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Have you embraced the "root to stem" movement?

The concept is similar to the meat world's nose-to-tail mindset; it's a zero-waste strategy for produce that promotes using less-common parts of ingredients. (For example, carrot green pesto or kitchen scrap veggie stock.)

To make the most of our produce investment—and to have the least impact on the environment—we're always on the hunt for new ways to max out every ingredient for our meals. (BTW, anything we miss or don't make it to before it goes bad gains a new life in our compost.)

Yesterday on her daytime talk show, Rachael Ray introduced us to a fantastic new source for dozens of waste-reducing ideas. Carleigh Bodrug, creator of the blog PlantYou and author of the upcoming cookbook by the same name (buy it: $27 on Amazon), has a whole series about "scrappy cooking." To date, she's taught her 1 million TikTok followers how to use pineapple skin in tea, how to infuse vinegar with strawberry tops, how to candy orange peels and so much more.

The idea that really caught Ray's eye (and ours) is a brilliant French fry alternative using an under-utilized ingredient: Crunchy Broccoli Stem Fries.

"One bite of these healthy baked fries and you'll never throw out broccoli stems again," Bodrug says, as she teaches Ray—and us—how to DIY in the segment.

Rachel Ray on a designed background
Credit: Getty Images / Laura Cavanaugh

"Take a small paring knife or even a potato peeler and peel off that skin," Bodrug suggests, as she begins to prep the broccoli stems (florets removed). Slice the stems into fry shapes, then dunk in a bowl filled with plain unsweetened almond milk. Transfer to a bowl filled with all-purpose flour, toss to coat, then repeat the milk-flour steps once more. Next, pop each fry into a bowl filled with breadcrumbs or panko, turning to coat all sides evenly.

"Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet," Bodrug says. "Now pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees."

Season with salt and pepper, then serve with your dipping sauce of choice.

These are giving us some major zucchini fry vibes, just with a cold weather seasonal produce makeover. We can't wait to make any day a fry-day with this recipe for Crunchy Broccoli Stem Fries. It sounds like a delicious way to make the most of our broccoli haul all season long, and we plan to make it our own by mixing up the seasoning in the breadcrumbs and giving this a go in the air fryer, too!