The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Thursday, March 31, 2011


Bonus greens–eating veggies “nose to tail”

by Nanette Geller


Joan Namkoong had a nice piece on beet tops in yesterday’s Star Advertiser. We love beets, and always look for vibrant green tops to use as a leafy vegetable. Beets are very closely related to chard, one of my favorite greens. It kills me to see people throw away beet tops and then spend money on chard!

When I get home from the market, I cut off the greens from beets, radishes, turnips, or other root vegetables with tasty, nutritious leaves. I wash them, steam them in the water clinging to the leaves, and put them in the refrigerator labeled “bonus greens.” I feel so virtuous when I use these freebies. It reminds me of the way many chefs now boast of using every part of an animal, “nose to tail.”


bonus greens


Baby hakurei (Japanese turnips) and French breakfast radishes from Ma’o Organic Farm

Those leaves look so alive. It would feel like murder to toss them

Below are a few ideas on how to use these gifts from the farm



Gyoza soup 1


A very quick dinner made with frozen gyoza from Costco

Bring some stock to a boil (I use Kitchen Basics chicken stock). I like to add a couple of slices of ginger and a splash of shaoxing rice wine.

Throw in frozen gyoza. While they cook, cut the greens into bite size. If I have it, I’ll also cut up some green onion.

When the gyoza are almost done (about 6-8 minutes), add the greens. Bring back to a simmer. Serve. Enjoy.

Since I had calamansi, I put some out to add at the table. Optional, but it does add a bright note. Lemon or lime wedges would also be good.



Dandelion with Egg


Serve greens topped with a poached or fried egg. This happens to be dandelion, but bonus greens would work as well.

If you want to get fancy, toast a thick slice of country-style bread, rub with a cut garlic clove, drizzle with olive oil, and serve either underneath or next to the greens.


When I describe something made with “greens” it’s probably bonus greens and I don’t even remember exactly what went into the mix of leaves. You could use bonus greens in this rustic pie. Mix them with the peanut dressing described here. Serve warm or room temp with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Use chopped greens on a pizza. Add to soups. Add to pasta sauce. You get the idea. And while you’re eating, remember that you got all that flavor and nutrition for free.

Great suggestions. Sometimes it seems daunting to figure out what to do with leafy greens but they really add so much to a meal!
Thanks Gida! Leafy greens (raw or cooked) play a big part in our dinners. Tonight, inspired by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, I'm planning to use the last of this weeks "bonus greens" for a pasta with sausage, leeks and ricotta salata. I do get a kick out of using -- and enjoying -- something many people throw away.
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