When switching to clean, whole food, plant strong, diet you must get very well acquainted with an abundance of produce. Glorious, fresh produce.
Since fresh produce doesn't come partially prepped, wrapped, and shelf stable it is up to us, the kitchen warriors, to wash, prep, chop and use it all up wisely.
More time consuming than opening up a box of processed dinner? Yup.
More rewarding? You bet your tush it is.
And a billion more benefits to boot.
Using what would normally be considered the throwaway bits of vegetables; stalks, stems, leaves, and roots you can create delicious recipes and save a ton of cash by not throwing away valuable bits.
Creative Ways to Use the Whole Veggie
I am always perplexed when I see a bin of loose beets. What happened to the tops? Where are those nutrient-dense greens? Don't toss this part of the beet it would be like tossing a bag of baby spinach. You can cook beet greens in exactly the same way you would cook spinach. Saute with olive oil and garlic. INSIDER TIP: Always ask the farmer at your local farmers market if he has any beet greens to give away. People often ask to have the tops chopped off so they don't have to lug them around, silly people! The farmers keep all those beet greens and are happy to pass them along to you for free if you ask.
This Roasted Beet and Beet Green with Goat Cheese Crostini will surely change your mind about throwing away beet greens!
The furry tip of fennel, called the frond, has a zip, bang of anise flavor. Chop lightly and toss in soups or salads. Or chop and stir into Greek yogurt with a squeeze of lemon and swirl of olive oil, this makes a lovely sauce for fish.
Try this insanely delicious One Pan Mediterranean Cod with Fennel and Fennel Fronds and I promise you will never throw fronds away again!
Or get super creative and boil the fennel root and fronds to create a fennel simple syrup. Fennel Simple Syrup for a Cucumber Fennel Mocktail You can use the simple syrup to create delicious cocktails or mocktails.
The ruby red root of the radish is the bit we are most used to enjoying, and for good reason, I mean have you ever had a radish chip???
But don't throw away the gorgeous green tops to radishes! These are totally edible and yummy. I love radish tops! The leaves are peppery and pungent like arugula. They are great tossed into a salad or used in a stir fry.
Try this Farmers Market Lentil Salad with Fresh Cherries as a creative way to use radish tops!
Celery – leaves, root, all of it!
Oh celery leaves are the forgotten glory of celery. I eat them right off the stalk, but you can also throw the leaves into a salad or toss with fresh tomatoes and basil for a yummy treat. The bottom bulb of celery should be reserved for veggie stock OR if you are feeling a bit frisky boil up a celery syrup to create bubbly luscious concoctions like celery soda. Boil the bulb in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of coconut palm sugar. Allow to steep for one hour, blend and strain. This syrup will keep in your fridge for up to a week. drizzle a bit into sparkling water = yummy in the tummy. (You can use this recipe and substitute celery for the fennel bulb)
It breaks my heart when I see people throw away carrot tops. The green leafy tops of carrots are totally edible and they are tasty to boot! They taste like a cross between parsley and oregano with a sweet carrot bite.
Or try this Carrot Top Tabouli Salad which is a fan favorite recipe!
Swiss Chard Stems
Typically the stems of dark green leafy vegetables are tough and woody and not terribly delicious, but I love the flavor of Swiss chard stems! They taste similar to celery and are loaded with nutrients. My favorite way to eat them is pickled.
Try this easy recipe for pink peppercorn Pickled Swiss Chard Stems
So there you have it 6 creative ways to use bits of veggies that you would have otherwise tossed into the compost pile!