Beet Greens Chimichurri
Beet Greens Chimichurri is an excellent way to recover food waste! This recipe uses beet leaves instead of parsley in a traditional chimichurri recipe.
Do you toss beet tops? Most people don't realize they are a deliciously edible green and throw them out without realizing their versatility in sauces, salads, and soups.
Beet tops are a great substitution for herbs like parsley or basil in traditional sauces, like this chimichurri. In fact, we’ve used beet greens in pesto and even sautéed beet leaves with garlic and red pepper as a delicious side dish. The beet top possibilities are endless!
Ready to learn how to reduce food waste AND make a delicious drizzling sauce? Let’s do it!
🌿 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step one: Finely chop ingredients and mix together in a bowl
The first step to making beet greens chimichurri is to prepare the ingredients. Chop the washed beet tops, garlic, and chilis until they’re very small. Because we’re not using a food processor or blender to make this chimichurri, we want to ensure all ingredient pieces are uniformly minced.
Next, add the chopped beet tops, garlic, and chilis to a medium mixing bowl then add in the dried oregano, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Stir to combine.
2️⃣ Step Two: Add salt and pepper to taste
Next, add the salt and pepper. Estimated amounts of salt (1 teaspoon) and black pepper (½ teaspoon) are provided in the recipe card below, but because each person’s salt sensitivity is different, we recommend adding them slowly and taste testing until you get the perfect amount.
We want the salt to enhance the herbs and spice flavor, not overpower them. The taste of added salt will also get stronger as the sauce sits, so add a small amount and add more later if needed.
3️⃣ Step Three: Let sauce rest to enhance the flavor
The final step to making chimichurri is to do nothing — or rather, let the sauce sit so the ingredients combine and release their flavors. We recommend a minimum of 10 minutes, but for best results try making the chimichurri 30 minutes before serving.
4️⃣ Step Four: Serve and enjoy!
Serve on top of roasted vegetables, plant-based burgers or sausages, mix into soups and stews, or as a dipping sauce for bread or raw veggies. Chimichurri can also be used as a marinade for vegetables that are roasted in the oven or grilled.
🥣 Storing + freezing chimichurri
If you're prepping chimichurri ahead, here are our recommendations for storing and freezing:
Store at room temperature for 4 hours: If you’re serving chimichurri within 4 hours, then it's fine to be covered and stored at room temperature.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days: If you’re serving the sauce later or have leftovers that will be eaten within three days, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Store in the freezer for up to one month: Freeze any leftover chimichurri in an airtight container for up to three months. When you're ready to eat, simply remove the container from the freezer and let thaw on the counter for 1-2 hours and then you're ready to enjoy.
❓ Questions + quick tips
Beet tops are edible, in fact they’re delicious! They are safe to eat and are not a poisonous vegetable. They do have a slightly bitter taste, so they are best paired with flavorful ingredients to cut the bite. The stems of beets can be tough, so we recommend only using the softest parts of the stems that are below the greens.
Beet tops are a sturdy and slightly bitter green that is perfect for mixed salads, wilted in soups or stews, or sprinkled on top of food as a garnish. Beet leaves are also great in sauces like pesto or chimichurri.
Beet leaves are a nutritious leafy green that are high in vitamin K, iron, and calcium. They contain less than 10 calories per serving (about 1 cup of raw chopped greens) (USDA Food Nutrient Database).
Beet tops can be frozen for up to 2-3 months, possibly longer. It’s important to wash and completely dry the greens before wrapping in a small cloth or kitchen towel and freezing in a freezer-friendly bag or container.
Traditional chimichurri sauces usually use fresh parsley and/or cilantro, but beet tops can replace one or both of these herbs for a hearty, earthy flavor.
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips + tricks
While eating beet greens is sustainable in itself since you are using food that would otherwise be wasted, there are a few tips and tricks you can learn to make this chimichurri recipe even more environmentally friendly:
👉 Take advantage of beet season! The best time to make recipes using beet greens is during the height of beet season, which happens from spring to fall (April to November) in most parts of the United States.
🍲 Save beet stems for soup broths. While beetroots (the part we know and love) and beet leaves are edible, the stems of beets are sometimes tough and bitter-tasting. We recommend cutting the hard stems a bit below the leaves and saving the stem scraps to use in things like vegetable broth.
🌱 More recipes using beet tops
Beet leaves are great in sauces, soups, or even sautéed on their own! Check out our other plant-based recipes using beet tops:
- Beet Top Pesto
- Beet Top Pesto Pasta
- Simple Sautéed Beet Leaves
- Oven Baked Beet Leaves Crisps
- Beet and Vegetable Soup with Beet Greens
- 1 cup beet tops, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 small red chilis, deseeded and finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper to taste
- Optional: cumin, paprika, or lemon juice to taste
- Add ingredients to a bowl: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chopped beet tops, dried oregano, chopped garlic, chopped chilis, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Slowly add the salt and pepper, stopping to taste test to ensure it’s not oversalted. Mix well to combine all ingredients.
- Let the sauce rest: Let the chimichurri rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before serving, but for best results make the beet top chimichurri 30 minutes ahead of serving so the flavors have time to reach their full potential.
- Serve: Serve on top of roasted vegetables, plant-based burgers or sausages, mix into soups and stews, or as a dipping sauce for bread or raw veggies. Chimichurri can also be used as a marinade for vegetables.
- Notes: We highly recommend taking the time to finely chop all ingredients and mix together in oil rather than making the chimichurri in a food processor or blender. Traditional chimichurri is a looser consistency, with small bits of herb, garlic, and spices suspended in oil — not a thick herb sauce like you would get when blended. If you are using a blender, simply pulse the dry ingredients and then add to oil after to get the right consistency.
- Tools Needed: kitchen knife set, glass mixing bowls
- Prep Ahead and Storage: Make the chimichurri up to 3 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature. You can freeze chimichurri for up to one month, possibly more.
- Nutrition notes: Chimichurri nutrition information is estimated without optional ingredients.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 776mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 10g