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Spaghetti with Beet Greens and Basil Pesto

Do you feel as if you’re overwhelmed with greens? To use up greens in one meal, make spaghetti with beet greens, or pasta with any other greens you have on hand. You will love how what seems like a huge pile of greens shrinks incredibly into this easy quick dinner of spaghetti with beet greens!

Spaghetti with Beet Greens and Basil Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

You can use other greens for this pasta, not just beet greens. The greens wilt down to manageable, edible amounts–a pound of greens cooks into just about 2 cups of tangy cooked sweetness. Trim the center rib and stem off the greens. Save both chard and beet greens, save the ribs or stems. Dice them into small pieces and sauté along with the onions. If the greens are from red beets, the cooked stems tint the pasta a pretty rose pink.

beet greens for Spaghetti with Beet Greens | Letty's Kitchen

I keep a stash of Basil Walnut Pesto in the freezer, and 3 large dollops of pesto are the easy garlicky-herby seasoning for this spaghetti with beet greens. Vegans–or if you don’t have any pesto–add a 3 minced garlic cloves to the onion and beet stem sauté.

Spaghetti with Beet Greens and Basil Pesto plate and pan

Spaghetti with Beet Greens and Basil Pesto recipe notes:

  • Other greens that are delicious with pasta: radish greens, arugula, spinach, chard, mustard greens.
  • As with all cooked greens, be sure to stir in an acid at the end of cooking, to sweeten and bump up the flavor. In this recipe we add sherry wine vinegar.
  • A stainless steel pot with pasta insert makes it so without draining the water, you can remove the noodles when they’re done. Then, when you are ready for hot pasta, simply dip the pasta back in the hot water for 30 seconds, and drain again.
  • Use brown rice spaghetti instead of wheat spaghetti if you don’t want the gluten.
  • Try these other easy pasta with greens recipes: Spinach Fettuccine with Arugula and Tomatoes and Penne Pasta with Mixed Greens.

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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Spaghetti with Beet Greens | Letty's Kitchen
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Spaghetti with Beet Greens and Basil Pesto

Easy pasta and greens dish. Follow the template using any variety of green and any kind of pasta. Makes 2 to 4 servings, depending on how hungry you are.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: spaghetti, beet greens, vegetarian, pesto, pasta, healthy
Servings: 3 servings.


  • 1 large bunch beet greens or other greens
  • 8 ounces whole wheat or brown rice spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow or red onion , sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • About 1/4 cup basil pesto , homemade or purchased (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chile flakes


  • Wash the beet greens. Trim the leaves from the ribs. Cut the ribs into 1/4-inch pieces.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Following package directions, cook the spaghetti until it is tender to the bite (al dente).
  • Over medium high flame, heat the oil in a large skillet.
  • Add the onion and beet stems and cook and stir until the beet stems soften a bit. Add the garlic, if you are not using basil pesto.
  • Chop the beet greens into 1-inch ribbons and add to the skillet. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens wilt and shrink, about 10 minutes. Season with the sherry wine vinegar and salt.
  • Stir in the pesto, and red chile flakes, and then gently toss in the cooked spaghetti, stirring to mix well.


Vegans: do not use pesto as it contains cheese. Sauté 3 minced garlic cloves with the onion and beet stem mix.

**This recipe is an update of one I wrote in July 2009, and migrated over from my old blog. Below are the photos from that post. The red beet’s greens tint the pasta a rosy pink hue.

Beet stems tint whole wheat Spaghetti with Beet Greens a rosy color

Beet Green Ribbons before shrinkage for Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Beet Greens

Saute onions and beet stems for whole wheat spaghetti with beet greens

1 comment

  • Wondered what to do with beet green ribs and found your recipe, which sounds worth trying:) Just posted a stirfry beet recipe on Facebook. Had been including ribs, snipped to 1/4″ or less as recommended for chard, but wanted to see if it was common practice. Gonna try your spaghetti soon. Reply · 6 September, 2011

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