Do you ever go to the grocery store or farmer’s market and end up with a lot of beautiful produce that somehow ends up in the back of your fridge? A brightly-colored squash or pumpkin that ends up forgotten in your cupboard?
We often have great intentions when we buy lots of vegetables: we think we’ll throw carrots into a soup or we’ll make zucchini pasta. So how can we use up those vegetables that don’t seem to fit into our regular meals?
- Use squash and leafy greens in a lasagna: slice firm squashes, zucchini, and eggplant very thinly, or add spinach or swiss chard and bake it into a lasagna
- Use vegetable tops for homemade stock: fennel, carrot tops, ends of leeks, and leftover onion can be thrown into your freezer. When you have free time put the vegetables into a slow cooker with some water and leave on for at least 8 hours. You’ll end up with a beautiful, incredibly flavorful homemade broth that you can freeze for use in soups and sauces, or use within about a week if left in the fridge.
Tip: Asparagus will make a very strong-smelling stock. Do not use leftover asparagus for this purpose.
- Blend leafy greens with garlic and nuts into a pesto. Pesto lasts in a jar for a long time for pastas and spreads, just make sure you leave a little extra virgin olive oil on top so it doesn’t discolour. Or store it in the freezer for several weeks, for a ready to go pasta sauce.
- Bake vegetables into muffins. Carrots, pumpkin, and zucchini all can be incorporated into muffins, adding vitamins, moisture, and a bunch of flavor.
- Use extra vegetables in smoothies. Kids won’t notice if their chocolate smoothie with dates or banana have a handful of leafy greens in it – just don’t go overboard, or the texture and taste may be too much. Start with a little and slowly increase as the weeks go on.
- Use extra veggies for dips. Bell peppers, for example, can be incorporated into a hummus, and simple salsas are fabulous mixed into a homemade guacamole.
- Soft tomatoes can be used for homemade pasta sauces or for simple tomato soups.
- Onions: If you end up with a bunch of onions that are about to turn, caramelize them by cooking them with a little oil on medium-low heat for about an hour, stirring them in the pan before they get crisp (a little water also helps keep them moist). Caramelized onions are a delicious addition to sandwiches and roasts and will be eaten up VERY quickly!
With all of those great intentions to eat more vegetables, let’s make sure we’re actually eating them! Try our Whole Foods Lifestyle Program for more great tips on how you can easily and effectively give your family the nutritional boost they need!