You know how some people love shoes so much that they have a separate closet just for all of their precious footwear?
Well, that’s me—except instead of Manolo Blahnik’s and Jimmy Choo’s it’s kohlrabi and blood oranges. I am OBSESSED with buying fruit and vegetables. One of my favorite past times is strolling the local farmer’s market or checking out the seasonal offerings at Whole Foods.
I’m known to gaze longingly at my basket of bananas and full fresh produce drawer, regarding these fruits of the earth as something akin to precious children.
But here’s the issue. My eyes are bigger than my stomach, as they say. I absolutely abhor food waste and, as a consequence, recently have mini panic attacks about carrots cucumbers as they start to turn a bit wrinkly.
Thank god for refrigerators. I know we all tend to get a bit weird about expiration dates and produce that looks like it’s entering its golden years. But just know that nine out of 10 Americans throw away food before they need to. And that’s contributing to the staggering 1.3 BILLION tons of global food waste produced annually. This means that 1/3 of our global production isn’t feeding those ‘starving kids in Africa’ your parents always talked about. It isn’t being converted into biofuel. It isn’t being preserved or saved for next year. Instead, it’s being converted to methane, a greenhouse gas more dangerous than carbon dioxide—which makes it the world’s third largest contributor to global warming.
These stats were in my mind when I frantically tried to cook EVERY SINGLE produce item I had in my fridge.
Oh yeah, back to my appreciation of refrigerators. Each fresh item in this stir-fry made its way home from the grocery store no less than two weeks ago. (Fun fact: wrinkles and blemishes and other signs of veggie aging don’t matter when everything’s cooked).
I’m not one for very specific recipes and this one can be super adaptable. But here’s the general idea.
- 2 cups of aromatic herbs and vegetables (I used onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and chili)
- 6-7 cups of additional vegetables (I used cauliflower, snow peas, cucumber, zucchini, kale, and celery)
- 1 cup cooked (dried) chickpeas (or 15oz can, drained and rinsed)
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce/tamari/liquid aminos
- 1.5 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- sesame seeds for garnish
- 2-3 cups cooked quinoa (or rice)
- Chop aromatic herbs and vegetables. Remove outer leaves and lower bulb of lemongrass and cut into small rings. Remove ginger peel and chop finely.
- Chop additional vegetables into bite-size pieces. Place in bowl to add later, but leave kale (or any other leafy green) separate.
- Saute onion and garlic in pan/wok for 2-3 minutes until translucent, then add chili, ginger, and lemongrass and let cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- While these are cooking, prepare the sauce by mixing all of the sauce ingredients together. Add additional soy sauce to taste.
- Add additional vegetables to pan/wok (except for kale) and let cook for 5 minutes.
- Add cooked chickpeas and mixed sauce. Let cook with vegetables for another 2 minutes.
- Add kale and cook until wilted and tender.
- Add to cooked quinoa or rice, top with sesame seeds, and enjoy being a superhero who prevented food from going into the landfill!