Let’s be real for a sec and come to terms that we all have times where we are just not using our local veggies as fast as we would like to.
We get busy, things happen, we don’t feel motivated to cook, the list is endless.
But, the last thing we want to do is waste any of those local veggies!
Never fear, I’ve got 8 easy vegetable exit strategies to help make sure you don’t waste any food and hopefully they inspire some creativity too!
1. Freeze Local Veggies
This is a simple way to use up all of the….that’s sitting on your counter/in the crisper drawer/in the back of your fridge! All you need to do is google how to freeze...and you find all the info you need. It may feel intimidating at first but freezing veggies is actually a lot simpler than you think. Plus, you’ll thank yourself later when you can pull that bag of tomatoes, corn, greens, or peppers from the freezer and have a quick meal in front of you!
Grilling is a simple way to make any local veggies taste spectacular. Similar to roasting, but you get the smoky, caramelized flavor from grilling that you can’t achieve in an oven! Just be sure to cut your veggies big enough that they won't fall through the grill or use a cast iron pan on the grill to cook smaller veggies.
Did you know that you can make pesto out
of more than just basil? You basically just
need greens! Here’s the basic formula: greens/herbs (or both!) + cheese + nuts + garlic + oil + salt = pesto. You can easily freeze pesto so you don’t have to eat it all right away! Use it on pasta, grilled meat, mix with mayo, cream cheese, or butter to flavor it, or mix it will more olive oil and vinegar to make your own salad dressing!
When you have anything that looks like a root vegetable building up in your kitchen, roast it! Peel if necessary (or leave skins on as much as possible, lots of nutrients are in the skin), cube, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees until for tender (30-45 min). Don’t overload your roasting pan; the more space you give those roots, the more caramelized and crunchy they get!
Remember that your greens are the first items you should eat out of your box because they are the most perishable! Salad greens and micro greens are simple and easy to eat, but sometimes we get stuck in a rut of the same old salad. To keep it interesting, try adding grains like couscous or quinoa, make your own dressings, add grated roots, dried fruit, goat cheese, and nuts. Lettuce and micro greens are really the only greens you can’t blanch and freeze or sauté.
Sauté, pan fry, stir fry...all of these are super easy exit strategies for veggies! Chop it, shred it, add it to a pan with olive oil, garlic, onion, spices and you’ve got an instant side dish! Add it into a noodle bowl, on top of a grain, add some sauce, and you’ve got a meal! Scramble a few eggs into it at the end and you’ve got a breakfast hash. Get creative!
7. Sheet Pan Meal
Sheet pan meals are my favorite! The basic formula is protein + veggie + starch on a baking sheet with olive oil and herbs. Simply do a google search for sheet pan meals and you’ll have plenty of ideas to get your creative juices flowing with the ingredients you have on hand!
I sometimes call this exit strategy “refrigerator soup”! When the backlog in the fridge is real, soup is a great option. You can make the soup and eat it right away or freeze it for later! OR you can chop up uncooked ingredients, pop them into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer, and then when you’re ready to make your soup another day, just add broth and cook! Easy peasy.
There are many other ideas you could add to the list, but these are definitely the go-to standards that are simple, useful, and tasty to boot!