Beet Green Risotto ♥

Easy, delicious, supper in 3 pointsSooo many ways to cook beets, for sure! But with just six beets and their greens, I discovered the basis for three entirely delicious meals. Talk about thrifty! Talk about contradicting the idea that fresh vegetables are too expensive!)
Yesterday's salad featured the beets themselves, roasted, and was delicious. But what about those pesky greens? We know leafy greens are good for us. But what to do with them? For side dishes, it's easy. Greek Greens (where you flash-cook the greens so they'll hold for a couple of days), Greens with Mustard & Stems and my favorite, Ontario Greens (which first appeared on A Veggie Venture as Greens with Sour Cream).

But for supper, this beet green risotto is absolutely delicious. And to my taste, risotto is a perfect Friday-night supper, a bridge between the work week and the weekend. I pour a glass of wine and start to cook, stirring-stirring (but don't worry, there's time to make a salad and send someone to the grill). By the time the risotto's ready, I'm relaxed and ready to relax.

Until recently, I've always thought of risotto as 'fancy' and 'time intensive' food, something saved for special occasions. What I've learned is that once you nail the basic technique, it's extraordinarily simple and versatile. And delicious!! I've been testing risotto for an upcoming Kitchen Parade column and what you see below has become my standard 'recipe' for vegetable risottos. It worked beautifully with the ruby-colored beet stems and life-green beet greens.

Arborio is the rice usually specified for risotto. Tonight I experimented with "carnaroli rice", which Whole Foods describes, "Carnaroli rice offers a thick, rather short grain that is slightly firmer than Arborio. The darling of chefs, Carnaroli is less popular with farmers. It's harder to cultivate than other varieties, and its long, hair-like stem at the end of the stalk, called an "arista," makes harvesting difficult." At Global Foods (my neighborhood international market) it was slightly more expensive. I'm not sure I noticed a difference.

The serving size here is smaller than elsewhere. Other main-dish risotto recipes call for 2 uncooked cups of rice to serve four, a side dish serving is based on 1 cup for four servings -- HUGE servings.

My recipe calls for 1/2 cup of rice for four servings -- but always includes bulk from vegetable sources. And it's supper in just three points. (Please do not think that other risottos, especially restaurant risottos, are made in three points for they're notorious for fat amounts of butter and Parmesan.)

I find it plenty, though often it tastes so good I'm tempted to eat the pot! But to test the size on your family, think about making sure there's a big salad served alongside, or serve the risotto with grilled vegetables or meat. Still, I do hope you'll test the idea and let me know what you think.

FREE COOKBOOKS! During April, win free cookbooks at A Veggie Venture! It's all to celebrate the Alphabet of Vegetables, the brand-new A - Z of Vegetables with easy links to great vegetable recipes! Need an example? Check all the spring asparagus recipes.

TWO YEARS AGO Baked Beets Late April must be beet season!

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Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4

2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I'm happy with bouillon)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, diced small
Stems from 3 beets, trimmed and diced small
1/2 cup risotto rice (Arborio is typical)
1/2 cup white wine (or champagne, as tonight)
Salt & pepper to taste

The leaves from 3 beets, layered, rolled up into 'cigars' and then sliced very thin
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (don't skip this, adds brightness)
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated (from about two square inches, I think it's two ounces)

In a small pot, bring stock to a boil, adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer.

In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter til shimmery, stir in the onion as it's prepped, stirring to coat. Add the stems as they're prepped, stirring to coat. Cook vegetables til they're beginning to soften. Add the rice and stir to coat, let cook for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring almost continuously. Add the white wine (it should sizzle) and stir til rice absorbs the liquid. A half cup at a time, add hot stock to the rice, stirring to incorporate, letting each addition get absorbed and the rice getting almost dry before adding more. (Stir very regularly during this process. You'll have time to make a salad, etc, just stay close to the stove so that you can watch what's happening and react quickly.) As the rice plumps up, begin tasting a grain or two for done-ness and seasoning. Risotto is supposed to be cooked only to the point that there remains a 'germ' in the center; I like it cooked past that point, more like 'rice'. To get to either stage, you may not need all the broth. If the rice needs salt and pepper, start seasoning it now, but go gently.

Stir in the beet greens (this is done late so they'll only cook a minute or two and retain their color) and the vinegar. Stir until greens are cooked. Stir in Parmesan. Serve immediately.

A Veggie Venture is home of the Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and vegetable inspiration from Asparagus to Zucchini. © Copyright 2007
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This risotto sounds gorgeous and it is such a pretty colour! I will change the chicken stock to vegetable stock and I won't be able to resist grating some parmesan over the top.

  2. Alanna, this risotto looks so mouthwatering! We are proud to have it included in this week's FoodieView Recipe Roundup. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  3. Just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how GREAT that recipe was...i made it last night and my family loved it. thanks for sharing your creativity with those who have none....


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna