What to Do with Beet Stems

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Yesterday I made a couple of beet dishes from “Vegetables Illustrated” and they tasted absolutely AMAZING!

I don’t like to throw food to waste if I know I can turn them into something tasty and healthy. There’s a guilt voice in my head that says, ” we can turn that into something”, which applies to a many things, i.e. I save the caps from JustEgg bottles and use them as a stencil in my painting (but if I keep this up, I will have to get really creative and include them in my art works!). With the beet greens, I turned it into my infamous juice that consists of apples, lemon, beets, and neutral tasting greens. For me, its an adult version of sweet and sour candy; the sweetness from the apples and beets with the contrasting sour taste from the lemons is a healthy snack if you are wanting candy but avoiding it for whatever reason it may be.

This is my go to for beet stems but I knew there had to be more out there… And I knew just where to find my answer. “Waste Not” cookbook! One day I might have a full on beet party just so everyone can appreciate how many dishes can be made out of beets.

I will end my speel here to not “waste” any more of your time!! 😉 Get cooking some yummy beet stems, you non-wasteful rascals, you! Go on, beet it! 🙂

Pickled Beet Stems

Recipe by: Debbie Gold

Author’s note: There are countless varieties of beets, each with a particular flavor. Every part of the beet is edible from the root, to the stem, to the leaf… Leftover pickled beet stems are also delicious on hamburgers, with charcuterie plates, and anywhere else you would use pickles.


Stems from 1 bunch beets

1 quart water

4 cloves garlic, peeled

3 bay leaves

3/4 cup (5%) white vinegar

5 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp sea salt

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

  1. Trim any bruised or discolored parts from the stems. Cut the stems into 2 inch pieces and place into a clean glass jar.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil. Pour the pickling liquid over the beet stems. Let the mixture cool and then place the lid on top. Shake the jar and refrigerate the stems for at least 24 hours.
Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com

Green top Harissa

Recipe by: Levon Wallace

Author’s note: A fiery North African condiment gets a waste-reducing revamp in this rendition from Levon Wallace. He supplements the traditional dried spice blend with root vegetable tops and herb stems, turning the typically ruby-hued spread a vibrant green. Use it to marinate chicken, spread on turkey burgers or grilled fish, or mix with Greek yogurt for an unexpected, flavorful dipping sauce.


2 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp coriander seeds

3 cups packed radish tops (or turnip tops, beet tops, etc)

1/2 cup cilantro stems, finely chopped

1/2 cup parsley stems, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

6 – 8 scallions bottoms (the white and light green portion), sliced

2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced

1 clove garlic, smashed

1 tsp kosher salt

  1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing constantly until very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Transfer the harissa to a nonreactive container with plastic wrap or parchment paper on the surface (this will keep the harissa from browning).

Note: The harissa can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com
fried beet stems

Recipe by: Greg Baker

Author’s note: Instead of sending your lowly beet stems to the compost pile, try making this snack from chef Greg Baker. Baker recommends chopping the stems into sticks, giving them a quick fry in peanut oil, and then tossing them in an addictive hot-and-sweet spice blend. Serve these crispy, crunchy bites on their own, with greens, or with beets themselves to double down on flavor.

Yield: 1/4 cup


Stems from 1 bunch beets, leaves removed

1 quart peanut oil

1/2 tsp ground dried chiles, such as ancho or chiles de arbol (if more heat is desired)

1/2 tsp ground paprika

1 pinch brown sugar

Sea or kosher salt

  1. Trim the ends of the beet stems and wash them in a large bowl filled with cold water. Remove the stems from the water with a spider skimmer or by hand (don’t pour the bowl into a colander as this will put the dirt right back on the beet stems) and dry on a baking sheet lined with a dish towel. Cut the stems into sticks about 2-3 inches long and then lay them out on another towel to get them thoroughly dry.
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a 6 quart (or larger) pot to 350 F. (Note: a candy thermometer is the best way to check the temperature.) Line another baking sheet with paper towels to drain the stems after frying.
  3. While the oil is heating, mix together the ground dried chiles, paprika, brown usgar, and salt in a small bowl.
  4. Working in batches, add the beet stems to the fryer oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, until crisp. Using a spider skimmer, remove the fried stems and place on paper towels. Repeat until all the stems are fried. Toss beet stems in spice mixture. Serve immediately.
Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com


“Waste Not How to get the Most from Your Food: Recipes and Tips for Full-use Cooking from America’s Best Chefs” James Beard Foundation

2 Comments Add yours

  1. hmkzosimas says:

    Also could sautee them with the leaves and eat them 😋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The simplest way too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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