Summer Fest 2009: Beans and Greens Week


No, your eyes are not deceiving you and no, my calender is just fine, thankyouverymuch. This is Week 3 of Summer Fest and it’s all about Greens & Beans. So what on earth are root veggies doing here? I’m so glad you asked!

summerfest-badgeNow I’m sure our wonderful and delightful creator, Margaret Roach, will eventually make her way to a week of Root Vegetables like Turnips and Rutabagas but beets do grow year round and I couldn’t help myself with this recipe that just screams fall to me. I couldn’t wait for one of my all time favorite things to eat which just happen to be only part of the story here.

I love beets. Pickled beets, roasted beets, beet slaw, borscht, juiced beets, you catch my drift? And to me the best thing about beets happens to be the greens attached to those crimson, strain-your-hands-and-fingertip beets.  And since beets are growing and I always seem to walk away with a bunch when I visit our best friends Todd & Diane I’ve been able to indulge myself with the sauteed greens on a regular basis, not to mention those delicious oven-roasted beets.

Preparing beet greens is very similar to other sturdy leafy greens like mustard and dandelion greens. Rinse well, cook low and slow so that the heat can break down the leaves, leaving them soft and silky. I’m not one to enjoy overlooked mushy greens (think blah! bland! spinach!) so I always keep an eye on my beet greens and chards but I’ve noticed it’s ok to err on the side of time. Underdone and they just seem too bitter for me.

This recipe originally appeared during my guest stint on Design*Sponge. If I had to pick 5 of my all time recipe favorites this would certainly be on the list. It’s high adaptable, can be made with pancetta or bacon (or not!), and can even be made completely vegan. I would probably eat this everyday if I had my druthers.


Sauteed Beet Greens with Pancetta & Sundried Tomatoes

1 pound beet greens
1 1/4 inch slice of pancetta, diced into small cubes
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 large garlic clove, minced

3/4 cup of water
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of cider vinegar, or to taste

After removing the beets, wash the greens in cold water. Drain and repeat until all the grit and dirt is gone. Remove the long stems and chop into half-inch pieces and set aside. Tear or cut the leaves into 2-inch pieces and set aside.

In a large saucepan, cook the diced pancetta over medium heat until brown and then remove from pan. Saute the beet stems in the pancetta grease until slightly tender and then add the shallots and dried tomatoes. Cook for another 2 minutes, stir in the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Returned the cooked pancetta to the pan and then add water and scrape up any bits left in the pan. Stir in the pepper flakes, add sugar and cook until boiling. Reduce heat and add the remaining greens and cover and simmer for about 8 minutes. Splash with vinegar and serve over polenta. I’m leaving that part up to you, but I always add a generous serving of mascarpone to mine.


Summer Fest Green and Beans Posts from your hosts:

No wasting allowed! A delicious summer salad recipe from White On Rice Couple

Margaret from the House Of A Way To Garden is scoring 10’s across the board with her Beans & Greens fierce realness! (if anyone gets my Paris Is Burning reference here then you win a very special prize)

Jaden’s delicious stir-fry is making me hungry right now

Sometimes with Farrah Hair, wings and all, and sometimes not: Shauna Shows Us Salad



Summer Fest 2009 is a four-week, cross-blog celebration co-created (alphabetically listed) by A Way to Garden, Matt Armendariz of Mattbites, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, and Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple, with guest appearances from Shauna and Daniel Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done’s Marilyn Pollack Naron, and Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project.  And from you—that’s critical. Your contributions are desired, and needed.

THE 2009 SCHEDULE (next week is the finale!)

  • Tuesday, August 18: TOMATO WEEK. How do you like them love apples?


So now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip that fits any of our weekly themes? Starting Tuesday July 28, you can contribute in various ways, big or small. It’s up to you: Contribute a whole post, a comment—whatever you wish. It’s meant to be fun, viral, fluid. No pressure, just delicious. The possibilities:

Simply leave your tip or recipe or favorite links in the comments below a Summer Fest post on Margaret’s blog at A Way To Garden, and then go visit the collaborators and do the same.

The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or favorite links (whether to your own blog or someone else’s) at all the host blogs. That way, they are likely to be seen by the widest audience. Everyone benefits, and some pretty great dialog starts simmering.

Or think bigger: Publish entire entire posts of your own, if you wish, and grab the juicy Summer Fest 2009 tomato badge (illustrated by Matt Armendariz of Mattbites).

Get in on the fun: Come comment, link to things from your own archives or the archives of your favorite blogs, post entire recipe in comments or on your blog.


  1. says

    I’m not a beet fan, but don’t mind the greens. And this recipe looks wonderful. Since the markets here don’t sell just the greens I’ll either have to learn to like beets (unlikely at this stage) or buy the whole bunch and give the roots to a beet-loving neighbour.

    I focused on the “green” part of this week’s celebrations and made zucchini bisque. Ironically, it looks more like guacamole.

  2. says

    I love Summer Fest – and I love beets. Tops and Bottoms. I especially like the idea of serving these greens on polenta, but I have to wonder about that penultimate direction. Eight, and in 8 minutes!?

  3. says

    Matt, your beet green look amazing and we love polenta. I will certainly keep this recipe in mind when the temperatures cool here in Umbria and I feel like eating polenta again.

    I recently made a rustic tart using bietola (swiss chard) you can find here at
    As for beans, I am not sure if we are talking the same kind of beans, but here is a delicious borlotti bean soup I made recently at


  4. says

    I’m crazy for beet greens as well (I love them cooked like you did above but tossed with pasta, pistachios, and goat cheese!)

    Back in February, when I found myself drowning in the San Francisco Fog, I made a Fava Bean Stew with Arugula and Meyer Lemon (Beans and Greens!). It was simple, hearty, warming, and utterly satisfying – just what I needed. You can view the recipe and photo here:

  5. says

    I’ll have to give this a try. My husband hates beets so I have to eat all the beets and beet greens we’re getting in our CSA. I just roasted my own tomatoes last night so I think they’ll be delicious in this!
    I’ve been trying all kinds of greens that I’ve never had before through our CSA. Our first week we got 4 shopping bags full of 8 different greens and I was a little overwhelmed. I began playing with dressings and came up with a tasty buttermilk dressing and some beautiful lacy parmesan bowls.
    But my absolute favorite new recipe for greens is swiss chard and goat cheese soup. I’ve been making it by the gallon and freezing it for winter!

  6. says

    OK, you convinced me. This fall I will plant some beets. Right now, everything is crispy in Texas. So, here is a crispy recipe. Kale Chips. Cut off the leaves of a large bunch of Kale, discard the stems. Tear into pieces, wash and dry thoroughly. Spread the Kale on a cookie sheet and drizzle or spray with olive oil. Sprinkle on Kosher salt and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes.

  7. says

    Definitely will have to try your beet greens recipe this fall when beets show up again in our CSA box! Here’s our favorite way to have green beans – with toasted almonds and lemon:

    Green Beans

    and for the ONLY way my kids (and husband!) will eat kale:

    Kale Chips

  8. says

    I love sneaking meat (here, pancetta) into greens! These look fantastic – another wonderful, delicious, easy offering for Summer Fest. Thanks Matt, I’m ringing the dinner bell for you!

  9. says

    hi matt! i am excited to finally have a new recipe that fits in with a summer fest theme!

    i just put up a post this week singing the praises of wild arugula. but any arugula will work in the recipe i’m contributing this week to summerfest:
    arugula, celery and chevre salad

    and i love your pick for this week. beet greens are one of the few tops that i can regularly find in good condition so i love to cook them up.

  10. says

    My mom always made pickled beets with hard boiled eggs in a huge jar. im a big fan!
    i went with the beans theme this week for summerfest . you probably dont have pinto beans growing in your garden, but …..YOU SAID BEANS!!
    Matt- you probably already know how to make these!

  11. says

    do you ever sell your prints? i’ve been taking photos of vegetables to hang in our new kitchen (when the house is built. in two years. but whatev.), and come to find out, beets are my favorite model. your photo is simply stunning, with the depth of the color plus that crackled black bin. wow. makes my “beets-on-celery-green-gingham” seem so twee. if you sell prints, i’d love to know how much you’d charge for that puppy in, say, 8×10 (or 8×12 full crop). thanks!

  12. says

    I love beet greens too. I was at the grocery store the other day and watched a lady grab a bunch of beets, twist the tops, and throw all the lovely beet greens in the TRASH!! I wanted to run up to her and say, “You can eat those, you know”, but my boyfriend restrained me. My next impulse was to rescue them from the trash, but I wasn’t sure how I would explain that at the checkout…


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