9 Recipes That Start with Veggie Scraps
From potato peelings to broccoli stems to the woody ends of asparagus, vegetable scraps often find their way into the trash. But despite what might seem like undesirable texture, when prepared with care, many of these scraps still pack a huge flavor punch. Save them, and you'll not only be saving money; you'll also be doing your part to save the planet. Here are seven of our favorite ways to use veggie scraps in the kitchen.
Whenever you're trimming mushrooms, asparagus, or artichokes, you end up with scraps, and while there's rarely enough to use right away, if you save them, you'll be well on your way to a delicious stock. Keep carrot ends, potato peels, onion skins, herb stems, and anything else you'd usually toss in a container in the freezer. Add to it over time, and when you have enough, use them in this recipe for a rich, fragrant vegetable broth. Use the broth as a base for other recipes, or just sip it in place of water.
While the most traditional main ingredient for pesto is certainly basil, you can make this delicious pasta sauce with a host of different scraps. Consider this tasty carrot top pesto or use up broccoli stems in this tasty broccoli pesto. You can even use a combination of herbs and lettuces like arugula or spinach to stretch the scraps you have.
If you have a juicer at home, you'll know that making these drinks can leave behind quite a bit of pulp. Take advantage of what's left to add substance and texture to veggie burgers. This recipe specifically calls for carrot pulp, but you could easily sub beet, pumpkin, or sweet potato – or even use a combo!
We've all bought too many veggies at the supermarket, only to discover a languishing pepper or tomato at the bottom of the crisper drawer days or weeks later. While it might not seem appetizing at first, even a wrinkled or wilted veggie will be delicious roasted and then blended into a pasta sauce. For this recipe, consider using any vegetables common to Italian cuisine: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, and zucchini will all make this sauce even more delicious.
A recipe calls for two cups of butternut squash, but the squash you bought yields two and a half; you only need a pound of Brussels sprouts, but the smallest bag at the store is 18 ounces. Sound familiar? When you've got little quantities of odds and ends that need to be used up, a vegetarian quiche is just the thing. And as long as you have the same volume of veggies, you can swap out the suggested ingredients for whatever you have on-hand.
Tougher veggie ends like broccoli stems and asparagus ends might not be palatable to chew on, but puréed and strained, they can make a delicious creamy velouté. This cream of broccoli soup is the perfect way to use up these odds and ends.
The florets are certainly the most sought-after parts of members of the broccoli and cauliflower family, but the stems are the perfect main ingredient in this gluten-free cauliflower pizza base. If you don't mind a slightly verdent hue to your pizza crust, you could even add the stems of related veggies like broccoflower or romanesco.
It might not be as tasty as some of the other ideas on this list, but simmering spice is a fragrant way to make your house smell lovely and use up any leftover apple, orange, or lemon peel. Set a pan of it on the stovetop, and your house can smell like Christmas all year long.