There are a variety of culinary uses for the leafy green tops on your beets. When eaten raw, they taste like a cross between beets and kale, earthy with slight sweet and bitter notes. They're delicious in a salad—try topping chopped beet greens with sliced, roasted beets, goat cheese and toasted sliced almonds. They also hold up well when cooked and the cooking process usually removes all traces of bitterness. They're prominently featured in this soup.
For a vegetarian version that doesn't rely on veggie sausage, you can add cooked lentils which have been simmered with a sausage seasoning (see our sausage seasoning recipe for one suggestion), and then add an extra little pinch of the seasoning to the soup as it cooks. This soup tastes best when those onion, fennel, and oregano flavors are noticeable, but not overpowering.
Greens from at least 3 beets, chopped and bottom half of stems removed
1 pound of Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 onion or 3 walking onions, diced
½ T dried dill weed or 2-3 fronds of fresh dill, chopped
1 quart of chicken stock
1 ½ cups of milk
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 large potatoes, diced
1 t cayenne pepper
¼ t dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown the sausage in soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until the onions start to soften and sausage is fully cooked. Add the broth, potato, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are just soft enough to cut with a fork. Add the greens, milk, dill, cayenne and basil. Continue to cook until the greens are soft. Add additional seasoning as desired.