Tips to Go “Whole Veg” at Home
by Alisa Teglia | July 8th, 2015
How many of you race to the grocery store at dinner time, pick up a bunch of broccoli, and when you get home, cut off the florets and cook them, discarding the leaves and stalks? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – most of us have done it. But the cool thing is, we don’t have to. You can actually use the stalks and leaves from broccoli as well as the skins and bulbs from other organic veggies – everything from root-to-stalk. All it takes is a little know-how.
Whole vegetable cooking is something every home cook can embrace – and something I have come to love. Knowing how to shave stalks or chop stems to fix a salad or use as an herb suddenly makes broccoli, beets and other vegetables fun to cook with in new ways. The best part is that once you pick up a few new techniques, your views on veggies and the entire produce section becomes inspiration to try new dishes for lunch, dinner or snacks.
Here are some simple ways that will help you go “whole veg” at home:
- Use the leaves. Vegetables like radishes, celery and broccoli, have leaves that are tender and delicious. They add flavor, interest and texture when folded into traditional recipes, and can be used creatively to make entirely new dishes. Radish leaves are spicy like arugula and serve as a nice alternative to lettuce. Beet greens can also be used for a fresh salad or sautéed like spinach. Broccoli has beautiful, deep green leaves that can be cooked along with florets or quickly tossed to make a Skillet Broccoli Stalk side dish.
- Apply new cooking methods. Most people tend to roast beets, but they can be chopped or sliced raw and turned into a fresh salad or slaw, like a Shredded Beet Salad. Instead of steaming or roasting cauliflower, it can be cut into thick “steaks” and grilled for an entrée. Celery ribs can be braised or baked on their own to become a delicious stand-alone side dish.
- Cook traditionally fresh salad veggies. Some vegetables are believed to be only eaten raw, but are surprisingly delicious when cooked. Romaine, for example, is mostly thought of as a fresh salad lettuce. However, when placed in a hot skillet or on the grill, it transforms into a warm, smoky side dish, such as Caramelized Romaine Hearts. Radishes are more than fresh accoutrements or garnish. When roasted, they turn into a soft and nutty-tasting warm vegetable that pairs well with any meat.
- Save the stems and stalks. Most chard recipes call for stalks to be removed, but they add a lot of texture and substance to any dish. A quick simmer in liquid, like vegetable broth, will soften them right up, and they tend to retain their beautiful color, especially red and rainbow chard like in this Chard Parmesan Tart. Lacinato kale can be prepared in the same way, adding beneficial fiber and a little crunch to a meal.
- Purchase a new peeler. Many home kitchens have vegetable peelers that are old and frustratingly dull. Pitch the vintage piece and purchase a scalpel-quality new one for $10 or less. A quick, sharp blade glides smoothly and quickly, transforming fresh vegetable stalks, bulbs and skins into meals moms, dads and kids will love.
Those are easy enough, don’t you think? All of the Josie’s Organics recipes and tips help make cooking organic vegetables at home convenient and delicious for the whole family. And they’re just one click away at www.new.josnewline.moxxywebdev2.com/recipes. We’ll be sharing more whole veg tips throughout the year, and we’d love to see your success. Just snap a pic of your dish and tag @josiesorganics along with the hashtag #WholeVegCooking on Instagram or Twitter so we can find you!