If you haven’t read our latest guest post with Rachel Wood, of REAL(est) Health you can catch up over here! Rachel got real about eating whole foods to reduce food waste and shared one of her easy, go-to recipes to get started! You most likely have everything handy for a clean-out-the-fridge veggie bowl and honestly, who doesn’t need to clean out the fridge? This is an awesome, mix-n-match formula for those nights when you have a bunch of produce slowly wilting in the crisper and very good intentions. Not only is this a great use-it-up approach for cooking produce, it’s a great practice in improvisational cooking! Leave room to experiment in the kitchen–you’ll become a better cook and that creativity will pay off.
Use-it-up bowls also help you avoid excess processed foods and get the most bang for your buck at the grocery store! I don’t know about y’all but when I successfully use up an entire head of cabbage I do a little dance. As with most other vegetables about to expire in my fridge… I’ve got a whole choreographed thing. Try out this formula however you see fit. As Rachel noted–it’s not an exact science but this outline recipe has helped save countless zucchinis, mushrooms and bundles of wilted kale from the trash. It’s a great way to get more seasonal veggies in as well! Enjoy
An easy, use-it-up formula to help you get the most out of your leftover produce!
- 1 1/2 cup whole grains (brown rice, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, etc.)* + water for cooking
- 1 - 2 tsp avocado or olive oil
- aromatics (can be 1-2 cloves of garlic or 1 medium onion)
- 1/2 cup cooked beans or 1 block tofu/tempeh (chopped into ½ inch cubes) or protein of choice
- 3 cups veggies (2-3 different types) chopped in your preferred style
- 1 small bundle of leafy greens (kale, chard, bok choy, etc.) chopped
- 1/3 cup veggie stock or water
- salt, pepper, other seasonings of your choice
- sauce or dressing of your choosing
- 1 medium shallot
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Start the process of cooking your grains whether it’s on the stove top or in an appliance, that way you can saute everything else while the grains are cooking. (We used brown rice - a 2:1 water to rice ratio. Combine 1 cup rinsed brown rice with 2 cups water and a dash of salt. Cover and bring to a boil, turn down heat to low and let simmer about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 and fluff.)
While your grains are cooking, heat up your skillet to medium high and add oil and aromatics. Saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. If using tofu, add in ½ inch cubed tofu, salt, pepper and any other desired seasonings and saute until brown on all sides. If using beans, just add beans in with heartiest veggies in step 3.
Reduce the skillet heat to medium and add in your veggies, starting with most dense or tough. Things such as anything frozen, cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower) or hearty vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, kale ribs. Saute for approx 4 - 5 minutes or until colors just begin to brighten. Then add your lighter veggies (peas, celery, mushrooms, etc.) half the veggie stock, and saute just about 1-2 minutes.
Lastly, add your chopped greens, the remaining veggie stock, and more seasonings if needed, and cover with lid to steam. Check every minute, toss and cover with lid until greens are just wilted and tender, adjusting seasonings as you go.
(Optional) If using shallot dressing - mince or finely chop shallot over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes or until translucent. Add to small bowl and add in 1:1 parts olive oil and red wine vinegar. Mix thoroughly.
Add grains, then skillet mixture to a bowl and top with ~2 tbsp of sauce or dressing and enjoy.
* You could also swap the grains for sweet potato if you have it on hand. For two people, I would suggest two medium potatoes.
Do you have a go-to use-it up recipe? Let us know! #closedloopcooking