Stems + Scraps Romesco Sauce
TRANSFORM VERDANT LEFTOVERS INTO BRIGHT + SMOKY GREEN SAUCE
This bright, smoky, textured green sauce has quickly become a springtime staple in our kitchen. It's delicious, to be sure, but our favorite part is that it reimagines what to do with leaves, scraps, and stems that are tougher to incorporate in a salad or eat as roasted veggies. There's no rules; whether it's kale stems, extra mint from a bushel that's about to go bad, radish and carrot tops, or leaves from a cauliflower head—they all make a great base for the greens. Not only will you help curb personal food waste (the average American family throws out $1500 worth of food annually) but you will be squeezing in more plant fiber, chlorophyll, and important phytonutrients in a creative way. Sasha Pagni, our resident food alchemist and avid plant home cook, developed this recipe with versatility in mind; "Don't be afraid to experiment, you can use ingredients not on this list. Try and squeeze in all the odds and ends leftover in your fridge, while getting something refined and delicious out of it," Sasha says. Unlike the traditional Catalonian recipe, this rendition is without tomatoes, but is still rich in depth and flavor with toasted nuts, olive oil, and garlic.
Pair it with a cauliflower steak, slather generously on your favorite high-quality bread, or eat with crispy potatoes. It also makes a vibrant side with seared Maitake mushrooms, or atop grilled summer squash.
- 2 cups vegetable scraps (suggested: broccoli stems, kale stems, cauliflower leaves)
- 1 cup mixed herbs/herb stems/loose greens (recommended: mint, parsley, cilantro, carrot tops, radish tops)
- ½ green bell pepper
- 1 Anaheim pepper
- ¼ cup almonds
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds or pine nuts
- 1 green onion stalk, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (we like Brightland)
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or lemon zest, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (recommended: apple cider vinegar, sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar)
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Optional: 2 teaspoons coconut yogurt (we like cocojune)
- Preheat the oven to the highest broiling temperature.
- Place whole Anaheim pepper and half of the green bell pepper on a baking sheet.
- Roughly chop vegetable scrap and stems (broccoli stems, kale stems, etc) and place on baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and place into the broiler for 5-10 minutes until the stems are slightly browned and the peppers look roasted.
- While the vegetables are in the broiler, heat a small pan on the stove over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add almonds, sunflower seeds or pine nuts. Stir frequently until nuts are toasted and aromatic. Watch carefully to ensure they do not burn.
- Place nut and seed mixture into a blender or food processor and quickly blend (10-20 seconds) until they are roughly chopped, they should resemble a breadcrumb consistency. Once they are roughly chopped, transfer to small bowl.
- Once the peppers and vegetable scraps are done roasting, take the seeds out of the peppers.
- Place roasted peppers, vegetable stems, herbs, green onion, and garlic into a blender. Blend on medium-high. Once mixture starts to break down slowly pour in olive oil and continue to blend until all large vegetable pieces are broken down.
- While still blending, add lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and paprika. The romesco should be textured, thick, and not too smooth. Once the romesco is to your desired consistency, turn blender off and taste, adding more lemon juice, salt, and olive oil as needed.
- Scoop romesco sauce out into a medium bowl. Then, add the nut or seed mixture, a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired taste and consistency. Mix in optional coconut yogurt for a creamy, cooling element in the sauce. Keep refrigerated for up to 7 or 8 days.
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