Farro with Beet Greens ♥

Another win for beet greens
Today's vegetable recipe: Beet greens tucked into farro, a high-protein grain.

Setting: Farmers market on a busy Saturday morning, the busiest booth, a line of people behind another shopper and me.

Other Shopper, eyeing a fat bunch of beets: "Will you cut off the greens for me?"

Farmer, eyeing me with a conspiratorial grin: "The greens are the best part. I bet this young lady can tell you how to cook them up fast and easy."

Other Shopper, eyeing me suspiciously, looking decidedly dubious: "How?"

Me, with evangelist fervor: "Just chop the greens up really thin, then sauté with garlic and onion in a little olive oil. They're great."

Other Shopper, obviously disgusted: "She can have my greens."

Sure, go ahead and laugh, the farmer and I did!

But the truth is, greens are overwhelming for many cooks. Even at my house, greens too often go to waste -- a waste of nutrition, of money, of scarce resources. So I'm constantly on the hunt for easy ways to cook fresh greens. Honestly, the recipe I 'cooked' was the stuffed chicken thighs which were good enough but not something to make again. But at the last minute, I tucked the leftover greens into the farro intended as a bed for the chicken -- now farro with beet greens, that's delicious!

WHAT IS FARRO? Farro is also called 'emmer wheat' and is much-appreciated in Italian cuisine. I love with this grain for its nutty and hearty puff. I see it at Trader Joe's and Amazon sells Farro Perlato by La Valletta. In St. Louis, I find farro at Global Foods in Kirkwood, in the rice section at the front of the store. The 'pearled' or 'semi-pearled' farro has some of the husk removed and cooks more quickly.

But -- farro isn't necessary, although wonderful and wonderfully healthful. Stir cooked greens into brown rice or pasta or any other 'hot' starchy something.

~ more leafy green recipes ~
~ more grain recipes ~


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes
Serves 4

8 ounces farro

1/2 cup golden raisins soaked in sherry while cooking (optional but nice texture, flavor contrast)
1 pound of beet greens, soaked, rinsed, washed well (they really hold grit in the crevasses so clean very well)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook the farro according to the package instructions. Be sure to salt the water well.

Heat the olive oil on MEDIUM HIGH in a large skillet til shimmery. Chop the beet stems and cook along with the garlic. Add the garlic and let cook til just beginning to turn golden.

Stack five or six leaves atop one another, roll into a cigar, then cut cross-wise, as thin as you can. Stir the greens into the skillet, turning to coat with fat. Cover and let cook, stirring often, until greens are fully cooked. Stir in the raisins and cooked farro. If needed, let cook a bit to cook off the liquid. Season to taste. Serve immediately.

NOTE: Even though it cooks down, a whole pound of cooked greens might be too much green for some tastes. Just stir in what seems right, save the rest for tomorrow's salad. Once it's cooked, the greens will hold for a day or more.

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© Copyright 2008

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. I can just imagine how pleased you must have been for getting all those beet greens :) I'll head to the market to see if they have any beet greens for sale...

  2. What a great idea adding beet greens to farro (or farro to beet greens, whichever), sounds delicious.

  3. This sounds great. I just discovered beet greens this year when I started getting beets in my CSA share. I love them! I do have a question though - how many servings are you using as a basis for your nutritional info? I can't seem to find that in the recipe itself.

  4. Good catch, thank you for reading so carefully, Flo. Eight ounces of farro will serve four. I've updated the post itself too.

  5. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    We belong to a CSA and I've found that just about all the greens that come with the veggies are usable and delicious. This week I used the greens from kohlrabi for the first time. Beet greens are definitely excellent.

  6. Gosh Alanna why does it seem so easy to slap the chunk of meat on the grill and not the chopped greens & garlic like you told her. I'll take the greens with you!!

  7. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    I loved your beet greens story. My daughter and I bought a share at a local CSA. Everything comes with their greens, so it's my first time even knowing you could eat so many things, much less that they were delicious. It's an organic farm which makes me feel better about eating any of it!

    I like how you suggested to cook the greens. I was roasting my beets(yum!), but I boiled the greens. They were so delicious, I couldn't stop munching, but I'm guessing I lost a lot of the nutrition in the water, huh? So I'll do it as you say, next time, like we did with another new found love...brocolli raab.

    Thanks for your veggie venture.

    You know those greens if cooked, can be stored longer in those foodsaver bags...I picked up one at a yard sale. Then you quick freeze the greens (or whatever) just until firm, bag it, freeze it now in the bag...ready to just warm up in some water.

    I hope we get some more beet greens, to try cooking them as you said, and having these frozen, and ready to be used.

    Thanks from someone just beginning in the veggie venture!!!

  8. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    Using beet greens also is fun for the color they add. I like to chop and saute them and combine them with rice or pasta and get a nice pink color that contrasts with the dark green of the leaves. Also, I recently blanched, chopped and froze some for next winter's soup. I figured my compost heap didn't need them after all.

  9. I need to use farro more. I really do. The first thing I ever attempted was a farro tart (recipe from Gourmet or Bon Appetit, maybe) and it was awful, so I've never gone back. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Farro vs spelt: sometimes I read that they are the same, other places don't say that. Or maybe they are close enough to interchange? I got spelt berries, intending to grind flour -- someday? Otherwise, this sounds like what I need, handholding for greens.


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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