Written by: Kasia Lamik
In my family I’m known as the root girl, because if I had my way I would only feed on parsley, carrots, beetroot and celery. Root vegetables, or “rooties” as I lovingly call the mix of my favorite ingredients, found a way to my heart one winter when I realized I stopped eating vegetables altogether, because somehow I could not work up an appetite for the tasteless tomatoes, hothouse plastic cucumbers and foiled lettuce.
And so, looking for my winter five servings of vegetables a day, I began to brew cream soups, most of them just from root vegetables and spinach, and when I felt like eating something a little more solid than a mush, I had to think of something. And so today I am able to prepare an almost zero waste dinner from soup vegetables :)
3 bundles of whole soup vegetables, i.e.:
3 large parsley roots
1 celery root
a few leaves or chunks of cabbage
4 cloves of garlic
semolina or breadcrumbs
clarified butter, coconut oil or sunflower oil
Essential broth from peel:
Take all vegetables (soup vegetables, onions and garlic) and thoroughly wash them with lukewarm water. Fill the sink or large bowl with water and clean the vegetables with a soft kitchen brush (or a hand brush or a toothbrush).
Drain the water, fill it up again and leave clean vegetables in clean cold water for about 10 minutes. Peel the vegetables, throw the peel and ends of the vegetables in a pot with cold water. Throw in half an onion and two cloves of unpeeled garlic.
You can really put anything you want into this broth. I encourage you to collect peels, seed nests from bell peppers, petioles, pips and all other parts of vegetables that you have been throwing away all this time, and cook a broth from them.
The broth needs to boil for 2.5-3 hours, then drain it thoroughly, squeezing every last drop the broth from the vegetables. You can freeze it and add to cream soups or a risotto instead of broth cubes. You can also put in rice noodles, a boiled egg and broccoli or peas, add a few drops of soy sauce and create a homely version of PHO soup.
Remember to boil it for a minimum of 2.5 hours.
Take the peeled vegetables (carrots, celery root, parsley root, onion, garlic), and grate them. Add 2 eggs* and mix, if the mix is too sticky and smooth, add semolina or breadcrumbs. Roll the mix into balls with your hands, flatten them and fry on heated clarified butter or coconut oil. Heat until the balls are golden-brown.
Some sets of soup vegetables include a chunk of Italian cabbage. You can make delicious noodles with it, which will slightly enrich our root veggies meal with carbohydrates:
Fry a diced onion in a pan (you can also add bacon, sausage, ham or anything else you need to get out of your fridge). Add thinly sliced cabbage to the onions and fry them together briefly, then let it stew for a while. During this time, cook any pasta (or use the leftovers from the previous day.) You can replace pasta with groats. When it’s done, strain the pasta, put in the pan, season with salt and pepper and mix with cabbage and onion :)
Vegetables Leaf Pesto**:
If until now pesto reminded you only of Italian cuisine and basil, a new door will open for you. It always made me sad to cut off the leafy parts of root vegetables and throw them in the trash :( so beautiful and green. Until one day I found myself with no basil in the house, and I made pesto with parsley, and then when I had no more parsley, I used carrot leaves :)
Today I cut all the vegetable leaves from the soup vegetables, I wash them thoroughly with lukewarm water, and then I let them sit in a bowl of cold water while I peel the roots, make the veggie balls or bake the vegetables. I then dry them with a towel, put them in a blender, add garlic, black pepper, almonds or walnuts and mix it all :) TA-DA!
I serve the same pesto with baked carrots, which I love to eat as an appetizer.
For dessert, how about some beetroot muffins :)
*It has to be zero waste? What are we going to do with egg shells then? Make an anti-snail agent for your flowers! Just wash the shells, dry them and grind them into a powder. Then add it to water, with which you water the plants.
**Did you know that it's better to eat five smaller portions of vegetables a day than, for example, replace one meal with a salad? I didn’t. In short, the idea is that a mix of vitamins and acids should be regularly delivered to our systems.