6 Ways to Use Stalks & Stems in Your Next Meatless Monday Meal!

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swiss chard stems

Kale and chard stalks

The first step in prepping most kale and chard recipes is to remove the coarse, thick stems. These stems can be sautéed as a side dish or pickled with a brine of spices and vinegar. Cut your stems lengthwise for spear-style pickles or break them down in a food processor to ferment them kimchi-style.

Radish GreensRadish greens

Like most tasty root vegetables, radishes have flavorful leafy greens. These greens can be eaten fresh in a salad or sandwich, and are hearty enough to steam or sauté. The flavorful leaves can also be blended into soups or combined with oil, nuts, hard cheese and garlic for a simple, flavorful pesto!

Mushroom stems

While the stems of edible mushrooms aren’t greens per-say, they can be delicious! Most recipes call for the caps of Crimini or Portobello mushrooms, but the stems can be diced and added to stir-fry, stuffing, omlettes, or duxelles. Tougher Shitake stems can add a lot of flavor to vegetable broths.

{Check out this great Meatless Monday stir-fry recipe}

Beet greensBeet Greens

Beet greens can taste a little bitter when eaten fresh, a quality that makes them ideal for blanching, wilting, and steaming. Light cooking helps break down the toughness and offset their bitterness. Dress wilted greens with a dash of vinaigrette, slivered nuts, or shaved hard cheese for texture and taste.

Broccoli StalkBroccoli stalks

Broccoli stalks are firm and thick with a mild flavor, making them perfect ingredients to add body to your favorite recipes. Peel the woody skin away and the remaining stalk can be grated for a fresh and zesty broccoli slaw, sliced into veggie sticks, or copped up and added to stir-fry blends.

Carrot tops

Carrot tops can be slightly bitter and add depth of flavor to dips and spreads. These greens shine when mixed with other fresh ingredients in hummus, pesto, and tabbouleh recipes. Finely mince your carrot greens (or run them through a food processor), add them your favorite dip recipe, and enjoy!Carrot Greens

Working with an unusual vegetable greens, stems or stalks? Try these tips:

  • Put your clean greens, stems, roots, or peels into a freezer bag. When you have several cups of scraps saved up, add them to a pot of boiling water to build a delicious vegetable stock.
  • Scraps blend well into juices and smoothies. Want to keep that smoothie sweet? Add extra fruit. Adding bitter veggie scraps? Balance it with a little dairy.
  • Sturdy vegetable peelings can be deep fried and sprinkled with salt for satisfying chips.
  • When in doubt, toss your unusual food with olive oil and roast until fork-tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

{Check out this awesome infographic on regrowing food from scraps, stalks & stems!}

What’s your fav Meatless Monday meal?


Check out this Green Divas Foodie-philes episode featuring Terra Wellington, who talks about easy ways to transition to a more veggie-based diet!

Listen to the latest Green Divas Radio Show—and other green, healthy and free radio shows—daily on GDGDRadio.com (or get the GDGD Radio app)!

Asst. Ed. Green Diva Grace / Main image via ShutterStock

Featured, GD Ticker, Green Diva Foodie-Philes, Green Diva Meatless Monday, Green Divas Foodie-Philes, Uncategorized

About the author / 

Meatless Monday

Meatless Monday is global movement with a simple message: once a week, cut the meat. Launched in 2003, Meatless Monday is a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, working in collaboration with the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Our goal is to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent for our personal health and the health of the planet. Follow Meatless Monday on Pinterest.

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