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Risotto with Beet Greens

Risotto is such a treat – plus it’s easy to make and extremely flexible. The one consideration with risotto is that you do need to stir it pretty constantly, so plan to spend 30-40 minutes by the stove (aka, pour yourself a glass of wine and relax). With a basic technique in mind, you can vary the recipe for whatever you have on hand or find fresh at the local farmer’s market. It also satisfies that pasta craving for my gluten-free friends.

I had some beet greens that I needed to use, so that’s what last night’s risotto featured. I balanced the greens with lemon juice for brightness and red pepper flakes for a little kick of flavor.


  • .25 cups olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • .25 tsp red pepper flakes (up to this amount, adjust down for less heat)
  • .25 tsp ground black pepper
  • .25 tsp thyme (optional)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • Greens from 3-6 beets – stems removed and chopped, leaves chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • .25 cups pine nuts
  • 4 cups vegetable broth – heated in separate pot on stove ready to ladle in
  • 2 tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. In a large high-edged pan heat the oil over medium heat and season with the bay leaves, pepper, red pepper (this is when to add the thyme if you use it)
  2. Add the onions and stir until they begin to turn translucent, then stir in the garlic and beet stems
  3. Add Arborio rice and stir in so that it absorbs any oil and cooking juices
  4. Add wine and stir until absorbed
  5. Add pine nuts and lemon juice and stir until absorbed
  6. Add broth one ladle at a time until absorbed – you may not use all 4 cups, judge how much the rice will take and adjust to your liking
  7. Stir in parmesan cheese (and butter if you use)
  8. Fold in beet greens until they wilt down and start to incorporate, but still have good color
  9. Garnish with additional parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, drizzle of olive oil

You can also substitute pearl barley for the Arborio rice, for a high-fiber version!