“People who are trying to eat more whole grains—it’s nice to have ways to use those up in other recipes. Plus, there are so many things that can go into a stew. It’s a great fridge cleanout dish,” says Mei Li, a Raleigh-based chef and cookbook author. Her mission is to reinvent the forgotten items hiding in refrigerators to minimize food waste.

From Crafting a Food Waste Feast

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Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sausage meat, sliced or crumbled
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 carrots or another root vegetable of your choice, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks or a fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 small bunch hearty greens such as kale or chard, leaves and stems separated and chopped
  • Salt
  • 2-3 cups cooked grains, such as rice or farro
  • 4 cups stock of your choice
  • Any sturdy savory herbs, like a bay leaf, a few rosemary or thyme sprigs, or all of the above
  • For serving: Black pepper, fresh tender herbs like parsley or cilantro, a dollop of sour cream or crème frâiche, a splash of vinegar or flavorful olive oil
  1. Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and greens stems to pan with a good pinch of salt and sauté until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add grains, stock, and herbs and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Return sausage to pot, add leafy greens, and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes to wilt the greens. Season to taste with more salt and garnish with toppings of your choice.
  • Recipe By
    Mei Li in Raleigh, North Carolina

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