Beet Greens Pesto


Note from Amy K: Today’s post is co-written by my good friend Lucia. She's a food blogger extraordinaire who specializes in grain-free living. This is the second recipe of a three-part series of posts we’ve written together to welcome springtime! You can learn all about why beets are an essential part of my springtime detox diet in our first post and recipe, published on her blog, Essential Omnivore.


My time spent on on a large-scale organic farm consisted only of a few days in the beet fields. My first experience was in late April, crawling around, my jeans slightly rolled up for a little ankle-airflow, field knife in hand, weeding around the… wait… they’re all so tiny… which are the weeds? And hold on, I’m weeding with my field knife?

I quickly began to recognize the dotted rows of barely sprouted beet greens and made sure to annihilate any lamb’s quarters, amaranth or other pesky “weeds” that would stunt the beets’ growth. Later in the season, on a different field, days were spent in our large crop of radishes, which just happened to bump up against another crop of beets planted around the same time. By this time their roots had become heavy and plump, full of damp coolness and refreshing on my dusty hands. I went home that day, riding the bus heavy and plump itself with chattering co-workers. A good handful of beets plopped into my upside-down hat gently bounced on my lap while the bus ambled towards home. I later made those beets into chips, and truth be told I don’t know what I did with the greens. A pity, considering they’re a tender, delicate bunch (pun very much intended)!

So here, just a few years later... is a recipe devoted to the greens that top those colorful roots; greens that grab the sun’s rays as the roots stretch deep and wide. Greens that remind me of hot fields perfumed by miscellaneous dill plants, growing boldly as rogue reminders of crops past. Take the greens and keep them fresh, let their sweet and slightly salty nature do the talking.


2 large handfuls beet greens, stems removed (approx. 2 cups)
¾ cup italian or flat-leaf parsley
⅔ cup walnuts (or nut/seed of choice, we used a combo of walnuts and hemp seed hearts)
⅓ cup grated parmesan (or other hard cheese of your choosing)
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt (the beet greens already have a salty flavor, and you can always add more salt to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor (or a large pestle and mortar, if you are so lucky!).
Pulse to combine while slowly pouring in the oil olive.
Process to the texture you desire.
Makes about 1 ½ to 2 cups.

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