3 Ways to Use Your Leftover Greens in the Kitchen

by Shopify API
3 Ways to Use Your Leftover Greens in the Kitchen

3 Ways to Use Your Leftover Greens in the Kitchen

There is great virtue in practicing economy in the kitchen. Especially so during these times of COVID, when trips to the grocery store or market may be fewer and far between. In theory it sounds easy, but going about it in a sustainable way that is both useful and delicious is another thing entirely. Effective and enjoyable, economy takes practice and a bit of foresight.

One way to easily get started is by making the most of your dark, leafy greens (specifically the stems), as they can optimally be used to make a condiment that can live in the fridge for months, a side dish, or a full meal in their own right. So, moral of this post... save those stems!

Quick Pickled Green Stems

Pickling is a great way to make use of green stems that might otherwise be tossed, creating a delicious opportunity to brighten up a variety of meals. Toss it into salads, grains, scrambled eggs, and stews. Top it onto toast with hummus. Or just snack on it. The choice is yours.  

Ingredients

1 bunch kale, collard, chard, turnip, or beet stems
1 cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
a few whole peppercorns (optional)
2 to 3 smashed garlic cloves (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)

Descriptions

Wash the stems and chop into 1” long strips. In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1 cup of apple cider or red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt and sugar each, and stir to dissolve. Pack the chopped stems into a clean jar and pour the warm vinegar mixture over the vegetables to cover. For extra aromatics, add a few peppercorns, smashed garlic cloves, and a bay leaf. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Toss in some freshly grated parmesan if you like, and enjoy!

Makes 1 jar
Takes 40 minutes

Sautéed Green Stems with Garlic

Ingredients

1 bunch kale, collard, chard, turnip, or beet stems
1 cup apple cider or red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
a few whole peppercorns (optional)
2 to 3 smashed garlic cloves (optional)
1 bay leaf (optional)

Descriptions

Wash the stems and chop into 1” long strips. In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1 cup of apple cider or red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of salt and sugar each, and stir to dissolve. Pack the chopped stems into a clean jar and pour the warm vinegar mixture over the vegetables to cover. For extra aromatics, add a few peppercorns, smashed garlic cloves, and a bay leaf. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Makes 2 servings, as a small side
Takes 10 minutes

Green Stem Soup

Leafy green stems, as well as fennel stalks, broccoli stalks and the like, can be a a great base for a light yet satisfying, deeply nutritious soup. Make it a habit to chop and store these bits in the freezer until you have accumulated enough to make this lovely stem soup.

Ingredients

2-3 cups vegetable stems or stalks, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
4 cups bone broth, chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water
1 cup leafy greens (kale, collards, turnip, chard, etc), roughly chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
grated parmesan, for serving (optional)

Descriptions

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add a generous glug of olive oil. Toss in the chopped stems, garlic, and onion, and season with a little salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the broth or water, salt, and bring to a gentle boil over high heat. If using collard greens, go ahead and put them in the pot now. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. If using kale, chard, or turnip greens, add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Ladle into shallow bowls and top with grated parmesan, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy with a piece of good toast to soak up the broth.

Makes 2 servings as a meal, or 4 as an appetizer
Takes 35 minutes

Chef Notes

For the first two: serve in bowls with a generous serving of freekeh on the bottom. Once vegetables have been added, top with lemon-tahini sauce. Add plenty of chopped herbs like chives, parsley, or cilantro (optional). Enjoy!

Cally Robertson

Cally Robertson is a Los Angeles-based chef and artist whose only rule of thumb in the kitchen is to cook seasonally and with economy, the goal being to get the most pleasure and use out of available ingredients. She is the host of Cally's Cafe, a pre-COVID-19 supper club, and a quilter of scraps and recycled fabrics.

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