FoodReclaiming vegetable scraps: Nutritious recipes from overlooked greens

Reclaiming vegetable scraps: Nutritious recipes from overlooked greens

Pesto
Pesto
Images source: © Getty Images | Chiara Salvadori

7 July 2024 20:57

Carrot, radish, and cauliflower leaves are typically treated as unnecessary waste and thrown into the bin. It's a pity because they hide a lot of nutritional value, and they're also very tasty. How can they be used in the kitchen?

Carrot leaf salad

Carrots are one of the most popular vegetables in British cuisine, but usually, only the root is used. Meanwhile, an equally interesting product is the carrot tops, from which we can prepare a delicious salad.

Carrot leaves can be slightly bitter. How to get rid of the bitterness? The tops should be poured over with boiling water and then with cold water. Then just chop them (not too finely) and mix with chopped red onion and radish, a grated piece of fresh ginger, and a bit of coconut flakes. Add some olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.

Stuffed cabbage in horseradish leaves

We eagerly reach for the horseradish root, but its leaves are usually treated as an unnecessary weed, even though they have an enjoyable, slightly spicy taste. However, they can successfully replace cabbage in popular stuffed cabbage. How do you prepare this delicious dish?

Cook barley (one cup) according to the package instructions, in water or broth, and then mix thoroughly with finely chopped onion (you can sauté it lightly beforehand), diced red pepper, pressed garlic (2-3 cloves), a raw egg, and ground meat, preferably pork shoulder (about 800 grams). Season the resulting mixture with salt and pepper. Remove the thick stems from the large horseradish leaves, then blanch them (immerse in boiling water for several seconds, then "shock" in cold water) and dry. Finally, spread a portion of the stuffing on them and wrap. Simmer the stuffed cabbage in broth (e.g., mushroom) for about an hour.

Radish leaf pesto

Radish leaves are a treasure trove of valuable nutrients, including vitamin C (twice as much as citrus fruits). They're worth using to make an alternative version of pesto, a tasty addition to sandwiches or pasta dishes.

Wash and dry the leaves from a bunch of radishes (young, not wilted, without discoloration), then blanch them briefly, immersing them in boiling water for several seconds and cooling them in ice water. Finally, blend them with toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds (two tablespoons each), chopped walnuts (one tablespoon), grated Parmesan (two tablespoons), pressed garlic (two cloves), and olive oil (five to six tablespoons)—season with salt, pepper, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Cauliflower leaf chips

Cauliflower leaves contain a lot of fibre, which regulates bowel function and facilitates the removal of toxic metabolic products. They are great as a base for a healthy alternative to store-bought chips.

The task is simple. To make cauliflower leaf chips, just cut them into smaller pieces, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with your favourite seasonings (e.g., salt, smoked paprika, or dried rosemary), and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

Kohlrabi leaf smoothie

We value kohlrabi for its delicate, sweet-spicy taste. Its leaves, which can be used to make a delicious and healthy smoothie, are equally valuable.

To make it, you only need rinsed kohlrabi leaves (a handful), a banana, a peeled and cored pear, and a cup of orange juice. Blend all the ingredients well. The smoothie is worth chilling in the refrigerator.

Carrot leaf chimichurri

It goes well with grilled meats, fish, or vegetables, but can also be used as a marinade or a sandwich topping. The base of the Argentine sauce is parsley, but it can be successfully made from fresh carrot leaves as well.

Cocktail
Cocktail© Getty Images | Tatyana Kildisheva

In a small bowl, mix finely chopped leaves (one cup), chopped garlic (one clove), red pepper flakes (half a teaspoon), dried oregano (one teaspoon), and sweet paprika (one teaspoon). Add white wine vinegar and olive oil (a quarter cup each). Mix, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cold soup with borage

"Excellent food for the frail", – wrote a 16th-century botanist about the plant characterised by the refreshing taste of fresh cucumbers. Today, borage seed oil is valued above all, but our ancestors also used its young leaves in the kitchen, for example, to prepare a delicious cold soup.

Finely chop a bunch of fresh borage leaves, then cook for 10 minutes in vegetable broth (about 600 ml). After cooling, add kefir mixed with thick 18% sour cream (each about 400 ml), a few grated radishes, chopped dill and chives (two tablespoons each), and 2-3 pressed garlic cloves. Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and chill in the refrigerator. Serve the cold soup with wedges of hard-boiled egg.

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