Why throw away the stems and the leaves of a beet when you can use them in so many different ways? Beets are one of our favorite fall root vegetables, and their versatility is what makes them so great. Get creative and start pickling, roasting, sautéeing, and baking with this vibrant veggie for a nutrient-dense addition to any meal.

By Sara Tane
August 29, 2016
Credit: Sara Tane

As we head into the fall season, it’s that time of year to start showing some love to beets. A delightfully sweet root vegetable that peaks in the cooler fall and spring months, beets are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. One of the best things about this vegetable (other than its vibrant purple color), is its versatility. You can enjoy them spiralized, roasted, pickled, juiced, or baked into muffins, breads, and other desserts.

Credit: Photo: Rachel Johnson
Credit: Photo: Johnny Miller
Credit: Sara Tane

What most people don’t realize about beets is that you can use the entire vegetable, as opposed to chopping off the stems and throwing them away. To use the leaves, we recommend treating them like you would spinach, kale, or your favorite leafy green. Cook them in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil for warm, wilted greens; chop them in a fresh salad; or roast them for a crispy, chip-like consistency. They have a very mild, slightly bitter flavor that is great enjoyed on its own, or tossed back together with the beet root.

Credit: Sara Tane

Think you avoided waste by making use of the root and the leaves? We think you should take it one step further and utilize the stems. These striated beauties that usually end up in the trash are actually great for sautéeing. Chop ‘em up and cook with oil and some vinegar or citrus for a zing of flavor.

They also make for the perfect salty snack or salad topper if you pickle them. We prefer to quick pickle them by tossing them into a mason jar with vinegar, salt, sugar, and some fresh dill for wonderful aromatics. Let it sit for at least an hour, but the longer you let it sit, the softer the stems will become (enjoy within 2-3 weeks).

Credit: Sara Tane

There is no greater feeling than making a creative, healthy dish out of what you might have previously thrown away. Get your money’s worth, reduce food waste, and add some green, hearty goodness to your diet while you’re at it by using the whole beet root.