sausage and broccoli rabe pasta

how to use up your vegetables

organized Kitchen

Let’s talk about how you can use up all of your vegetables before they are no good.  Since quarantine started, my girlfriends and I do a FaceTime brunch every Saturday, and this is always one of our topics of conversation. 

“Can I freeze mushrooms?”

“How much longer do I have to use this asparagus?”

“What should I do with this spinach?”

Might sound like a lame brunch topic, (I personally think its incredibly interesting, but that’s just me…) but these brunches last three hours… to sometimes TEN HOURS… so we are all usually walking around, organizing, cooking, and doing chores while we do our virtual bottomless brunch.

Being quarantined and not being able to run out to the store with ease is another reason to find new ways to use up all of your vegetables in a tasty way.  Ryan and I have officially been quarantined for 2 months and I have to say, I am really proud of how much food we haven’t thrown out.  Where we live in New Jersey, grocery stores are still overwhelmed and it is hard to go shopping, or have groceries delivered in general.  I’ve always been a fan of reducing food waste, but during times like these, it is super important that we aren’t wasting any of the food that we get!

Not gonna lie- every time I have produce delivered from Harvest to Home, I always get a little carried away.  I can’t help myself!  Everything looks delicious, and I know their produce quality is amazing.  This is why I tend to overbuy.

Have you ever found yourself with a bag of spinach that you know only has 1 day left?  Or some kale that doesn’t seem as crisp as it was when you first bought it?  Are your mushrooms on their last leg?  Yes, you can always freeze your produce, or prep and then freeze them, but there are other options!  Below are my favorite ways, (and recipes!) to use up my vegetables before they go bad… and none of them involve making a salad!

spinach goat cheese quiche

bake a quiche!

I have been making lots of quiches since quarantine started.  Most dark leafy greens work great in quiche, like kale and spinach.  If I have cooked mushrooms in the fridge, or leftover caramelized onions, I toss them in too!  In my spinach and goat cheese quiche recipe, you can sub in whatever produce you want.. like kale, broccoli, or tomatoes, for the spinach.

vegetable stock

make a stock

I always keep a zip top bag in the freezer to throw vegetable scraps that have flavor, bones from meat, and vegetables that I don’t get around to using.  On my post where I talk about how to make vegetable stock, I share a list of veggies that are great to save for stock, and a simple recipe for a basic vegetable stock that I like to make.

chicken and bok choy ginger soup

add them to a soup

The options for using veggies or herbs in soups are endless!  Almost any vegetable can be an ingredient for soup.  All you need is stock (see section above if you don’t have any!), a fat:  like olive oil or butter, and seasoning.  Some of my fav soup recipes are my homemade chicken noodle soup, autumn minestrone, and chicken and bok choy ginger soup.

stuffed shells with spinach

make some lasagna, or stuffed shells.

I almost always incorporate spinach in my cheese filling for lasagna or stuffed shells, but you can really use so many other vegetables in these dishes.  Of course, you can sub kale for spinach, or you can saute some mushrooms, peppers and onions, or even cook up some zucchini!  Check out my stuffed shells with spinach recipe to see how I make my cheese filling

sun-dried tomato pesto pizza with sausage and kale

use them as toppings for pizza

Okay, so if you never had crispy kale on top of a pizza before, you’re totally missing out!  When I made this sun-dried tomato pesto pizza with sausage and kale, the kale was everyone’s favorite part.  Seriously!

sausage and broccoli rabe pasta

incorporate in a pasta dish

Pasta really is a perfect blank canvas for your produce.  In my orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, pasta with asparagus and pancetta, or sausage and pepper pasta, I basically saute the veggies in some olive oil with garlic (and sometimes onion)… sometimes add white wine… and thats the sauce!  Add some protein if you wish.  Check out those recipes for preparation, but again, feel free to substitute vegetables where you want!  Keep in mind, if you are subbing certain veggies, especially root vegetables like carrots, you may need to cook them a little longer.

fresh spinach pasta

mix it into a pasta dough

I don’t think people really understand how easy it is to make fresh spinach pasta.  Or kale pasta.  Or spinach gnocchi.  In my fresh spinach pasta recipe, all you need is a food processor, and you toss all the ingredients in.  The food processor literally breaks down the greens and can mix the dough for you, and all you need to do after is knead the dough.  Super healthy and SO DELICIOUS!