Beets in the Summer

August 24, 2010

One of my go-to places for healthy, creative, and (usually) seasonal recipes is the New York Times “Recipes for Health” section. Last week I got together with a couple of classmates to catch up and cook dinner. We chose a recipe from the Times section that included beets and beet greens. My friends did most of the cooking and decided to add in Swiss chard for an extra nutritious boost. It’s always fun to get creative in the kitchen!

Beet and Beet Green Gratinbeet recipes
Serves: 6


  • 2 bunches beets (6 to 8), with the greens (about 2 pounds beets and 3/4 pound greens)
  • 1 bunch Swiss or rainbow chard (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped chives (1 bunch)
  • 2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Roast the beets. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then cut the ends off, slip off the skins and slice across the equator.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem and wash the beet greens and/or chard in two changes of water. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the pot of water comes to a boil, salt generously and blanch the greens for about one minute. (You can also steam the greens until they wilt, one to two minutes). Transfer the greens to the ice water, then drain and squeeze out the water. Chop coarsely.
  3. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet, and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in the greens. Stir together for a minute, season the greens with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish with olive oil. Beat together eggs, salt (about 1/2 teaspoon), pepper, milk, chives and the Gruyère. Gently stir in the greens and beets. Scrape into the gratin dish. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until set and lightly browned on the top. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Nutritional Information per serving (from NYT): 167 calories, 8 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 10 grams protein, 290 milligrams sodium.

The dish was delicious and my friends told me that the leftovers were even better cold the next day for breakfast! I can’t wait to try the chilled version.

Nutrition Note: Beets are a great source of magnesium, potassium, and folate, and their greens are rich in iron, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Most people throw away the beet greens, but they are actually a nutritious and delicious vegetable that tastes great added to a salad or simple stir-fry.

I also have to point out that when you are trying to stay on track it is so important to eat (and cook) with people who inspire healthy eating and enjoy simple, fresh foods. Finding new recipes and cooking with others has become one of my favorite social activities!

This post was written by nutritioulicious™ intern Jo Bartell

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  1. This sounds like a great recipe. I’m not a huge fan of beets (although I love beet greens) because beets always taste too sweet to me – but it sounds like the cheese in this recipe would balance out some of that sweetness.

  2. Thanks for the comments!

    crispandverdant I think beets can be very sweet sometimes too depending on how they are prepared. This is definitely more of a savory preparation than some other ways beets are used!

    Alysa, I hope you get some beets soon! There’s still time!