  5. Freeze for up to 6 months.

Frozen beet greens are great added to soups, stews, sautées. They will be soft and better for cooked dishes rather than raw ones after thawing.

Can you juice beet leaves?

Yes, beet leaves juice very well. They make a nutritious addition to all kinds of vegetable juices and green smoothies. Beet leaves contain more iron than spinach and lots of detoxifying phytonutrients.

Use younger, smaller beet leaves for juicing. Greens with large stems or ribs should be avoided. Combine beet leaves with fruits like apples, berries, citrus as well as carrots, cucumber, ginger root, parsley or celery.

The earthy taste of beet leaves blends into juices nicely while boosting nutrition. Juice them raw to get the most benefits.

Here is a green juice recipe with beet greens:


  • 1 cup beet greens
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1-inch ginger
  • 1 lemon, peeled


  1. Wash all ingredients well.
  2. Cut apple and lemon into chunks.
  3. Run all ingredients through a juicer.
  4. Stir or shake juice to combine.
  5. Drink immediately for best quality.


Beet leaves offer a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting compounds. Both the roots and greens of beets provide incredible health benefits and nutrition. While beetroot has become popular, many people throw away the nutritious leaves.

Eating more beet greens is an easy way to boost your nutrition and overall wellbeing. They can be eaten raw or cooked and provide great flavor and texture to recipes. Including beet greens gives you double the nutritional bang for your buck.

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