For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a presentation that I’m giving at a conference next month. The topic is how to make local foods affordable—cooking on a very limited budget. As I stewed over ideas and started testing recipes and calculating costs, I had some ‘ah ha’ moments.
Part of saving money on our food budget is about not wasting food. Every time we pitch uneaten food into the trash, we’re throwing money away. The average American family throws out $1,600 worth of food a year!
I started realizing the ways in which I’m guilty of that practice—not drinking all of the milk before it spoils, having a loaf of bread go stale, letting vegetables wilt in the crisper before I get to cook or eat them. It adds up!
So when I saw The Recipe Redux theme this month—spring cleaning, or using up all the ingredients that seem to hang around for awhile—it really hit home. I’ve vowed to be more inventive in my cooking and put all those bits and pieces to good use—and nourishment!
I have lots of ideas I've developed over the last month, and I'll be sharing those over the next few weeks. But, I'm starting with broccoli stalks, which don’t get a lot of love. Sometimes I roast them with the broccoli florets. Sometimes I shred them in salads. But I played with some recipes and found they are absolutely delicious when turned into a salsa verde, which is basically just a fancy name for a green sauce.
I pureed the broccoli stalks (I didn’t even peel them) with cilantro, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, sea salt and red pepper flakes. Use it the same way you would pesto or chimichurri. I put it on top of a potato hash, mashed it with avocado for a zesty avocado toast, and just ate it out of the bowl with a spoon.
What are your best waste-saving tips? We’d love to hear!
Broccoli Stalk Salsa Verde
Makes about 2 cups
Stalks from a large bunch of broccoli
½ of a bunch of cilantro, stems and leaves (about 1 cup)
Zest and juice of one lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
Large pinch of red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process together until smooth. Use as a dip, topping for toast, or sauce for eggs. Or, use your imagination!