The average American household wastes about $2,000 worth of food a year. Fighting food waste sounds smart, right? What it doesn't sound: delicious. That's where this use-the-whole-veg, root-to-leaf cooking approach comes in. Here are some smart ways to make the most of your vegetable bounty. 100% outrageously good food. Zero waste.
Pictured: Use-All-the-Broccoli Stir-Fry
Broccoli florets usually take center stage, but the hard stems cook up to be delicious and tender, too, perfect as a side or a base for your dish. Here, spiralized broccoli stems transform into tender "noodles" in this lo mein–inspired dish. If you don't have a spiralizer, use a vegetable peeler to make long strips.
You can also eat broccoli stems:
Yes! You can eat carrot tops. Use them just as you would any herb. Pro tip: When you buy untrimmed carrots, cut off the tops and store separately or they'll draw moisture from the carrots.
You can also eat carrot tops:
Recipes usually tell you to discard the dark green leek tops. Show them some love! Cooking them a bit longer makes them meltingly delicious. They're also high in fructans, a type of prebiotic fiber that contributes to good gut health.
You can also try leek tops:
Pictured: Farro, Kale & Squash Salad
Think kale ribs are too tough to eat? Think again. After a good charring in the skillet, kale stems add a tender-crisp bite and touch of smokiness.
Try kale ribs:
Love cauliflower rice? Get the most out of your head. Dice the ribs and cut the greens into slivers and throw them in. Because they're thicker, the ribs take a little more time, so cook in oil for 2 to 3 minutes before you add in the rest of your "rice" and the leaves.
Other ways to enjoy cauliflower stems:
Pictured: Chicken & Collard Green Spring Rolls
Woody collard stalks just need a little extra prep to show their softer side. For instance, a quick pickling turns collard stems from trash to a treasure, adding a pleasant tang to these leaf-wrapped spring rolls.
Some more ways to enjoy collard stalks:
Pictured: Roasted Beet Crostini
The entire beet plant—roots, stems and greens—is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. In this stunning appetizer, the beets are roasted then pureed with goat cheese for a creamy ruby-red spread. The greens and stems are sautéed with olive oil and garlic for the topping.
Some more ways to enjoy beet greens: