Save Something from Landfill Day

As one commenter pointed out, today is 2/22 (thanks, Mami), which cries to be a special day on this tiny sliver of the web. Maybe when the 222 million tons Facebook “likes” swell to numbers well beyond the current 11, I’ll have the clout to lobby for February 22 to become International Save Something from Landfill Day. Until then, I’ll just have to try making a small dent in the problem by sharing observations like this one: beet leaves and stems are tasty.

Beet green linguine

They’re often overlooked for the same reason that watermelon rind is; they live next to a real attention grabber – in this case beets. But beet leaves are tender and flavorful, and their stems are red, crisp, and have just a hint of beet flavor. Unlike beets, they don’t overwhelm, but they do add color and character to salads and other dishes.

Our most recent experiment with beets greens was a linguine with beet greens, which was good enough to share here.

Linguine with beet greens (serves 1)

Ingredients

Linguine with beet greens

  • 2 oz linguine
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic
  • ¼ onion
  • 5 button or crimini mushrooms
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes (the ones packed in oil)
  • 1 tsp oil from sun dried tomatoes
  • 10 oz beet leaves with stems
  • 1 pinch salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp dried chili flakes, or to taste
  • ½ oz crumbled goat cheese

Directions

  • Fill a pot with water, and bring it to a boil.
  • You’ll be lightly sautéing the vegetables for this dish, and don’t want things to over cook while you’re busy practicing your knife skills or hunting for spices, so it’s best to do all the slicing and dicing up front. So, as the water comes to a boil:
    • Crush the garlic.
    • Slice the onion.
    • Clean and quarter the mushrooms.
    • Slice the sun dried tomatoes into strips.
    • Wash the beet leaves, remove their stems, and chop them into one- or two-inch lengths.
    • Slice the beet leaves crosswise into ¼ inch strips.
    • Crumble the goat cheese.
    • Get your spices ready.
  • By now the water should be boiling, so prepare the linguine according to the package directions. While that is cooking, you can cook the vegetables.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onions and garlic for two or three minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  • Add in the mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and sun dried tomato oil, and sauté for two minutes.
  • Add in the beet leaves, and sauté until they start to wilt.
  • Throw in the stems, and sauté until they have imparted their color to the mushrooms and onions. Be careful not to over cook them, though, or they will become brownish and lose their crunch.
  • Remove from heat, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • By now your linguine should be ready. Plate it, and top it with the sautéed vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with chili pepper flakes and goat cheese (I did that after I took the pictures).
Fun facts
Reduction in food waste per serving 10 ounces
Reduction in food waste if every person in the developed world saves just 10 ounces of beet greens from landfill About 312,500 short tons
Weight of pig iron structure of the Eiffel Tower About 8,000 short tons
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19 thoughts on “Save Something from Landfill Day

    • They’re a lot like spinach leaves, and work well anywhere you would usually use spinach … and as I write this, it occurs to me that beet leaf soufflé might be fun to try. If that works, will definitely share the recipe.

    • Poor Daniel and Meg; I feel their pain. Maybe she just needs a few simple tips like “remove the hair from the watermelon before serving to guests.” Some people are just picky that way.

      Re the beet greens, it’s a shame. I actually prefer the stems to the roots for many things because of that subtle flavor. Perhaps a local nutritionist of note could promote their virtues, and build up demand? :)

  1. It’s really true, the greens sprouting from the tops of so many vegetables are so tasty, so I will try the beet version! If it’s anything close to what’s on top of the daikon radish, it should be wonderful. I have often returned from the farmer’s market with piles of really nice daikon radish greens for FREE. I would have paid for them gladly! I point to the bucket of discarded daikon greens and the farmers insist on giving them to me. Recipe: wash, chop, stir-fry with a little oil and salt till just after wilted (around 2 minutes, and depending on maturity of leaves), serve! Add sesame seeds and/or shirasu (what I call “sprinkle fish”) to make it fancy!

    • You know, I don’t think I ever saw a daikon green the entire time I was in Japan (should have looked for markets with buckets). The farmers must think you’re a little insane for asking for them, and give you the same looks you get when you don’t drop your brown rice in the polisher.

      • Really? Daikons are often sold with the greens attached! I just became so fond of them that I needed more than what came with the one daikon.

      • I must have seen them, then, I guess – though, now that I think of it, our local market sold them chopped in two, greenless, and those were the ones I bought. Maybe they had whole ones as well, but a whole daikon in a week was a bit much to get through. I’ll have to check out the local Japanese markets (LA has quite a few) and see if I can find some daikon greens there.

  2. It never occurred to me to cook with them. We eat the leaves (not the stems) in our mixed salads which we eat daily. We’ve just about gone through our “swing’s” yield, with the exception of the beet greens since they were so prolific for just 10 roots. Your success rate so far is 1:1 (carrot tops in salads and soups). Keep ’em coming. I’ll be your test kitchen!

    • BTW…I see that you dropped WordPress in your address. Looks like you’re getting serious on me! Keep up what you do and in no time your readership will have increased by 1000%. You’ve hit on something here. I for one am a huge fan, J-F. Looking forward to your next juicy post.

      • Thanks so much, Shannon. This means a lot coming from you, because as I’ve said before, you are my hero. If everyone had your lifestyle, there wouldn’t be an issue.

    • I’m new to American ways, but I think that if you sign on as my test kitchen, I may need to get you to sign a liability waiver. :o)

      • No waiver needed. That was delicious!! Just ate it for dinner…kids gobbled it up too. I used bella mushrooms (it’s what I had), and tossed some of the steamed beet root into it as well.(small, cubed). We brought back goat cheese from the farm today, which was too much fun in itself (see my post). That dish just rounded out a fantastic day. Thanks. :)

  3. Like Shannon I never thought to cook with them, just toss them in a salad. I’d like to post a link to this on my site. Please let me know if that is okay with you. The site is nicolebrait.com

  4. Pingback: How To Make The Most Of Your Small Space Garden « The Sustain Blog by Nicole Brait

  5. Pingback: Linguine with beet greens | Cooking Images

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