Stalk Your Vegetables

 In Living Plate

No pits, no peel, no problem! Stalk vegetables are edible plants whose stalks are consumed like vegetables. They are simple to prepare, with usually just a rinse and rough chop required. Thanks to their sturdiness, stalk vegetables also make excellent vehicles for all kinds of nutritious foods. Here are some of our favorites with some clever ways to include them in your weekly meal plan:

Celery

Celery is underrated, usually playing second fiddle to carrots, peppers, and cucumbers on the crudité platter. Celery contains vitamin K, antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C, and is low in calories. When consumed raw, this crunchy vegetable adds nice texture to all types of salads. Consider braising it to mellow the bitterness and highlight its sweetness. Place celery stalks with herbs in a sauté pan and cover with broth – simmer uncovered until celery softens and broth thickens.

Fennel

Sometimes referred to as anise, fennel is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. Rich in several phytochemicals, fennel is also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and folate. Its strong licorice flavor can add freshness to dishes, although some people find the flavor overpowering. Cooking fennel mellows its strong flavor and braising, as explained for celery, is a terrific option. We also love adding to our roasted vegetable rotation – try this delicious, simple recipe for Roasted Tomatoes with Fennel

Asparagus

Ah, the belle of the springtime ball! Asparagus is hard to beat for its levels of vitamin K and folate. The key to enjoying these stalks is to trim tough ends and lightly cook the remaining vegetable. Remove from heat just before they are tender, as they will continue to cook when removed from water. Plunging in ice water can help stop the cooking process. Pesto and asparagus are a match made in heaven – here Chef Julie brought the two flavors together for a dish the whole family will enjoy: Pesto Tofu with Roasted Vegetables 

Hearts of Palm

You’ll find hearts of palm in the canned vegetable aisle of the grocery store, making it a convenient addition to any mixed vegetable salad. Don’t let their demure appearance fool you – these stalks are superstar suppliers of vitamin B-6 and potassium. Maintain as a pantry staple and you will always be 10 minutes away from this company-worthy dish: Hearts of Palm and Tomato Salad 

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