Sunday, September 9, 2012

Save Those Stalks!

I went for a walk this morning that turned out to be awesome in so many ways. I ran into someone I knew (exciting when you're still fairly new to the area), I sorted out some mental clutter, and I devised a new soup recipe to create once I returned home.

The soup I came up with involved using a lot of greens (more on that later). When I began cleaning them and realized how much nutritious and beneficial plant fiber I was potentially throwing away by discarding the stalks, I decided to use some of the stalks in the broth-base of the soup (it was going to be pureed, anyway), and the rest were chopped up and stored in the freezer with my other smoothie ingredients.

Stalks of many green veggies are sweeter than you might imagine. For a while now, I have been adding broccoli stalks to my smoothies whenever I have them (just peel off tougher outer layer with a vegetable peeler). I've even used them cut into sticks (like carrot or celery sticks) to dip in humus, or sliced (like carrot rounds) in stir fries/vegetable saut├ęs. Before today, it hadn't occurred to do the same with the big stalks from greens with big leaves. To tidy them up for use on a veggie tray, after stripping the leafy part off of the stalk, you might want to use a vegetable peeler on any uneven sections.

I am a big proponent of WHOLE foods - the entirety of the food - whenever possible because you get a great set of complimentary nutrients in one dish, the way nature has packaged them for us: beet greens with the beets that held them in the ground in some salads or smoothies, turnip greens along with the turnip in some dishes, so why not give this a try with leafy greens and stalks, as well?

Eleanor Willis Haddad is a certified holistic health coach and owner of Elemental Fit - a wellness practice where she specializes in working with women in transitioning stages of life. In addition to health coaching, she teaches cooking classes and leads wellness workshops in Nashville (TN), Columbus (OH) and Pittsburgh (PA).

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