Carrot top pesto and how to reduce food waste

A few years ago, I realized how much food waste I was generating. I have always tried to organize my fridge and pantry in a way that would allow me to use all products on time, but I am far from perfect, and it happens from time to time that I simply forget about something and have to throw it out after it expired. However, I still eat some things that are after the expiration date as I believe that nothing is going to happen to me as long as it still looks and smells good. And I’m still here, alive and healthy 🙂

But today I want to talk about different kind of food waste – kitchen scraps. What do you do with your kitchen scraps? I’ve been thinking about vermicomposting, but there are times when I travel for more than two weeks and wouldn’t be able to maintain it plus I don’t have a garden and my plants are healthy and happy even without the precious worm castings, and therefore at this moment this wouldn’t be the right choice for me.

So, what else should I do with perfectly good peels or stalks? After doing some research I found out that there are so many ways of using these scraps and started experimenting in my kitchen.

The easiest way of using most of the kitchen scraps is preparing your homemade vegetable stock. Just take your carrot, kohlrabi, celery and potato peels, onion and garlic skin, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, add some spices, such as black pepper, bay leaves and salt, cook for 30 minutes, strain through a sieve and voila! You made your own stock that is much healthier than the store bough one as it doesn’t include any yummy ingredients that you can’t even pronounce. I store my kitchen scraps in the freezer until I have enough to make the stock. I usually make it every couple of months or so.

Have you thought about roasting potato peels? Wash them, mix them with some olive oil and spices that you like, roast until nice and crunchy, and enjoy. They are something between potato chips and fries and simply delicious – a great snack for a movie evening at home.

Did you know that broccoli stalks are edible and contain more calcium, iron and Vitamin C than the florets? So, don’t throw them out. They are great in soup or stir fry. And what about herbs stalks? They are perfect to infuse olive oil, vinegar or your homemade vegetable stock. You can also re-grow your veggies! I’ve been re-growing leeks, spring onions and celery for a few months and it’s so rewarding to see them growing. You also save some money! And if you have a few old wrinkly apples you can slice them in rings, place them in the oven or dehydrator and make apple chips!

There are many other ways to use your kitchen scraps. It just requires some creativity and effort. I love buying radish with young and healthy leaves as I can turn them into delicious pesto. And when I’m lucky and find carrots with greens I cannot just pass by. I have to get them as they make delicious pesto too. They can be eaten raw as well as cooked. They might be mildly bitter, and you can blanch them to get rid of the bitter taste. I’ve tried to blanch them before, but I must say that I prefer them raw.

This pesto is very easy and full of flavor. You can eat it with crackers, pasta, potato salad or veggie sticks. The carrot greens have much more vitamin C than the roots and they also contain potassium and calcium, so why would you throw them out? Let’s enjoy this green deliciousness!

What do we need?

1 big bunch carrot greens
1 small red onion
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup olive oil (can be replaced by cold water if you eat oil free)
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it?

This is one of the easiest recipes ever and I’m sure that even ‘kitchen virgins’ could make it.

Place the young and soft parts of carrot top greens in a big bowl. Pick out and discard any dry, yellowed, or brown leaves. Discard tough stems. It’s important to only use the young and soft parts as the tough stems and old leaves are not that tasty. It takes some time to remove them from the stems, but it is worth it.

Fill the bowl with warm water, stir it well and let sit for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the leaves from the bowl so that the sand stays at the bottom of the bottom. Rinse them well to remove any remaining sand or dirt. Let the leaves dry on a clean kitchen towel.

Place the leaves with mint in the food processor and process just for a few seconds. Then add all other ingredients and process until you get the desired texture. I like my pesto thick but if you want it thinner you can add a couple of tbsp cold water and process again. Taste the mixture ,and add salt and pepper to taste.

Store in a closed jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Yes, it’s this easy and I am sure that you will love it!

Thank you for visiting!

Cheers!

Martina

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