I really hate to waste food.
This should come as no surprise, except maybe to my poor parents. See when I was kid, I was a super picky eater; like my food couldn’t touch, picky. I’d hem and haw over whatever piece of meat happened to grace my plate that night. It was either too chewy, too tough, too soft, too icky. It didn’t matter the reason, I just knew I didn’t want to eat it.
Dinner became a nightly battle with me sitting solo at the table, arms folded stubbornly across my chest, refusing to eat entire portions of the meal my mother had just labored over. Most nights ended in a stalemate, hours after dinner had begun, and I was sent to bed hungry because in my house, you ate what was on your plate or you didn’t eat at all. Pretty simple and smart logic, but it left me wanting, and it left my parents throwing their hands up in the air.
You know what they say? Desperate times call for desperate measures. This situation demanded a little creativity, maybe even something crafty. So you see I was practically forced to come up with a devious solution, if only to prevent our frustrating nightly skit from playing out again and again.
So I started sneaking morsels of unwanted meat into my napkin, which I would then toss into the secret drawer under the kitchen table. There’s no telling how many piles of half-chewed rotten meat my mother found there years later. Needless to say, she wasn’t thrilled about it and now you know my vegetarian roots go way back to the days of my youth. Well except for bacon; I always did have a thing for bacon.
Today’s post has nothing to do with bacon. I’m sorry carnivores, but I’m going to give you something equally exciting: Broccoli Stalk Pesto.
Hey wait, where are you going? Get back here.
Here me out. I’ve never steered you wrong before. At least not when it comes to food, although you probably shouldn’t listen to me on matters of the head or the heart because monkey loving is my solution for both. The stomach though; there I’m on point.
I’ve come to the conclusion you can call anything pesto so long as the Holy Trinity is involved, not the religious one, although even the sweet baby Jesus would be chomping at the bit for this pesto. I’m talking about garlic, olive oil, and nuts. It really doesn’t even matter what kind of nuts you use, although pine nuts are the bomb. They’re also super expensive and not necessarily in my new thrifty budget or the recipe I snagged for this pesto.
Yes, I wish I could take credit for this fabulous idea, but alas the idea was not mine.
I did however have the forethought to google broccoli stems because I was sick and tired of tossing them into the black hole of wasted food and broken dreams. Need I remind you, there are kids starving in other countries. Believe me, my parents told me every night. They also told me my missing cat ran away and joined the circus, but I don’t want to rehash sad stories today.
Instead I want to talk about the magical and wonderful deliciousness that is Broccoli Stalk Pesto. Not only is it made from the bits and bobs you would normally pitch, but the end result is a creamy, rich and satisfying pesto. It’s a heartier dip than your traditional basil pesto, which is actually perfect when it’s only four degrees outside and fresh herbs are nowhere to be found. I peeled the tough outer core of my broccoli stalks before tossing them in the food processor, which was my only deviation from the original recipe. I also paired my pesto with other raw veggies. It’s like veggies eating veggies; how’s that for carnivorous? See, it’s practically bacon.
Alright maybe not, but I do know if my parents had served this every night, I’d have licked my plate clean. I probably would have dunked my bacon in it too.
This post is linked up with Laura’s Strange But Good and Kristy’s Fresh Food Wednesday’s because it fits the bill for both link up parties. ♫ Plus ain’t no party like a link up party because a link up party won’t stop. ♫
Do you do anything creative, crafty or devious with your broccoli stalks? Were you a picky eater growing up?
I hate to waste food too, Meghan. This sounds delicious! You are too funny. Have a great weekend!
Thanks Fran. You know me; I aim for funny. It’s even better when I hit the mark.
Amanda @runtothefinish says
DOHHH sneaky, I hate it when I come for the recipe and have to go elsewhere 🙂 very clever marketing. I swear I eat an insane amount of broccoli these days, usually with hummus so it might be good to turn it in to something else!
Sorry about that. Since the recipe wasn’t actually mine, I didn’t feel comfortable reposting it start to finish on my site. I figured a couple link backs to the real deal ought to suffice.
You should still try it though. It’s a great way to do something different with those broccoli stalks; mix it up so to speak.
Eating 4 Balance says
Oh, a dip for bacon I could definitely see this being! 😀
Alright, so the pesto on Tastespotting looks wonderful, but I have to say that the color and texture of yours just looks so much more appealing. Almost like hummus?
Growing up I basically refused to eat just a few certain foods: gravy, anything with nuts added (chicken salad, cookies, banana bread, etc.), anything with cold cheese or a disproportionate amount of cheese (sandwiches, cheese and crackers, grilled cheese, salads, etc.). I also wouldn’t eat chicken pot pies. There was just something so gross about them. Now I love a good homemade chicken pot pie, so maybe it was just the Marie Callendar version? Oh, and absolutely no chocolate + mint for me. Actually, none of these have really changed much. I guess I’m more willing to eat vegetables than I was when I was younger, but that’s about it.
I think Broccoli Cheddar soup or Hushpuppies would be wonderful. http://thenectarcollective.com/2013/05/8-delicious-uses-for-broccoli-stems/
You’re right. The texture of mine did come out more like hummus. Shoot, I probably should have caught that before hand; maybe added more oil. Still tasted great.
I love that not much has changed. Creature of habit, huh? Believe me, I get it.
The Hubby is calling for a good old fashioned chicken pot pie, so I’m going to try and figure out how to make one this week. It should be interesting.
These ideas are fabulous. I’m totally bookmarking this site. Thanks!!
Eating 4 Balance says
Oh, and I meant the hummus texture in a good way! 😀
Madison, you are the cats pajamas so there’s no way you can offend me.
Annnnd now I want to dunk bacon in pesto. Superbowl party dish selected!
Bam! It’s like that.
Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says
Brilliant. I have a little broccoli slaw that I need a use for. This may be it. I needed to get the blender out for another idea. For some reason that feels like a LOT of effort, but I can motivate for 2 creations. 😉
Efficiency at it’s finest.
Sarah Pie says
So now I’m thinking of bacon pesto… pesto covered bacon… I’m not even a huge bacon lover and for some reason my mouth is drooling 😉
Bacon aside though this sounds like a fantastic way to use up food scraps (my second favorite thing to do in the kitchen) and the result just looks like pure creamy goodness. I may have to whip up a batch for the superbowl this weekend, though I’ll wait until after they’re in love to tell the parents/BF that broccoli was involved 🙂
Smart woman. Nobody needs to know what’s in the pesto dip until after they’ve fallen in love with the pesto dip. 😉
Miss Polkadot says
Does anybody else have a feeling you’ve now inspired some serious broccoli stalk-ing in the blog world? Poor green giant. I hope you’re feeling responsible and guilty for it – and if not than at least for the piles of rotten meat your mum had to clean up :D.
Either way, I’ve grown up always eating the stalks, too, and was actually surprised when I found out some people weren’t. I can’t pride myself with any exciting ideas on how to use them so far, though. A while ago I blended the stalks with vegetable broth as a creamy base for a vegan cheesy broccoli sauce saving the florets for chunkiness but I have yet to perfect that recipe.
Oh, and no, I haven’t forgotten about the mail yet. Expect a reply soon!
What a fabulous pun and yes, my poor mother; cleaning up after me. I shudder to think about it now.
That soup sounds like the perfect use and a great reason to bust out the immersion blender. I like any excuse to use the immersion blender.
And I’ve got broccoli in the fridge! I’m a fan of black bean soup with broccoli stems in it–must get that one up–but I think Crystal the composting pig can spare a bit for pesto.
I bet Crystal is willing to sacrifice for a little pesto. She’s a smart pig.
Our parents went to the same school of kid torture apparently. Man….I can’t even begin to count up all the hours of sitting at my kitchen table, post dinner, staring at my over-the-porch-stew.
It was the worst, wasn’t it?! All that time lost. I take it you were a touch stubborn too. Ha.
Yay, broccoli stalks! I usually just peel mine and cook them with the rest of the broccoli, but a pesto sounds like the perfect idea for a slightly fancier concoction. Er…is pesto still considered even sort of fancy? In any case, it’s clearly delicious!
I should think pesto is still considered fancy, although maybe not since the ultra expensive pine nuts aren’t a part of this recipe. In which case, the fault lies with the nuts, not the stalks and I suspect there’s a dirty joke in there somewhere, but I’m going to skirt my way around it for now.
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
Is it weird that I LOVE eating the broccoli stalk steamed? It actually tastes better than the florets!
If you didn’t mention it, I would have thought the dip was hummus! I wasn’t a picky eater growing up (except with ironically, broccoli) and would hide it in tissues or throw it on the floor and pick it up later…ahh the joys of having stir fries all the time! That or milk. To this day I despise milk by itself. I remember sitting at the kitchen table for an hour sipping a glass until I was allowed to continue on…
Yes that is weird, although I would expect no less from you. 🙂
Madison said the same thing about the texture and you’re both right. It does have a look more akin to hummus. Next time, I’ll use a little more oil.
My parents did the same thing with milk too! By the time, I’d finally agree to drink it, it was warm and gross. Yuck!
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says
This post makes me so happy! 😀 I’ve long since been a lover (not a waster…fyi, that was a play on the whole “make love not war” thing ;)) of broccoli stalks. I love grating them and making broccoli slaw, but I’ll admit, most of the time, I’m lazy and just eat them up as I would the rest. And omg, WAS I a picky eater! I think I’ve told you that my view on meat was pretty similar to yours…though my strategy for disposal was a little different. Since we had no discrete hiding places for unwanted bites, I would just cram as much into my mouth as I could without causing my cheeks to puff out, excuse myself to the restroom, and spit it in the toilet! I just told my mom a few years back and she was shocked! haha! I’m actually surprised at how open I am to trying new things now because back in the day, if it wasn’t a processed nugget or a French fry, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it!
PS, You should know that I have major snack plate envy! 😉
I was all about the Kraft Mac & Cheese back then. Canned Spaghetti O’s too. I thought that was good quality food, not the start to finish meals my mom slaved over. What silly kids we were, although I’d do the same thing with most meat now if forced to consume it. Oops.
You can do it; put your snack into it.
Oh man what a great idea!! I just usually eat the stalks…hahaha. I steam them and they get soft and well..then I eat them. This sounds so much tastier though! I too will NOT waste!
I knew you could relate to a refusal to waste food. My other way for using them up is to add them to my “Soup packets” for future Veggie Stock making.
Actually you were told the cat ran away to get married where upon you picked up the phone and called your grandmother and informed her that her son had a problem with reality. Precocious even at the age of seven. and yes the meat in the drawer was gross . Because we didn’t use the drawer I didn’t find it for years. It took awhile to figure out what i was looking at. Actually it’s genetic. I balled my food up in a napkin and threw it in the fireplace.
Either way I’m happy to know I was smart enough to recognize those tall tales for what they were; brushes with non-reality.
We should have had a fireplace in out kitchen. Crisis averted.