Beet Leaf Pesto

by Maggie Battista on April 19, 2009

in All Recipes, Featured, Vegetables


I’m always inspired by the fabulous duo over at Delicious Days. After seeing their pretty photos of a pesto made from radish greens, I thought (1) I can do that and (2) I may be able to top the gorgeousness of it all with some beet greens.

Oddly enough, I’ve yet to roast the actual beets! I simply chopped off the purple-red leaves and pulsed the delicious mixture a few times until combined by still chunky. I opted to skip olive oil altogether to avoid any chance of imparting bitterness to the pesto and used a walnut oil. Combined with the toasted walnuts, the oil evoked a subtle nut flavor, almost like you were walking through a walnut grove, the wind drifting puffs of nuttiness your way.

My recipe is simple enough, with measurements only based loosely on the Delicious Days recipe. I really like to make pesto to taste, so use your judgment here. My recipe produced two 8-ounce jars of pesto. I used one jar at dinner last night. We heaped spoonfuls of the purple loveliness on some pan-roasted cod and wilted spinach. We used the second jar today at lunch. I made a fresh vegetable and pasta soup. With a spoonful in the center of the bowl, the warm broth oozed with richness and lusciousness.

Beet Leaf Pesto


  • 2-3 handfuls of beet leaf greens
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 small handful of toasted walnuts
  • A heavy sprinkle of raw milk parmasan
  • Sea salt and coarsely-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup, and a splash more, walnut oil

Pulse everything in a food processor. Add more oil or salt and pepper as needed to suit your taste. Make sure to keep it chunky, like mama’s in Italy do, as the flavor really thrives in chunky vs. smooth pesto.


Maggie Battista

Founder at Eat Boutique
Maggie, is the founder of Eat Boutique. She started Eat Boutique as a blog in 2007, and sold out of her first gift box of small batch independent food in 2009. Maggie continues to offer unique and delicious handmade food in tasting subscriptions and seasonal gift boxes for food fans and home cooks. Maggie also hosts Eat Boutique Markets, where she spotlights cookbook authors and food makers. She’s written for Style Me Pretty, Food52, Time Out New York, Spencer Magazine, and writes a cocktail column for the popular wedding blog, Snippet & Ink. Maggie's also created retail experiences for the largest floral and event design company in New England. She regularly travels far distances to find the next great chef, farmer, food maker or host. You can follow her worldwide – and homemade – gastronomic adventures on Twitter at @mizmaggieb or @eatboutique. Maggie's first-ever cookbook Food Gift Love will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in October 2015. You may pre-order now.

  • claudia (cook eat FRET)

    that is truly beautiful and original and interesting AND i’ll bet it tasted divine on all those things you mentioned. really – i just wish that i had thought of it…

  • Maggie

    Thanks, Claudia! You’re too sweet. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t through of it sooner. I can’t believe my composter has received all those yummy beet leaves for the last few months – I could have been making this pesto all along! I also must admit, I adore the color. There should be far more purple/pink in food. :)

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  • Marion

    Never has any food idea made me happier. I love beet greens, and would eat them every day were they available. But a new way to use them! How fabulous.

  • Maggie

    Marion, aren't beet greens the best?!! I fell in love with the color and now find myself making pestos from whatever random greens that get strewn about my kitchen. I'm so glad you like!

  • Maggie

    Marion, aren't beet greens the best?!! I fell in love with the color and now find myself making pestos from whatever random greens that get strewn about my kitchen. I'm so glad you like!

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