From Stalk to Seed

Jun 19, 2019 | Tips and Tricks

When in comes to the abundance of seasonal produce available in spring through fall, it’s important not to waste parts of the plant that are edible. Waste not want not as they say. Here’s a list of some of the vegetables I recommend and some suggestions as to how to use all or most of the plant.

Radish and Turnip greens

Both these are best gently sautéed with a little olive oil, garlic and finished with sea salt and fresh lemon juice. I love adding finely chopped greens to rice or quinoa at the very end of cooking. Mix them in and allow them to wilt. 

Carrot tops 

You can make a lovely carrot greens pesto, incorporate them in salads and in soups and vegetable fritters.

Garlic, leek, onion and shallot scapes

These are also lovely in a dairy free pesto, in soups and stews or in stir-fry and other rice dishes or even in veggie/ chicken burgers. I like to use them in recipes where I would normally use green onions/ scallions.

Fennel fronds

They are the feathery tops of fennel bulbs. The look like dill but have a gentle licorice flavour. They are best enjoyed fresh such as in a pesto. My husband, a tremendous fan of traditional pesto (Genovese) tasted my fennel pesto and exclaimed it was the best pesto he’d ever had. They are also wonderful to use when cooking fish, both in a marinade for the fish and then cooked with the fish.

Flower stem/ leaves of Broccoli, broccoli rabe and cauliflower

These are wonderful in pesto, soups, stews or in a quinoa or rice pilaf.

Kohlrabi leaves 

Young leaves are best. These can be a bit bitter so gently cooked is best.


Cilantro (also called Coriander and Chinese parsley)

All parts of the plant can be used. I always use the stems as well. The delicate mild flavoured root is used in Asian cuisines such as in curry pastes. The seeds( coriander seeds) can be dried and used as a spice.

For the rest of my non usable vegetable waste, I love using my Bokashi bin. Bokashi composting quickly and easily converts food waste into compost. Through the simple Bokashi fermenting process ALL food scraps can be composted (including cooked foods, meat, cheese and pasta). This has transformed my garden soil by adding beneficial microorganisms, making it so much healthier and richer. I’ve had mine a year now and I am so delighted to see my food waste at work, not to mention out of landfills. Go to to get started Bokashi-ing.