Food waste is a hot-topic within the health and wellness community.  Sadly, a lot of food is regularly thrown away because people don’t know the proper cooking applications to make it into something not only edible, but also delicious.

Chef Dan Barber coined the term root to frond cooking, which is “turning ingredients that we don’t think of as edible, into something that’s coveted.”  Root to frond is the practice of using the WHOLE plant (stalks, tops, peels, you name it). 

Most of us are guilty of food waste. Not because we’re trying to be irresponsible with our food, but there is simply a lack of knowledge.  It wasn’t until my culinary nutrition course at the Natural Gourmet Institute, that I became aware of this issue.  Here are a few suggested cooking techniques for the food parts most commonly discarded.

I had no idea that kale stems were not destined for the garbage!  Now realizing how much kale I eat, I know I created a ton of waste over the years.  Well I am trying to make up for it now by sharing this kale stem pesto recipe with all of you!

I’ve used this kale stem pesto as a“pasta” sauce on spaghetti squash or zoodles, or massaged into a kale salad.  It’s really versatile!


Kale Stem Pesto

1 cup chopped kale stems

½ cup kale leaves (these can also be greens that you would normally discard such as wilted kale leaves)

½ pine nuts

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp water

salt and pepper totaste


  1. Add the kale, kale stems and pine nuts to a food processor.
  2. While grinding in the food processor, slowly add the olive oil and water
  3. Once combined add salt and pepper to tast