April 22 is Earth Day! So, happy Earth Day, my fellow earthlings! Here’s a recipe to help you celebrate!
Whenever I have extra veggie pieces (“scraps”) in my fridge (which is like always!), I often sauté them up, then scramble with eggs or toss with pasta. Other times I’ll roast or grill ’em, then blend into hummus. And here’s my other favorite use for those leftover (aka “vintage”) vegetables: Veggie Scrap Freekeh. (Hint: Prepare it on a Friday so you can crack yourself up and call it Freekeh Friday! Or enjoy it on Meatless Monday in honor of #MeatlessMonday4Earth. Or do both!)
So, check your fridge. If you have veggie odds-n-ends on hand that might be ready for composting (or, ughh, tossing out), this recipe awaits! It works well with most non-starchy veggies, like zucchini, yellow summer squash, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, onion, snow peas, carrots, and/or asparagus. Don’t forget the parts that often go uneaten, like carrot tops and broccoli stalks. The more colorful the mixture, the better. You’ll just thinly slice and sauté the vegetables, stir them into pre-cooked, chilled freekeh (with a sprinkling of olive oil, salt, and pepper), and finish with a squirt of lemon juice and fresh herbs. Try mint, basil, parsley, or dill. Don’t have freekeh? Don’t freak out (hee-hee!); simply use 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice, sorghum, farro, or quinoa.
By the way, this challenge was posed to Recipe ReDux members to share easy ways to reduce food waste. Hope you take this challenge, too … or at least make this freekeh!
Calories saved: 86
Why it’s better for you? This freekeh salad and tabbouleh are both healthful! However, this recipe can ultimately be better for the planet since your extra vegetable scraps aren’t going to waste!
veggie scrap freekeh
Yield: 3 servings
Serving size: about 1 cup
- 1/2 cup dry cracked freekeh
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or grapeseed oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced raw non-starchy veggie scraps
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herb(s) of choice
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)
- Add the freekeh and 1 1/2 cups cold water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the freekeh is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for 5 minutes, and drain remaining water, if any. (Makes about 1 1/2 cups cooked freekeh.)
- Transfer the cooked freekeh to a medium bowl and stir in the olive oil, black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside to slightly cool, about 20 minutes, stirring a couple times. Then chill in the refrigerator. (Note: This can be done up to 3 days in advance.)
- Meanwhile, heat the avocado oil in a large stick-resistant skillet over medium-high heat. Add raw veggie scraps (I used red onion, baby carrots, a little red hot chili pepper, and snow peas!) and sauté until cooked through and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. (Hint: If necessary, add veggies in stages when some need shorter cooking times. For instance, I added the snow peas the final 2 minutes of sauté time.) Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Fluff chilled freekeh with a fork. Stir in the warm veggies, lemon juice, and fresh herb(s) of choice (I used mint!). If desired, sprinkle with feta or goat cheese. Serve as a salad or side dish.
Per serving: 200 calories, 10g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 410mg sodium, 25g total carbohydrate, 4g dietary fiber, 3g sugars includes 0g added sugars, 5g protein
NOTE: If adding cheese, there will be 240 calories per serving.
The “Before” Version
Inspired by Quinoa Tabbouleh
Per serving: 286 calories, 20g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4g dietary fiber, 5g protein
- Expand your whole grain repertoire beyond the basics; freekeh has a unique earthy, slightly smoky taste
- Have fun with this recipe by using a variety of vegetables that you may not have tried together before; an exciting new favorite combination might result
- If you happen to have various herbs on hand, try a mixture for more interest