Vibrant green Alfredo pasta made with broccoli stems and almond ricotta made with pulp. A great vegan recipe to use up typical food wastes.

BROCCOLI STEM AND NETTLE ALFREDO WITH ALMOND RICOTTA
Jump to:

The last eight months have been damp and dreary. But this week the weather finally began to feel like the winter spell has broken and we’ve moved onto sunnier days. Overnight it's gone from wearing gumboots to pulling out the shorts, so I can't really complain.

These few warm days have brought a drastic change to my mental and physical well being. And it has me feeling more alive. Each year I fail to notice how my energy subsidies and my creativity stagnates during the winter and autumn months. Then a few warm days come and ignite my brain like an engine working overtime. There is so much I want to make up for. So many tasks I want to complete that have laid dormant since last year.

Luckily for me, I spent a couple of days south of the border recently hanging out with and conspiring alongside my friend, Sasha. We ate ice cream at Frankie and Jo's, walked her adorable pups,  and bounced our newly emerging ideas off of each other like a game of ping-pong. One of the many topics that Sasha and I discussed was the epidemic crisis of food waste in North America.

BROCCOLI STEM + NETTLE ALFREDO WITH ALMOND RICOTTA

Food Waste

When it comes to food waste, it can be shocking to think about how much edible food makes its way to the trash. Annually, Canada alone wastes around 396 kg (873 lb) of food per capita. In the USA that number goes up to 415 kg (914 lb). It goes down to 249 kg (548 lb) in Mexico.

For the average Canadian that's akin to tossing out ¼ of your groceries each time you go shopping! Could you imagine coming home just to toss a quarter of what you just bought? While some of this is a result of overproduction and a ridiculous grading system that exists beyond our daily control, there are measures we can take to try to tackle our own personal waste.

I must admit that I am guilty of wasting food. I toss those leftovers I got sick of eating. Sometimes I let things spoil. And over purchase items has got to be the biggest hurdles for me personally. However, there are a few things I try to keep in mind to reduce my own personal waste.

Ingredients

  • broccoli
  • nettles (or kale)
  • capers
  • lemon
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • blanched almonds
  • nutritional yeast
  • garlic powder
  • pasta
  • bread crumbs or panko

Method

The almond ricotta is a great way to use up left over pulp from nut milk.

Just strain the milk through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl. Tie up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.

Set aside 2 tablespoons of the almond milk and save the rest for another use.

Transfer the almond ricotta to a medium bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and reserved almond milk and stir well to combine. Set aside.

Almond Ricotta

To make the sauce, peel the broccoli stems and cut into ½ inch rounds (you should have about 2 cups). Add the stems to the boiling water. Blanch the broccoli stems for 7-10 minutes, until very tender. Add the nettles (or kale) to the pot and blanch for a few more minutes.

Nettles

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli stems and nettles to the container of a high speed blender (no need to rinse it out from the milk). Add the capers, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and ¼ cup - ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Blend on high until completely smooth.

With the blender running at medium, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream to the sauce. Cut the rest of the broccoli into bite sized florets and set aside. Cook pasta and combine with almond ricotta!

Tips + Notes

Zero Waste Kitchen Tips:

  1. Look for shops and markets that sell imperfect produce
  2. Shop more often and buy less
  3. Make smaller batches of food and serve smaller portions (it's easier to go back for seconds)
  4. Use up the whole plant (carrot greens, beet greens, broccoli stems, and radish greens for example)
Vegan Alfredo with broccoli and almond ricotta

Using up parts of veggies that often get tossed (either at home or at the market) is a simple way to save perfectly edible veggies while being kind to your wallet. While the internet is full of recipes for carrot tops, radish greens, rinds and peelings, Sasha and I decided to tackle some of the waste we come across most often—broccoli stems and almond pulp. Broccoli is one of the most consumed vegetables in my house.

Although you can buy it without the stem, I know from working in grocery stores that the stems get tossed. So personally I think you're better off buying it stem included.

BROCCOLI STEM + NETTLE ALFREDO WITH ALMOND RICOTTA

While broccoli stems are often thought of as tough and fibrous, peeling them reveals a tender and sweet centre which is great to roast, add to slaw, or in this case puree into a creamy sauce. The combination of lemon, capers, olive oil, and vibrant green broccoli make for a super springy main that's rich and creamy as any nutty vegan mac and cheese.

The addition of making a quick version of plant-based almond ricotta out of homemade almond milk pulp helps to add a salty hit and a great cheese-like lusciousness. And to think, we often compost the stuff.

Recipe

BROCCOLI STEM AND NETTLE ALFREDO WITH ALMOND RICOTTA
Print Recipe
4.67 from 3 votes

Broccoli Stem and Nettle Alfredo with Almond Ricotta

Vibrant green Alfredo pasta made with broccoli stems and almond ricotta made with pulp. A great vegan recipe to use up typical food waste.
Servings: 3

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cheesecloth
  • Sieve
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large pot
  • Blender
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

THE SAUCE

  • Around 2 bunches broccoli
  • 2 ½ cups nettles or kale, lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • Zest from ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE RICOTTA

  • 1 cup blanched almonds soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

FOR THE PASTA

  • 450 grams pasta or about 1 pound
  • Toasted breadcrumbs for serving

Instructions

For The Ricotta

  • Combine the soaked almonds and 3 cups filtered water in the container of a high speed blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds.
  • Strain the milk through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl. Tie up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible.
  • Set aside 2 tablespoons of the almond milk and save the rest for another use.
  • Transfer the almond pulp to a medium bowl. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and reserved almond milk and stir well to combine. Set aside.

For The Sauce

  • Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil.
  • Peel the broccoli stems and cut into ½ inch rounds (you should have about 2 cups). Add the stems to the boiling water. Blanch the broccoli stems for 7-10 minutes, until very tender. Add the nettles (or kale) to the pot and blanch for a few more minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli stems and nettles to the container of a high speed blender (no need to rinse it out from the milk). Add the capers, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and ¼ cup - ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Blend on high until completely smooth.
  • With the blender running at medium, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream to the sauce. Cut the rest of the broccoli into bite sized florets and set aside.

For The Pasta

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and cook for another 3 minutes. Drain the pasta before returning it to the pot. Add the sauce to the pot and stir well to evenly coat. Serve with dollops of ricotta and toasted breadcrumbs.

Other Pasta Recipes

6 Comments

  1. Love this post and how your photos turned out! Such a great reminder to constantly pay attention to our habits and adjust accordingly. Thanks for coming down to visit. I loved hanging out with you and hope we can do it again soon.

    XO

    1. Thanks Sasha! I had such a blast with you (and thank you ever so much for your hospitality!) Can't wait to cook together again soon <3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating