Often overlooked and discarded are the greens attached to turnips and beets. Personally, these greens are my favorite part of these root vegetables and the reason I buy them. They have a somewhat bitter taste; however, they are quite the nutrition powerhouses despite being low in calories. Turnip greens, often used in southern cooking, are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, and calcium. They are also a good source of numerous B-vitamins including folate, riboflavin, and thiamin. Turnip greens are also a good source of lutein, which studies have shown is important for eye health.
Similar to turnip greens, beet greens also contain lots of nutrition, including being an excellent source of vitamins A and K. They are also a good source of manganese, potassium and riboflavin.
Fun Fact: Beet greens have more nutrition than the actual beet!
Culinary Tip: Try adding beet or turnips greens to salad (they are bitter, so often they are mixed with other greens), saute, or steam.
Beet Green Gratin*: RD nutrition bite: use part-skim ricotta (decreases saturated and total fat), substitute whole wheat crackers (increase fiber) and/or mix crackers with wheat germ (adds vitamin E) for topping, use 2 whole eggs instead of 4 egg yolks (decreases cholesterol)
*this is, by far, my favorite recipe for greens (i’ve used beet greens, turnip greens or swiss chard and a mix of all of them in it)
Please note that if you have a history of kidney stones, beet and turnip greens contain a high amount of oxalic acid and should not be consumed in excess.