Grilled Eggplant with Jalapeño Chimichurri
Food waste is a big problem. Every day, week, and month Americans throw away a LOT of edible food. A part of the problem is that not everyone knows how to make the most of their fruits and vegetables, and we often throw away perfectly edible produce, like the stems of herbs, odds and ends of onions and carrots, or carrot tops. Spoiler alert - stop tossing them, and start making these recipes, starting with this grilled eggplant with jalapeno chimichurri using parsley stems and a bruised, less than perfect (but perfectly delicious) eggplant.
There's no better way to make eggplant than on the grill. Grilled eggplant is the tastiest way, hands down. You get a little bit of smoke, a little bit of char, and it helps make it beautifully creamy. Also, it takes just a couple of minutes, making it perfect for a quick meal.
While we may be used to using just the leaves of herbs, like parsley, the stems are perfectly edible, helping you get the most bang for you buck, and reducing food waste.
I made this using an eggplant that was looking less than perfect, with bruises and bumps, making it perfect for throwing on the BBQ and topped with a salty, spicy and herbaceous chimichurri made with parsley stems.
But back to food waste, it's a problem, and we should be talking (and acting) about it -
Why should I be concerned about food waste?
Food waste is something we've all seen - we've all contributed, even despite our best efforts. You buy too many bananas and toss one out, your oranges go bad before you can eat them, or your herbs go slimy hidden in the back of the crisper. Why should we care? Food waste is bad for the environment, it contributes greenhouse gas emissions, and food uses a lot of water to grow - so wasting food also wastes water.
It's not just an environmental issue - it also fails to acknowledge all those living with food insecurity worldwide.
How can I reduce my waste?
Luckily, there are dozens of things you can do to reduce your food waste. Here are some of my favorite tips:
Plan ahead before shopping! Take stock of your cupboards before shopping to ensure you aren't buying doubles.
Freeze it! If you notice food getting a little less than fresh, pop it in the freezer - you can freeze jsut about anything!
Learn the difference between "best before" and "use by" dates. Best before dated foods are typically fine to eat past that date - your crackers just may not be quite as crispy or punchy flavors, but safety-wise, you're all good. Even use by dates can be viewed as a guide - yogurt and milk are often good a couple of days past - but when in doubt, sniff it out.
Learn to love leftovers - reuse leftovers in recipes, from fried rice, to adding cooked veg to soups, stir fries and soups. If you're a meal planner, plan for 1-2 leftover meal days every week.
Learn to use what you have - from carrot tops to beet greens, don't waste any part of your vegetable - in other words, eat ROOT TO LEAF!
What to do with your herb stems?
Add to a pitcher of water for an infused drink (think mint stems and cucumber ends)
Save and add to a homemade stock
Blend into smoothies
Add to you pesto
Make into this Parsley Jalapeno Chimichurri!
For more food waste warrior recipes, try my Carrot Top Tabbouleh recipe!
Grilled Eggplant with Jalapeno Parsley Chimichurri
Author: Micah Siva
Total time: 20 min
5 tbsp olive oil, olive oil
2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch "steaks"
Pinch sea salt
1 cup parsley leaves and stems
2 tbsp white wine or red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
1-2 tbsp water
2 tsp sesame seeds, to garnish
Heat the barbecue on medium-high heat.
Drizzle the eggplant slices with 2 tbsp olive oil and sea salt. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side.
In a food processor, combine remaining olive oil, parsley, vinegar, garlic, and jalapeños. Add water 1 tbsp at a time or until it is combined but not completely smooth.
Drizzle dressing over eggplant. Top with sesame seeds.