The whole vegetable is edible

Apply the head-to-tail philosophy to vegetables, and you’ll be surprised how many versatile dishes you get out of one plant.

Beetroot stems and leaves are delicious and should never end on the compost.

Purchase beets in bunches, with the greens attached.  Smaller beets are sweeter and tender. The large beets tend to be woody and not as versatile. Look for a deep purple colour with healthy fresh greens. 

A bright pink hummus

Beetroot gives the hummus a brilliant colour, but there is more to this than meets the eye.

Hummus is a great snack, and with the addition of the beetroot, it becomes earthy and sweet with some extra nutrition to boot.

The trick is to keep it light and fluffy.

The secret: Add ice when blending the ingredients.

The ice works at keeping this dish from becoming heavy. 

Ever thought about pickling the stems?

Stems are often neglected. We love the roots, we love the leaves, but what can we do with the stems? Pickle them!

The picked stems with the addition of the sesame seeds have a Japanese quality to them while the cumin seeds make them more Middle Eastern. Best of both worlds, right?

Like all good pickles, it goes well with…. well… everything! I love this with cheese, grilled fish and lamb.

Cooking time depends a bit on the stem size and how soft you like the pickles, so keep that in mind when chopping them to size. 

And finally, sauté the greens

Ever ordered a big breakfast that had sautéed greens on the plate? Did you think that was spinach? You may be right, but chances are, it was something else, like silver beet, or, you guessed it, beetroot leaves.

Flavour wise, once wilted and seasoned, there is not much difference. Like spinach, they are rich in iron and calcium, so please use them, they’re too good for you to end up on the compost!

I chose to spice them up a little with cumin, coriander and smoked paprika. Don’t forget a little bit of lemon, the acidity brings out the flavours.

Beetroot head to tail

Author: Tim Hollands
A dip, a pickle and some sautéed greens, and all that from a bunch of beetroots, that's how versatile this vegetable is when you embrace the head-to-tail philosophy.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dip, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Modern Australian
Servings 2


Beetroot and roasted garlic hummus 

  • 1 medium size raw beetroot or 4 baby beets
  • 1 can chickpeas (400g can), drained
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3-5 tbsp chickpea water
  • 2-3 ice cubes
  • salt to taste

Pickled beetroot stems:

  • 200 g beetroot stems washed
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 200 ml apple cider vinegar
  • 100 ml orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste

Sautéed spiced beetroot leaves 

  • 150 g beetroot leaves washed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander ground
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp roasted almonds coarsely chopped


Beetroot and roasted garlic hummus:

  • Preheat the oven to 180c
  • Wash and trim the beetroot and cut in quarters. Place on an oven tray and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
  • Cut 1 cm of the top of the garlic bulb to expose the cloves and add the whole head to the tray with the beetroot.
  • Roast in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
  • In a food processor, blend the drained chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, chickpea water until creamy, scraping down the sides when needed.
  • Squeeze each clove of roasted garlic out of its skin into the food processor, add the beetroot, drizzle with the olive oil. Add the cumin and ice cubes and blend until light and creamy and the ice cubes are dissolved.
  • Season with salt to taste.

Pickled beetroot stems:

  • In a small frypan, dry toast sesame seeds until golden and place aside.
  • Dry toast cumin seeds until they are aromatic, 1-2 minutes. Place aside.
  • Thinly slice red chilli.
  • Pour apple cider vinegar and orange juice into a small saucepan, add salt, toasted cumin, sesame seeds, chilli and sugar and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Remove leaves from the beetroot stems (set aside for the recipe below) and chop them into 5 cm lengths.
  • Stir the cleaned stems into the pickling liquid and cook on low for 10 -15min.
  • Place the cooled down liquid and stems into a sterilised jar. Close tightly and refrigerate. Remove stems when needed, for example when added to a meat, fish or cheese dish.

Sautéed spiced beetroot leaves:

  • Wash and roughly tear any of the larger beetroot leaves.
  • In a large pan, heat olive oil to medium heat, then add sliced garlic and cook for 30 seconds (be careful not to burn it)
  • Add cumin and coriander and cook for another 20 seconds.
  • Add butter and smoked paprika and cook until the butter has melted.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  • Stir in the beetroot leaves and cook for 5 minutes or until wilted and soft.
  • Arrange on a plate and garnish with roughly chopped roasted almonds.
  • Serve warm.
Keyword beetroot, dip, garlic, pickled, sautéed