Monday, August 25, 2008

Beet Leaf Rolls Tutorial

I know this has nothing to do with painting or kid's crafts but this is a very old family recipe. It is Ukrainian in origin and I have only come across it in other old Ukrainian families who settled in Alberta.

It sounds a bit exotic using beet leaves but they are packed with lots of healthy stuff for you. ( high in Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, Vitamins A, C, E, and fiber )

My kids and husband LOVE them and eat them like candy. They are a family tradition and I grow beets just for the leaves in my veggie garden. So before you throw away those beet leaves when you are making borscht or roasting them try this instead. Your family will thank you!!

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: 30-35 beet leaves (about the size of your palm), choose newer
leaves not old leathery ones
2 cups of cooked rice (you want sticky short grain it holds
together better)
2 Tablespoons fresh Dill, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter
Sour Cream
Salt to taste

You want to wash your leaves first in cold water. Leave them in your sink and plug it for the next step.

Now you need to wilt your leaves.

Add enough boiling water from your kettle to cover them and let them sit a while until the water cools down.

My mom told me in the olden days they wilted their leaves in the sun but I think it would dry them out too much. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make sure you get all the edges of the leaves under water.

While waiting for your leaves to cool make your rice. I put mine on to boil and wait until I see the little vent holes and most of the moisture is gone. I then cover, turn off the heat and let it sit a while. (10-15 minutes)

(see the little vents)

While waiting for your rice and leaves chop up your dill. When the rice is ready, you want it to be sticky, add your dill and some salt to taste.

When the water has cooled, drain your leaves. Now we make the rolls. Take a leaf, shake off the excess water and place on a cutting board. I like to trim out a section of stem on the bottom of the leaf because I find it too tough. Cut out the bottom inch or so of stem.

Sorry these photos are in the wrong position but for some reason blogger won't set them up right no matter what changes I make to the original, go figure.

Put leaf into your palm

Add a Tablespoon of rice into the center of the leaf.

Roll up, kind of like you roll up a burrito or taco. Place into a buttered casserole dish.

Keep layering the rolls into your dish until all the leaves are done.

Dot with butter on the top and placed covered into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of salt if desired.

ENJOY, trust me you will look at beet leaves in a whole different way after this and they do become addictive.

As part of my MISTAKE MONDAY series I thought I would post a picture of my studio (really a room in the basement). I always get a kick out of seeing other artists and crafters post pictures of their extremely clean and organized work spaces. (like on Poppytalk)

They always look like nobody actually works there. My room is always a mess. The more projects I'm working on the messier. During the school year I'll have 2-3 projects I'm developing for art lessons on the go everyday. I don't have time to clean the room!!!
Every once and a while I will clean it up, usually when I'm looking for some special item to use for a project but most of the time it looks like this. Thankfully the rest of the house is usually clean and no I'm am not a hoarder. I just need a lot of supplies to come up with all the projects for school, Scouts, etc. So welcome to my MESS.

see you later,


  1. I am anxious to try this recipe! Looks so good.
    And I will have you know that my studio is a disaster most of the time! When I do take the time to clean it, then I can't find anything!
    I appreciate your site! Thanks.

  2. Thanks for the comments and good luck with the recipe. I am sure you will like it.
    haffnewie: its good to know I'm not the only one with a messy workspace.

  3. I will have to send you a photo of my studio sometime. However, it is hard to make heads or tails of it when it is so messy! But you know what? I am attracted to that kind of space. Your studio looks so inviting and creative to me!! I would love to spend time in a space like that! It gets your creative juices flowing!

  4. im sorry to tell you , but those arent beet leaf rolls
    those are just a variation of cabbage rolls
    beet leaf rolls have a bread like centre with a cottage cheese, dill and a few other things wrapped in a beet leaf.
    my baba is from the old country, she taught my mom how to make them and they are nothing like the ones you have described
    i have seen those before , however that as i said before is merely a variation of cabbage rolls

  5. and the beat leaf rolls are them baked in the oven in fresh farm cream
    which gets soaked up into the bread and filling

    believe me when i tell you , there is a big difference from the way my baba made them and the rcipe you described.

  6. My Mom always made these and us kids loved them! But she also added fried onion to the rice and when they were just about finished baking she poured a sauce over them. The sauce was fresh cream with green onions finely chopped, more dill and just a touch of vinegar. Delicious!

  7. And yet they ARE beet leaf holubtsi, because they're made from beet leaves!

    Steve - given that your baba was from the old country she should've also explained to your mother, that EVERYONE had variations. There are dishes made in Kyiv that people from Lviv have never heard of but this does not diminish their worth as many times one didn't have access to all ingredients forcing one to make do with what was readily available, as well as different nationalities influencing dishes. There are lots of similar dishes in Romania, Poland and even Germany.

  8. Incredibly awesome recipe!!!!

  9. Love the fact that I found your site as I am artist working in schools but also considering I am in Scotland but have a very old and close friend from Edmonton who for as long as I have known her and met her in various parts of the world (but never Canada) has always gone on about her dads cabbage rolls - he was from Ukraine decent - we all know the world has got smaller due to the internet but little things still pop up daily to remind me how much we all have in common.
    Love your site too xx

  10. made the cabbage rolls last month, was a great hit, so will be making a couple casseroles for a family gathering for this thanksgiving, the only trouble this year was the deer ate most f the beet leaves, but through trial and error make a makeshift greenhouse from clear plastic which produced a lot of nice beet leaves, thanks for the beet rolls, nicholas