The Imperfect Digest

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Waste Less, Save More! Why You Should Start Cooking "Root to Leaf"

Waste Less, Save More! Why You Should Start Cooking "Root to Leaf"

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It’s a new year so you’re probably looking to save some money, eat better, and waste less food. The easiest way to do all 3 is by embracing “root to leaf” cooking, finding creative ways to use every part of the vegetables that we cook with. This way you make your grocery dollars stretch farther while becoming a better cook. What’s not to love? Here are four vegetables that are excellent candidates for your next “root to leaf” recipe:

  • Leek greens- You’re not the only one who has bought leeks and then composted the greens. We have all done it, but it’s pretty absurd when you realize that the green part is basically half of the leek. It’s like buying a pair of socks and then throwing one out as soon as you get home. Leek greens have a wonderfully rich, vegetal flavor that’s perfect for your next winter soup or batch of stock/broth. They’re also great sauteed with pasta or eggs!

  • Beet greens- Beets and chard are in the same plant family, which means that beet greens are essentially just undersized chard leaves! They taste very similar to chard and are excellent sauteed in some olive oil with garlic and drizzled with lemon juice. They're also great additions to a healthy beet salad

  • Carrot tops- In comedy and in the kitchen, carrot tops have been forgotten and overlooked. It’s a shame because carrot leaves make excellent additions to sauces like chimichurri.

  • Fennel fronds- Like leek greens and carrot tops, fennel fronds are an enormous piece of a commonly-used vegetable that aren't always appreciated or even used in our cooking. We love throwing fennel fronds into a braising liquid as they infuse it with a wonderful sweet flavor. They’re also excellent thinly shaved in salads or incorporated into pesto!

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