You went to the farmer’s market last week in a perfect storm: Payday was two days ago, plus it was National Eat Your Veg Day (or something to that effect… ), and everything in the market was on sale. You were feeling healthy. Unable to decide between the piles of greens, squash, and carrots, you bought it all. It happens. Fast forward one week later: You just can’t eat another salad, and the once-perky leaves of green have started to wilt. Don’t give up and toss them—there are infinite ways to eat not-so-perfect produce. Soup, mash, and sauté your way to less food waste and more colorful meals. You won’t be sorry.

Leafy Greens

Sad veg: Bok Choy and Mushroom Soba Noodle Bowl
Photo: Simple Veganista

Bok choy is the most vibrant shade of green, plus it’s crunchy, slightly bitter, and tastes amazing with earthy mushrooms and miso. If you can’t find soba noodles (or just aren’t into buckwheat), use whole-wheat pasta—any shape will do.

Sad veg: Swiss Chard and Golden Beet Frittata
Photo: Healthy Nibbles and Bits

Few veggies are more enticing than chard: Deep green leaves offset with red (sometimes orange and yellow too) veins and stalks. It’s no wonder you bought five bunches. This frittata is the best possible way to use them up. Every bite is a bitter yet sweet blend of the greens, yellow beet, and sun-dried tomato. Make it for dinner tonight, then bring the leftovers to work for tomorrow’s lunch.

Sad veg: Garlicky Greens Soup
Photo: The First Mess

For when you find a few wimpy leaves of kale, a two week-old green cabbage half, and a bag of the mustard greens you “just had to try,” make this super-simple soup. Dice sweet potato for some sweetness and add lentils for enough protein to fill it out into a meal. Pro tip: An even better dinner awaits those who toast a garlic-rubbed slice of bread to crunch on in-between slurps.

Sad veg: Green Monster Bread
Photo: The First Year Blog

This mint-colored bread is so much more than just another slice of zucchini bread. Sweetened with honey, rich and creamy with Greek yogurt and peanut butter, and tinted green from a large handful of spinach, a big slice of this loaf is just as satisfying a breakfast as it is dessert.

Squash

Sad veg: Squash stir fry
Photo: Cotter Crunch

This isn’t the stir-fry you’re used to. Spiralize zucchini and yellow squash into long twirly noodles, then sauté with a big hunk of sliced cabbage (you know, the one that’s been in your crisper for two-plus weeks). Toss in a thick, nutty dressing and serve with chili flakes.

Sad veg: Mashed Butternut Squash With Goat Cheese and Rosemary
Photo: Recipe Runner

Any ol’ squash (or even sweet potatoes!) you have hanging out on your kitchen counter will make a sweet base for this mash. Eat it as a side for dinner tonight, or ditch the goat cheese and rosemary, get creative, and treat it like oatmeal: Top with toasted nuts and seeds, plus a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Sad veg: Zucchini, Oat, and Greek Yogurt Muffins
Photo: Running With Spoons

Chances are you’ve had a run-in with carrot muffins, but what about zucchini? Sometimes hiding veggies in sweet things is the best way to use up excess produce, especially when it’s looking a little limp. Shred your imperfect zucchini into a cinnamon and honey-flavored batter; no one will know the difference… they may not even detect the squash at all.

Sad veg: Turkey-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Photo: Innocent Delight

For a seasonal spin on stuffed peppers, try filling acorn squash with a turkey-apple-cranberry stuffing. The squash is simple to prep; it just takes a bit of time to roast into that soft and sweet texture. Brown the turkey and spices in a pan toward the end of the squash bake, then fill and pop back in the oven for one more quick trip. It’s the perfect dinner to throw in the oven when you know you already need to be home—laundry day, perhaps?

Cauliflower

Sad veg: Cauliflower Fried Rice
Photo: Pinch of Yum

Cauliflower fried rice sounds as though it tastes like salad, but it’s really a super-filling alternative to the takeout classic. The recipe requires a full head of the veg, plus carrots and green onions (we’d also recommend throwing in chopped mushrooms and peppers if you’ve got them), so if you got a little overexcited at the market, this is a great way to clean out the fridge. Shred the cauliflower with a box grater or food processor and sauté until soft. Crack in an egg for protein and douse with a little Tamari for seasoning.

Sad veg: Cauliflower Crust Flatbread
Photo: Top With Cinnamon

Rice that cauliflower, y’all, we’ve got a pizza crust to make. That’s right, this is a pizza base made from vegetables. With the help of an egg, cauliflower puffs up into a springy crust, ready to be topped with any leftover produce you’re ready to use—just don’t forget a heavy pour of tomato sauce and thick slices of mozzarella cheese.

Sad veg: Cauliflower and Kale Soup
Photo: Cooking LSL

The trick to this uber-flavorful soup is pre-roasting the cauliflower. Boil a mixture of fresh kale, onion, cauliflower, and vegetable stock, then puree in shifts for a bright meal that can be enjoyed warm or cold. The creamy soup is best topped with a handful of kale chips and toasted pine nuts.

Root Vegetables

Sad veg: Whole-Wheat Pasta With Roasted Beet Sauce
Photo: Naturally Ella

For those nights when all you want is a big bowl of pasta but your fridge is crammed with vegetables, this is the dish to make. Make your favorite whole-wheat pasta, reserving some of the boiling water once cooked. Roast beets (or carrots! Or both!) with olive oil until tender. Blend the veg into a velvety sauce with lemon juice, dill, starchy pasta water, and just a touch of heavy cream—though you can use almond or coconut milk for a lightened-up version. Toss with the pasta and twirl onto your fork with crushed walnuts and crumbled feta.

Sad veg: No-Bake Carrot Cake
Photo: Whole Food Simply

Finish off your five-pound bunch of carrots with this simple carrot cake. Pulse the veg in the food processor with dates, raisins, coconut, walnuts, and spices, then pop in the fridge to set. Eat the treat as is, or whip up a vegan “cream cheese” icing of macadamia nuts, coconut oil, and lemon juice to smear on top.

Sad veg: Vegetable Flatbreads
Photo: Green Kitchen Stories

You’re probably used to slicing veggies onto a sandwich or maybe even blending them into a spread for the meal. But what if the vegetables were the sandwich bread? Dream with us, and try these veg-flatbreads, made with carrots, beets, and broccoli.

Potatoes

Sad veg: Baked Curly Fries
Photo: The Healthy Maven

You can make diner-worthy curly fries that are 1. better for you and 2. don’t require leaving the house. All it takes is a plethora of potatoes and a spiralizer. Coat the sliced taters in olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite spices (we like salt and pepper; or chili powder, cayenne, and garlic powder). Bake until crispy and good luck sharing.

Sad veg: Samosa Potato Cakes
Photo: Minimalist Baker

Lug those potatoes off the counter and turn them into Indian-spiced patties. Blend curry powder and cardamom with smashed potatoes and peas. Form into disks and pan-fry until golden. If you noticed a big bunch of cilantro in your fridge the other day, this is the perfect time to make the accompanying five-minute green chutney recipe.

Sad veg: Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Photo: Tastes of Lizzy T

Sweet potato fries are at the top of our list of favorite foods, even more so when the fries leave a spicy coating on our fingers (perfect for licking!). These baked bites get so crispy and satisfying it’s damn near impossible to eat just a handful. We’ll offer you some advice: Don’t skip the spicy mayo—it’s exactly what the potatoes need.

All the Veg

Sad veg: Thai Green Curry With Spring Vegetables
Photo: Cookie and Kate

A warm and comforting brothy bowl-dinner that’s quick enough for a weeknight? Sign us up. Another any-veg-will-do kind of meal, this Thai-inspired curry is just the right combination of creamy and fresh.

Sad veg: Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice Buddha Bowl
Photo: The Roasted Root

Pile as many veggies you can onto a baking sheet (points if you can make a rainbow ombré) and roast until fork-tender. Serve with greens, cabbage, nutty brown rice, and a thick pour of your favorite dressing. While we’re all about tahini dressings with Buddha bowls, sneak that less-than-perfect avocado into the blender for a creamy sauce instead.

Sad veg: One-Pot Ratatouille Spaghetti
Photo: Wallflower Kitchen

Ratatouille is a flavor-packed side or toast topper, yes, but why not use it in pasta? Answer: You should. Gather zucchini, eggplant, and peppers; sauté until browned. Mix in crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and your favorite pasta for your new go-to dinner.

Sad veg: Mixed Vegetable Egg Casserole
Photo: Little Spice Jar

The beauty of this casserole is that you really can throw in any vegetables you have on hand. Give them a chop and a quick sauté, then pile into a baking dish. Cover the veg with beaten eggs and your favorite cheese (we’re partial to Swiss and feta), then bake until fluffy.

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