Beet Greens with Raisins and Pine Nuts (paleo, gluten-free)

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You know how I promised to give you a recipe for beet greens? Consider that promise fulfilled.

I have a lot of trouble experimenting with greens of any sort. I tend to find something I like and stick with it, which means a lot of salad. Kale salad. Spring mix with craisins and almonds. Baby spinach with lemon juice, garlic and (in more dairy-friendly times) a ton of Parmesan cheese. Sometimes kale sauteed with bacon, mushrooms, onions and balsamic vinegar — which is another recipe for another time.

But I found myself staring at a bunch of beet greens the other day, unable to bring myself to throw them away. They were so pretty, with the pink stems and bright green leaves, and they looked so healthy and vibrant that I had to come up with something.

Michelle Tam has an excellent recipe for Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts that I’d tried before with a pretty high degree of success, and that I thought I could adapt to work with the greens. Beet greens don’t seem to have a lot of flavor — maybe a little savory bitterness, but otherwise, I figured they would be the perfect foil for the raisins, pine nuts and salty prosciutto in this dish.

I had to resurrect some of the slightly-wilted greens, but it was well worth it for how well this dish turned out. The garlic and lemon added sharp, clear notes and dimension to this dish, while the raisins added a touch of sweetness. The bitterness of the kale I’d added to fill out the greens became a complement, not a detriment.

And the crispy prosciutto was just beyond ridiculous. You might want to make extra just to snack on…or to share with the dog, who will be staring at you with big eyes the second you pull those luscious slices of pork (sorry, pigs) out of the oven.

Beet Greens with Kale, Raisins and Pine Nuts
Ingredients
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • Greens from 2 bunches of beets
  • 1/2 cup kale, de-stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. First things first: make the crispy prosciutto. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake prosciutto on a foil-lined cookie sheet for about ten minutes. Remove from oven and place prosciutto slices on a wire rack to cool and crisp up.
  2. Remove stems from beet greens. Chop stems, and slice the greens themselves into ribbons by stacking them, rolling them, and slicing perpendicularly along the roll. Cut kale to ribbons in the same way, but discard the stems.
  3. Put raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to soak while everything else is going on.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Toss in pine nuts and let toast until browning, two to three minutes. Remove to a plate to cool.
  5. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add beet green stems and cook until tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  6. Add greens and kale to the pan with a sprinkle of salt. Cover, and allow to steam until greens are wilted but still bright green.
  7. Remove from heat. Toss in pine nuts, raisins and lemon juice and combine. Serve with crispy prosciutto crumbled on top.
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
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