So, just as typically happens, you bought too much produce and now you don’t know what to do. You need to need some great ways to use up vegetables.
Well, fear not, I have this problem just like you. I walk through the store and pick up all that great fresh produce with really good intentions. I actually planned to eat it all, and make the kids snack on it instead of granola bars and Cheetos. But, alas, there it sits in the bottom of the fridge … being all lonely, sad, and desperate for a purpose.
I’m here to rescue you, my beloved zucchini, lettuce, and tomato. We will find your life’s purpose today!
So, What do you do when you have too much produce?
Assess The Situation
Sometimes what is down in that drawer is just beyond edible. Go ahead and pull it out and have a good look. Ask yourself these questions.
- Is it rotten? If it’s actually rotten, then get it out of there. Clean up any gross mess it has left behind and throw it away.
- Can the bad spots be cut away? If part of it is good and part bad, consider saving this, you can cut it up and use it for something.
- Can I pick the good from the bad? This goes for things like cherry tomatoes, salad, snap peas … all those small things that may have a few rotten ones mixed into a bunch of some worth saving. Sort through them, throwing away the rotten ones and washing all those that are still edible.
How to Use Up Vegetables
There are a lot of ways to use up your veggies, and many of them are really tasty. Do your best to determine what needs to be eaten right away and use some of the suggestions below for a fantastic meal.
If you don’t have time to eat up those veggies before they really go bad. This is the perfect time to use your freezer meal membership and find a recipe that will easily incorporate those veggies. If one of the recipes doesn’t specifically call for a veggie you have, put it in any way. As an example, here are some of the freezer meals I can make with my MyFreezEasy membership.
- Buffalo Chicken Chili – this calls for onion, celery, and diced tomatoes, but I can add zucchini, carrots, and green peppers and it will still taste great.
- Italian Sausage and Veggie Stew – while the recipe has carrots, zucchini, onions, and spinach, I know that throwing in some mushrooms, broccoli, and celery will add great flavor.
- Why You Need A Freezer Meal Plan – check out this article to see how we use our Freezer Meal Plans.
A salad is a great option for a lot of those vegetables. Don’t feel like you have to follow a recipe, you can just start cutting and mix it all up together. Toss the whole thing with a yummy dressing and you’re good to go. You can even turn it into a main dish by adding some pre-cooked protein like chicken, lunch meat or beans. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Chickpea Salad from Spend With Pennies – this delicious vegetarian salad uses yummy ingredients like cucumbers, tomatoes, and green peppers. The dressing is a simple vinaigrette.
- Chipotle Chicken Salad from Carlsbad Cravings – with lettuce, corn, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, avocado, and red onion this salad really packs in the veggies. I bet if you added some other vegetables it would still be great.
- Blueberry Broccoli Spinach Salad by Peas and Crayons – This tasty salad will help you use up your broccoli, spinach, and avocados. The poppy seed ranch dressing sounds rich and tangy.
There are so many options for great soups that use a variety of vegetables. Keep in mind that even if a recipe doesn’t call for a specific vegetable, you can still throw it in. Many times those veggies just disappear when put in a soup the kids love. Try one of these.
- Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup from Cookin Canuck – this soup is loaded with veggies, including carrots, celery, onion, sweet potato, green beans, onions, and tomatoes. Mmmm!
- Homemade Minestrone Soup by A Cedar Spoon – Here’s another one that has a ton of veggies. Zucchini, carrots, onion, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, and spinach. This soup is so full of veggies that I bet no one will notice if you sneak in a few extras. They use spaghetti sauce to add to the rich flavor.
A stir-fry can incorporate lots of different vegetables. Almost any vegetable that is good cooked can be added to a stir-fry. And, don’t be intimidated by the idea of making Asian food. If you’re not so comfortable with the idea of making a stir fry, you can use a regular frying pan and there are great seasonings like these that you can get for the sauce. Here’s an amazing guide to coach you through making any stir fry.
Feel free to hide those extra veggies in your family’s favorite casserole. There’s nothing wrong with tossing some zucchini, and tomatoes in your Mexican casserole. Or put some green beans in your favorite tuna casserole. Here are some more casseroles that will hide those veggies well.
- Veggie Loaded Breakfast Casserole from Little Spice Jar – don’t feel like you have to eat this at breakfast. It would make a great dinner too with all those mushrooms, peppers, potatoes, and spinach.
- Healthy Crockpot Enchilada Casserole made by Lauren’s Latest – Here’s another one that really packs a veggie punch with zucchini, peppers, onion, carrots, and corn. Go ahead and throw a few more in there, too.
No matter which way you decide to use up those vegetables, the key is to USE THEM UP. You invested a lot of money in buying them and you just hate to throw them in the trash. So, bite the bullet, pull them out of the fridge and decide which of these yummy recipes you want to try out.
Whether it’s making a freezer meal, putting together a soup, or eating salad for dinner tonight, you’re going to feel so much better than those days when you used to toss them in the trash.
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- How To Use Leftovers to Stretch Your Dollars
Do you have a favorite way to use your extra vegetables? We’d love to know your best menu ideas.
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