Food waste. It’s not something most of us think about right?
Well we should. Did you know that about a third of the food that’s grown in the U.S. is not eaten? One third. That’s a lot of wasted food.
That’s why I’m totally on board with the 2017 food trend stem to root cooking. The idea is that instead of using all the “pretty” parts of fruits and vegetables, start using some the “unpretty” parts. You know – like the stems of cauliflower and broccoli or peels of the citrus fruit. Think about it – it makes total sense. Why are we throwing away these parts away?
Now I’m not suggesting you serve up a plate of broccoli stems at dinner. While this would be totally edible, you may get some strange looks at the dinner table. And while you wouldn’t outright eat the citrus peel along with your orange, there are plenty of things you can use it for. For example, for add flavor to rice and throw some peels in when cooking or you can candy them. Broccoli and cauliflower stems can be pickled or shredded to make a slaw. You may remember my post about making Homemade Stock – this is another great way to use the scraps of vegetables.
So, recently I found myself with 4 broccoli stems hanging out in my fridge. You see usually I would just throw them in the stock bag I keep in my freezer. But apparently I have the world’s smallest refrigerator which in turnhas the world’s smallest freezer and my stock bag was pretty full. Oh, I must clarify when I mean world’s smallest refrigerator, I mean world’s smallest full size fridge. I didn’t want you thinking that I had a mini fridge in my kitchen!
Anyway – back to the broccoli stems. These stems had been hanging out in the fridge for a couple days and they needed some attention like asap. Given it was a chilly rainy day, it was a perfect day for soup. While I like the typical cream of broccoli soup every now and then, it can be a bit heavy. So instead of all that milk or cream, I used cannellini beans. When pureed, the beans give the soup a creamy texture. And as an added bonus, they add fiber and protein. Not to mention beans are rich in antioxidants! You remember antioxidants don’t you?
So between reducing food waste and the health benefits, this soup is definitely something to feel good about.
How do you use the “unpretty” parts of fruits and vegetables?
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups broccoli stems, roughly chopped
- 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano
- 2 teaspoons basil
- ½ teaspoon cayenne
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon miso
- Sliced green onions, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a stock pot over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and allow to heat until glistening.
- Add onion and broccoli stems. Cook a few minutes until softened.
- Add garlic, marjoram, basil, cayenne and beans. Stir to combine.
- Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
- Turn off heat and puree with an immersion blender (you can also use a blender).
- Add miso and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with sliced green onions if using.
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