3 Tips for Using Up All of Your Produce and Veggies

It’s the season where I head to the grocery store or Farmers’ Market with my simple, well-planned shopping list and by checkout time, my cart is overflowing with gorgeous, vibrant non-list items.

Summer’s bounty can kinda be like kryptonite. It makes shopping a beautiful experience, but those unplanned purchases can set you up for a mild case of what-am-I-gonna-do-with-all-of-this-produce anxiety, not to mention a wall-to-wall packed fridge.

I’m here to help YU confidently improvise all week long with my favorite tips for making those unplanned purchases work.

1. Salads and Sauces to the Rescue.
If you have a scrumptious salad dressing or sauce, it can make virtually any combination of ingredients sing. Simply, mix all of your goodies in a big bowl and top with any of the dressings and sauces from these YU classic recipes listed below. Use this as an opportunity to try out new veggie, pseudograin, lentil, sprout and leafy green combinations.

Cashew Cheese Sauce:
Delicious with cooked pseudograins like buckwheat and quinoa, and all types of veggies, sprouts, greens and legumes. Make it kick by adding some chipotle powder.

Blueberry Tarragon Dressing
Toss seeds, nuts, squash, radish, berries, cooked quinoa, lentil sprouts, herbs like thyme and greens together for a nutrient-packed kitchen sink salad.

Roasted Garlic & Lime Dressing
Marinate veggies with this dressing and cook on the grill. Roast them in the oven and toss with cooked pseudo-grains like buckwheat and quinoa, or chickpeas and lentils. Put it all on a salad!

Spicy Sweet Asian Sauce
Mix together cooked buckwheat noodles, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and any combination of veggies and greens for an Asian-inspired dish. Wrap it all up in steamed collard leaves or spring roll wrappers.

Walnut & Kale Pesto
Slice summer squash, peppers, kale, collards and zucchini into ribbons or noodles (steam if you like to soften) and toss with this chlorophyll-rich pesto sauce. Add nuts, seeds, sprouts and more.

I’ve got a bunch of incredible sauce recipes in the YumUniverse book, too.


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2. Make it Last.
Storage know-how is paramount to keeping your purchases fresh for as long as possible.

Storing Herbs and Using Them Wisely—WATCH THE VIDEO
There’s nothing like adding fresh herbs to ramp up the flavor profile and nutrients of a recipe. All too often though, folks only use a little bit of the bunch and the rest goes bad. Learn how to store and use herbs like a pro.


Treat Berries to Keep Mold Away
Keep juicy berries mold-free for weeks at a time with this simple tip.

My Fridge Storage Tips
Take a tour of my fridge and get some of my favorite tips for refrigerated items.

Freeze It
Wash, core, peel and remove seeds before freezing and store in airtight glass freezer-safe containers.

A few ideas:
• Peel browned bananas and freeze for frosty, creamy smoothies
• Freeze greens and collards for use in sautéed one-pot dinners or soups
• Core and cut up pears, apples and quince for later use in smoothies
• Root veggies like carrots, beets and sweet potatoes can be used for sautéed one-pot dinners or soups

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3. Use It Up.
If you are not sure that you can get to your produce and veggies before they perish, hold on! Try:

Mix together herbs, fruit and greens of all kinds—you can get in a lot of nutrients this way while using up quite a bit of produce.

Make a Veggie Stock Toss scraps and leftover veggies together and make a stock. Freeze for later use and use ice cube trays for smaller serving sizes (great for adding flavor when cooking lentils, rice and quinoa).

Make Some Oil & Herb Cubes for Easy Dinners Little flavor bombs that you can toss with any combination of veggies, greens and pseudo-grains for sautéed lunch/dinner goodness.

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If you like this collection of tips, YU will love the expanded and updated YU Test Drive Kit.
It’s loaded with even more charts and tips for shopping and plant-based kitchen success.

The YU Test Drive Kit

The YU Test Drive Kit includes 3 eBooksShopping, Welcome to Plant-Powerful, The 5-Day Meal Plan—and a printable, reusable shopping list to make transitioning easier. The Kit helps you try out a plant-based diet and succeed, because it provides you with all of the tools YU need.

Learn more about the YU Test Drive Kit


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  1. Jessica Sandoval

    A curious creature by nature, I would love to see your grocery list, especially if its handwritten. Maybe on instagram one day :).

  2. Thanks for the tips! It is so easy to go crazy with all the pretty produce!

  3. Alexandra

    Thanks for the great tips Heather! My mom and I have a big vegetable garden (we are very lucky!) and our kitchen counter tops look just like yours in the picture right now!

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