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No Waste Allowed

June 29, 2011

I’m trying to go for a limited waste garden zone.  It’s not easy…and so far I’ve failed at keeping up with spinach and arugula before it bolted.  I’ve also got tons of lettuce still out there I need to eat or give away before it goes bad too. 

I’m sure there will be more fails…its so crazy how the garden can get away from you in just a matter of days.  Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to stay home and tend to the garden all day!  It’s just so sad to throw away something that could have been eaten and enjoyed.  I even get sad when I end up pitching seedlings in the spring, because there just isn’t room to keep taking care of them and no more homes left to go to.  Does that make me sad for being sad about that?  Hmm. 

And when I say throw away…it’s usually into a pile behind my kitchen garden area.  It’s an unofficial compost pile…that just decays or looks like a pile of ugly dead plants.  One of my goals this growing season is to get a sweet compost pile started.  I tried a few years ago and it didn’t work out the greatest.  But I’m ready to try again…and you can be sure I’ll be posting about that in the future!

Another way to reduce waste is to utilize the whole plant (the edible parts of course)…not just the pretty parts you’re used to eating.  Broccoli is a good example.  I usually buy and grow broccoli for the dark green crunchy florets that are an amazing addition to just about any meal.  But most times the remaining edible stalk gets tossed.  I’m guessing a lot of you do the same.  Unfortunately it’s often one of those things that gets overlooked.

Broccoli stalk

The broccoli stalk is filled with nutrients just like its more popular top part, with higher levels of Vitamin C and calcium and lower levels of other nutrients.  The stalk has a nice mild and somewhat sweet flavor.  Peeled and sliced stalk pieces really are an obvious choice to add to any stir-fry dish, as they would be a good substitute for water chesnuts.  I include broccoli in my stir-fry all the time and will be sure to add the stem next time for an extra crunch.   

You could also make your own broccoli slaw.  Just peel and throw into your food processor with your grater blade.  Always be sure to peel the stem as that outer skin is tough stuff.

Broccoli Head Stalks

I found inspiration from Kalyn’s Kitchen for a broccoli stem salad that was super easy.  And boy did it hit the spot after a nice hot session of outdoor yoga.  Looks like hot weather is arriving for us Iowans and I don’t know about you, but a nice chilled salad is sometimes all I can handle when it’s  super steamy out.  This one definitely fits the bill and is entirely flexible to add whatever crunchy vegetable you’d prefer. 

Crunchy Asian Broccoli Stem Salad

1 C Broccoli stem, peeled and sliced

1 C Red cabbage, rough chopped

1 C Sugar snap peas, sliced to bite-size pieces (I used less as I didn’t have a whole cup worth)

(Could also use other crunchies like green pepper or green cabbage)


1 T soy sauce

1 T roasted sesame oil (less if you use regular sesame oil, its much stronger)

1 T apple cider or rice wine vinegar

1 tsp garlic, minced

Salt & Pepper to taste

Cilantro for garnish

2 large lettuce leaves

Peel and slice broccoli stem into bite-sized pieces.  Then chop up red cabbage and sugar snap peas and toss together with broccoli stems. 

Chopped broccoli stem, red cabbage, peas

In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, roasted sesame oil, vinegar, garlic and S&P.  Pour over broccoli stem mixture and toss well to coat thoroughly.  Plate onto lettuce leaves and top with cilantro.   If you have some toasted almond slivers, add those too….I did not.

Crunchy Asian Broccoli Stem Salad

I’m such a sucker for anything with sesame and cilantro.  One of my fav flavor combos. 

Crunchy Broccoli Stem Salad

Crunchy and delish.  The best part was wrapping the lettuce around the salad as you get to the bottom. 

I’m sharing this refreshing salad idea with A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa. 🙂

What’s your favorite kind of meals to eat when its super hot outside?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2011 2:42 am

    This recipe looks amazing! Think I’m going to have to give it a try 😉

    I found your blog from a Simple Lives Thursday link, but plan to check in regularly – you really have some great posts!


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