I love it when I can get more than one meal out of a recipe. It saves so much time, clean-up, and money. It makes me feel quite virtuous as well because I am not wasting food.
Two of my favorite examples are Carrot Top Pesto and a brand-new food for me, aquafaba.
For the pesto, you do just what it sounds like, buy carrots with green tops. Or, if you are lucky like me and planted carrots last fall, you may have a beautiful crop of carrots with their bush tops just waiting to be used. I grew them, so I should eat what’s above the ground, as well as what’s below it.
I make the carrot roots into wonderful caramelly glazed carrots, and the tops go into the food processor, along with the usual pesto ingredients—walnuts or pine nuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and garlic. Throw a pot of hot water on the stove for the pasta, and entrée and vegetable are ready in under 15 minutes. Plus, you will have extra pesto for another meal.
If a nice dessert is more your style, try using aquafaba—which literally means “bean water.” My husband was cooking beans in the slow cooker the other day and asked me what he could do with all the leftover nutritious liquid when he was done cooking them because it seemed like such a shame to waste it. I, tongue in cheek, said, “Well, you could make whipped cream out of it!” Never one to resist a challenge, he immediately looked up a recipe and voila, dessert from bean water.
The nice thing about aquafaba is that it is a vegan topping, so if you are serving dinner and dessert to friends who avoid dairy, they will be thrilled. If you don’t have time to cook your own beans in a slow cooker (always my preferred way, but sometimes you just run out of time), buy “No Salt Added” canned beans.
Use the beans for one of my favorite vegan curried chickpea dishes and drain off the clear liquid in the can to make a dessert topping for pie or fresh berries. Its taste and texture are more like a light meringue. Be sure to use white beans, otherwise you will have taupe-colored whipped topping (which would also be good on anything chocolate). Apparently, you can also freeze aquafaba—ours didn’t last long enough to try.
6–8 carrots, cut on bias or in coins
3 tablespoons sugar or honey
½ cup water
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Black pepper to taste
In shallow saucepan, bring carrots and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Carrots should be slightly tender; cooking time depends on how big they are. Uncover and cook another 1–2 minutes, reducing liquid. When fork tender, add butter and sugar or honey. Stir for about 3 minutes, until glaze coats carrots. Remove from heat, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and serve.
Nutritional info: calories: 108, carbohydrates: 20 g, protein: 1 g, sodium: 75 mg
Carrot Top Pesto
2 garlic cloves (pan roasted)
¼ cup pine nuts (or other nuts)
¾ cup olive oil
1½ cups fresh carrot tops
¾ cup parmesan cheese
Combine garlic and nuts in a blender or food processor until well-blended. Add ¾ cup olive oil and process until mixture is a thick paste. Add 1½ cups fresh carrot tops, process until well blended. Fold in parmesan cheese before serving. Serve at room temperature with a spoon so guests can top their own pasta or stir into hot pasta before serving.
Based on 8 servings per recipe.
Nutritional info: calories: 253, carbohydrates: 2 g, protein: 4 g, sodium: 115 mg
2 cans low sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1½ cups dry beans, soaked and cooked Reserve ½ cup liquid for curry, the other half of the liquid for aquafaba dessert cream
1–2 tablespoons butter, coconut fat or other oil
5 whole cloves*
1 stick cinnamon*
1 teaspoon cumin*
1 teaspoon coriander seeds*
1 small onion, chopped fine
1/3–1/2 teaspoon hot pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2–3 tablespoons tamarind liquid or molasses
2 tablespoons sugar.
*You can substitute garam masala or curry powder for the spice mixture if that’s easier. Use about 2–3 teaspoons to taste.
Grate onion and garlic and mix with hot pepper to form a thick paste. Heat the oil or butter and brown the onion paste along with the cloves and cinnamon. When light brown, add remaining spices, stir a few times, then add canned beans and mix well, mashing some with the spoon. Add ½ cup of the canned bean water and allow to sizzle a few minutes on low eat. Add tamarind juice. Let the beans simmer a few more minutes. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro before serving.
Based on 4 servings
Nutritional info: calories: 262, carbohydrates: 43 g, protein: 10 g, sodium: 393 mg
¾ cup (more or less, from one can of white beans or chickpeas, or your own bean liquid)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond flavoring
2/3 cup powdered sugar
Put bean liquid in mixing bowl and beat on low speed for a minute or two, until it starts to get foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat on high speed until mixture forms stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Add flavoring and then slowly sprinkle in powdered sugar, beating another 3–4 minutes. Best to serve right away, but we held ours until after dinner and just beat it a bit more before serving.
Based on 4 servings
Nutritional info: calories: 100, carbohydrates: 21 g, protein: 1 g, sodium: 1 mg
Contributor Katy G. Wilkens recently retired as registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. The National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition has honored her with its highest awards for excellence in education and for significant contributions in renal nutrition. She has also been awarded the Medal of Excellence in kidney nutrition from the American Association of Kidney Patients.
Photos by Rich Wilkens.
Eating Well, Living Well classes
Studies show that working with a registered dietitian can delay kidney failure and postpone dialysis for longer than two years. FREE nutrition classes taught by Katy’s former team of registered dietitians are available at convenient times and locations around Puget Sound. Eating Well, Living Well classes teach people how to eat healthier to slow the progress of kidney disease and postpone dialysis. Learn more at www.nwkidney.org/classes.