Most people don't like to waste food. Especially if you have ever been through a time in your life when you didn't have enough food, it can really make you think twice. Did it ever occur to you that you're literally throwing money in the garbage when you let food go bad?
Or maybe it's not that you're letting your vegetables go bad, maybe you don't have enough to go around. Here are a few ways to use vegetables to make sure you don't waste food or money!
Here are the three ways I use vegetables to keep them from going to waste.
Stir fry can be complicated or simple, but let's go for simple and use those leftover vegetables. You can use a wok if you have one, but a cast iron or stainless steel skillet will work great as well.
Hopefully you aren't using non-stick pans but if you do, please avoid them for stir fry because you'll be cooking at high temperatures.
Heat your skillet on medium-high and plunk a tablespoon or so of your favorite fat (I really like using coconut oil [affiliate link] with stir fry) into the skillet and start with one or two cups of vegetables. You'll want to stir every few seconds so they can cook but not scorch or burn. Cook in batches of one to two cups at a time, and as each batch is done, move the vegetables to a large bowl, replenish the oil and do the next batch.
Here are some good combinations, but as I said before, use what you have on hand!
- Cabbage, carrots, peas, green beans, onions [affiliate link], garlic, yellow crookneck squash
- Celery, onions, carrots, asparagus, spinach, mushrooms
- Onions, garlic, red and green bell peppers, ginger [affiliate link], green beans, cabbage
- Broccoli, mushrooms, onions, carrots, peas
Don't forget to use leftover meat in stir fry.
And one more thing… consider the way you prepare the vegetables. You can use a potato peeler to peel long strips of carrots for carrot noodles, a julienne slicer for matchstick sized pieces of zucchini. You would be surprised at how different and pretty your food can be when you mix it up a little when you're cutting it up.
My mom did this when I was growing up, and I started doing it when I moved out on my own. It's so simple. Just keep a dedicated freezer safe container in the same place in your freezer (a gallon Ziploc freezer bag works great if you're short on space) and every time you have any leftover vegetables instead of tossing them, put them into the container.
Before too long you'll have enough to make a great pot of soup. My favorite method is make chicken stock, then strain out the bones. Add your container of vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and dinner is ready!
Another favorite way to use leftover vegetables is to make quiche.
And you don't really need a crust, although you could make one from coconut flour.
You’ll need around two cups of steamed or sautéed vegetables for a 9-1/2″ pie pan. Season the vegetables by adding salt and pepper, onion powder and garlic powder [affiliate link]. Season them to taste, and if you're using a pie crust, prebake it first.
Spoon the vegetables into the pie crust or even an empty pie tin when they are fork tender. If you can eat dairy products, grate in some cheddar cheese. Then scramble 3 or 4 eggs [affiliate link] and pour in on top of the vegetables.
Bake at 350°F until the top is lightly browned and firm, about twenty minutes. Cool for 20 minutes and serve. Quiche is also delicious cold, super quick for breakfast on the go, a great finger food if you need something easy for lunch at work and don’t have the time or means to heat it.
Let me know in the comments if you have used any of these ways to utilize leftover vegetables!