What to do with all these vegetables?
April 12, 2008 5:01 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have great recipes that can use up a massive bag of vegetables? I am hoping I will end up with one or two dishes, preferably that I can then portion up and freeze.

My sister is going away for the week, so she very generously gave me the bulk of her organic vegetable delivery. So I am now staring at enough vegetables to feed a family of four for a week, and while I do like my vegies there is no way a single girl can eat that much of them before they rot.

1 have: 2 heads of broccoli, one GIANT head of cauliflower, a large sweet potato, a sizeable bag of mushrooms, a bag of carrots, several onions, a bunch of bok choy, a head of celery and a capsicum (red bell pepper).

I know the most likely option is to make soup, but does anyone have any specific recommendations or recipes? Any other ideas?

I am really not wanting to make compost at the bottom of my fridge. Again.
posted by arha to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
this is my favorite soup recipe... it doesn't use all the same veggies, but you can substitue or improvise, i guess.

also, you could make veggie stock.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:15 PM on April 12, 2008

No specific recipes, because we generally just wing it as we go along, but these would be my suggestions:

stir fry (everything but sweet potato)

curry (everything but bok choy & celery)

roasted veggies (everything but bok choy & celery - just toss w/ olive oil, add salt, pepper & rosemary or your favorite herbs and roast at around 400 until tender)
posted by belladonna at 5:20 PM on April 12, 2008

If you like Indian, and some spice, Vegetable Jalfrezi! Lots of recipes on the internet. If you eat meat, you can add some, but it's fine on its own with some rice and yogurt.

posted by raztaj at 5:22 PM on April 12, 2008

Minus the broccoli, cauliflower, and bok choy, you have the makings of a fine veggie soup base. Cut things up, if you like, then throw them all into a roasting pan and roast until nicely browned. Deglaze with the liquid of your choice, dilute to one or two quarts with water, add some herbs (but not salt) and simmer until you have a tasty, richly colored mushroomy broth.
At that point, I'd fish out and discard the spent veggies and freeze the broth. Or use as a soup base - poach the bok choy in your mushroom broth, add some ramen noodles/green onions/waterchestnuts/bamboo/egg/whatever, and voila!

(I despise broccoli and cauliflower so I can't help you there).
posted by janell at 5:23 PM on April 12, 2008

Cauliflower: Previously on AskMe.
posted by rtha at 5:28 PM on April 12, 2008

Minestrone? Fry onions and garlic, then add a whole lot of water or stock, and pile in the denser veggies (carrot, potato, sweet potato, etc). Let that do its thing for a while, then throw in some pasta, kidney beans, and the softer veggies (tomatoes, capsicum, etc). And whatever herbs take your fancy. Then freeze and have delicious lunches for a week.
posted by twirlypen at 5:39 PM on April 12, 2008

My go-to soup recipe (no measurements, just use what you think is right) could use everything but the sweet potato.

Vegetable stock (I use Emeril's.) Get plenty! You have a lot of veggies.
Simmer the stock with:
-ceyenne pepper (I use a pretty generous amount)
-mustard powder
-thai curry powder
-worcestershire sauce
-parsely flakes
-basil leaves

-butter and heavy cream (optional - if you want a creamy soup)
-sometimes I add white meat chicken or sausage.

Simmer the stock and seasonings while you chop the veggies. Then you can taste it and add more if needed before adding the veggies.

Add the veggies and low-boil / simmer until the carrots are tender. 45 mins to an hour, usually.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:07 PM on April 12, 2008

Reading the list, everything but the celery and bok choy made me want tempura. Which, ok, doesn't freeze well. But yum.
posted by Gucky at 6:16 PM on April 12, 2008

First, you don't have to cook _all_ of it immediately: the sweet potato, carrots, and onions will keep a few weeks if necessary.

Carrots: You can go ahead and peel and cut up the carrots into sticks and have healthy snacks at work for a while -- the secret is processing them right now so they'll be very easy to eat.

Of these, the Bok Choy (and green leafies in general) needs to be used first. ASAP. The Bell Pepper would be good in the stir-fry, too. If it were me, I'd make Bok Choy/Bell Pepper/Tofu stir fry and eat it all week, although you'll probably only get a meal or two out of it. Don't feel you need to add a ton of tofu or meat, and there's no need to fill up on rice -- though some rice will be good with this. If your onions are in fact green onions, or have green parts attached, you can use that in here too.

Next you need to use your cruciferous veggies, prefereably within the next three days, sooner if possible -- they'll be much better the fresher they are. Broccoli is good steamed, and this is an easy way to prepare it. Steam most of it very lightly; then it will reheat well without being soggy. You can put a light vinaigrette or any salad dressing on this, yes hot, and it will be great. Cauliflower will work the same way. Eat lots more of this per meal than you usually would and you'll feel great. In fact, you can probably eat the broccoli in two sittings; three or four if you include the cauliflower.

Don't fear -- you can make this a super-healthy two weeks and enjoy a temporarily veggie-intensive lifestyle, and save the hardier veggies for later. These recipes are minimal, too, to allow you to experience the full flavor of what are probably amazing vegetables.
posted by amtho at 6:24 PM on April 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

veggie stir fry with rice. get a tin of curry and a can of coconut milk. You'll be eating it for a week :)
posted by terrapin at 6:27 PM on April 12, 2008

You want to stir-fry the bok choy, red pepper and carrots, slicing everything into thin strips. No sticky glaze-type sauces, just some garlic and ginger in with the oil and soy sauce at the end. There's a little sweetness to the bok choy that goes well with the red pepper and corn starch and sugar will only get in the way of those two.

On the rest, I defer to others.
posted by el_lupino at 6:55 PM on April 12, 2008

Roast the pepper over a gas flame (or put it in a really, really hot oven) til black. Remove the skin and tear into large pieces. Coated with olive oil it'll keep in the fridge for ages. Put it on sandwiches, toss through pasta, add to tacos, whatever.

Slice the onions into wedges. Saute for up to an hour in butter and balsamic vinegar til dark, sticky and jam-like. Add a little soft brown sugar at the end. Use in sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta, as a garnish, or to make Nigel Slater's onion tart.

Remove stems from mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme. Roast in a hot oven. Coat with olive oil and treat the same way as the onions and peppers.

Juice the carrots. Add a little citric acid as a preservative. (Can't find any? Crush up a vitamin C tablet, or mix with commercial orange juice). Have a glass with breakfast.

Roast the sweet potato. Puree with enough chicken stock to make a creamy soup. Split it - make half Mexican with a little chipotle en adobo, sour cream and cilantro, and the rest Indian with curry paste, ginger and yoghurt.

Broccoli and cauliflower go well together in Wolf Creek Macaroni and Cheese. It freezes well.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:06 PM on April 12, 2008 [3 favorites]

Excellent advice on storage and timing from amtho. That really is your most important issue with this volume of stuff.

For the mushrooms and onion, I'd be looking at a pilaf, maybe using pearl barley or bulgar instead of rice, just to crunch it up some.

rtha's mention of the recent Call of the Cauliflower AskMe is excellent. I made the aloo gobi recipe mentioned several times therein, and it was more delicious than I imagined it would be.

Broccoli is, I think, at its very best when just steamed and served as its own side. This is how to steam broccoli right.

Capsicum, onion, celery and carrots will serve you well in making jamabalya. Normally recipes call for green capsicum instead of red, and carrot's optional but good. You don't say you're a vegetarian or vegan, so if you're an omnivore, I encourage the addition of chicken, shrimp, and spicy sausage. I don't have a recipe to point you at, but they're all over... pick one that looks friendly to you and try it.
posted by mumkin at 8:28 PM on April 12, 2008

I'm assuming you don't have a juicer, but it is an option for some of the items you listed.
posted by MillMan at 8:47 PM on April 12, 2008

you can chop onions and freeze them in plastic bags. you can par-cook broccoli florets (steam about 2 minutes) and freeze them in plastic bags. ditto the cauliflower. you can chop the pepper and freeze it in plastic bags. carrots keep well for weeks and weeks in a cool dark place, so don't worry about them, although a nice carrot ginger soup might be nice this time of year. ditto the sweet potato--it'll last for weeks. chopped celery also freezes well.

you could make your own mirepoix to save for soups: mix 2 parts onion to one part celery and one part carrot, all diced very tiny. put it into a big plastic bag and shake out a cup or two any time you want to make soup. saute them in olive oil or butter to get the flavors going, then add your meat or beans, or other veggies, and stock as usual. you can use this for everything from chicken soup to white chili to beef bourgingion (i know i spelled that wrong).

that leaves you with the mushrooms and bok choy to use up quickly. you could make a lovely stir fry with the bok choy, mushrooms, carrot slivers, pepper, and onion. also, saute some mushrooms in butter with caramelized onions and herbs with a splash of wine at the end to dress up a piece of meat later in the week (or toss with pasta with a bit of parm and olive oil).
posted by thinkingwoman at 9:51 PM on April 12, 2008

I would probably take the bell peppers, onions, sweet potatoes(maybe), mushrooms, and carrots and skewer them to freeze. Whenever you're looking for a quick healthy snack, throw them on the George Foreman / Fire Grill for some awesome flavor.
posted by justinlilly at 1:10 AM on April 13, 2008

I'd make two veggie quiches and freeze one. Saute the veg with onions and garlic until just 'al dente' (or whatever the word is for vegetables). Season and squeeze some lemon over them. In a bowl, mix a container of cottage cheese, two beaten eggs, a bunch of grated hard cheese (cheddar or swiss, or whatever you like) and salt and pepper. Mix in the veg. Pour into prepared pie crusts and top with more grated cheese. Bake at 350 until brown on top and bubbling. You can put one of them right in the freezer and it will reheat just fine, because unlike traditional quiche it's not a souffle type base. That will use up a LOT of those veggies!
posted by miss tea at 5:39 AM on April 13, 2008

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