Compost Cooking!

Mindful cooks, through the generations, have had ways to reduce food waste: stir fry, frittata, quiche, quesadillas, soups, stews, homemade broth, etc. Of late, many professional chefs are challenging themselves to use food that would otherwise be wasted. Here are a few of their successful experiments:


Brussels Sprout Stems

* San Francisco Chef Chris Cosentino splits Brussels sprout stems lengthwise and roasts them with salt, pepper, and olive oil; the inner “marrow” of the stem can be delicious when served on grilled bread.

slicedBSleavesBrussels Sprout Leaves

  • Leaves of Brussels sprouts can be cooked like kale or collards: Stack the leaves and cut horizontally into wide strips, then sauté in a hot skillet with olive oil. (You can crush a couple of garlic cloves and let them warm in the oil before adding the greens. The whole crushed cloves lend a soft garlicky flavor – remove them or eat them before serving.) Add a scant pinch of chili flakes for some spiciness.

DSCN0417 - Edited
Carrot Tops

* Carrot Top Pesto – (recipe developed by James Beard Award-Winning Cookbook Author Diane Morgan)

Serve as a dip with crackers and/or crudites or on top of bruschetta smeared with fresh goat cheese . . . or any way one uses traditional pesto. Great on pasta. (Makes about 2/3 cup)

1 cup lightly packed carrot leaves (stems removed)

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove

1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

Puree it all in a blender or food processor.

DSCN0419 - Edited


Broccoli Stalks

*Broccoli Stalk Soup (from Food: Too Good to Waste)

You can use leftover stems of leafy vegetables such as Brussels
sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach or kale. Adapted from Irene
Pizzie and Love Food Hate Waste UK. Yields 4 servings.
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 handful pearl barley, red lentils, or leftover rice
1 cup leftover broccoli stalks
1/2 Tbsp fennel seeds (optional)
salt & pepper
sour cream or Greek yogurt
fresh herbs
Put the potatoes, onion, carrots, pearl barley (or lentils or rice) in a large
pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer
for about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli stalks and fennel seeds and
continue to cook until all the vegetables are just tender. Remove from
heat and allow to cool. Purée until smooth. Taste and season. Pour into
warm bowls and add a little sour cream or yogurt, swirl into the soup and
add a few sprigs of herbs such as tarragon (optional).

* The New Yorker has a great read on what Chef Dan Barber is doing in New York. And there’s more about his WastED project at

Also see . . . and

This entry was posted in recipe, Regional Self-Reliance. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s