Recipe Review

No-Waste Tip: Sauté the Last of the Salad Greens

updated May 2, 2019
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Where do you find yourself wasting food? As much as we hate food waste, sometimes we fall into the same traps over and over again — buying too many apples at the farmers market, forgetting a load of spinach in the crisper drawer. I have been trying to identify the places where I most frequently slip up, and for me, that means salad greens.

Here’s one way to eke a little more use out of a load of salad greens and hopefully avoid waste.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

I love salad greens, especially spicy stuff like arugula. I keep lots of it around, since some days I will eat a salad for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But sometimes I neglect my salad greens, letting them get old and yellowed in the refrigerator. This past week, for instance, I went away for a few days and forgot about this huge tub of baby arugula. When I returned it was rapidly turning stale, yellowed, and just a teeny bit slimy around the edges. But I didn’t want to throw it out — such a waste! So much salad!

So I tried something else: I sautéed it with a little butter and a lot of garlic. That entire tub of arugula wilted down into a very nice side dish for two, perfectly complementing the fresh salmon we ate alongside it. It was delicious and not a bit slimy or stale-tasting.

This can work for other greens, too. Even romaine and iceberg lettuce are delicious after a quick sauté with garlic and olive oil. They make a splendid addition to a morning omelet or an evening grilled cheese sandwich, and cooking them takes five minutes flat.

Of course, if your bag of salad has turned black and goopy, this probably wouldn’t apply. But if it’s just on the edge, a little too yellowed for a fresh salad, then dump it in a pan and cook it. No waste, and plenty of flavor.

(Image: Faith Durand)