Because sliced cucumbers have like two days in the fridge until they’re a soggy, disgusting mess.
I recently hosted a baby shower for a friend. I’m a firm believer that nothing spoils a party faster than running out of food, so I bought enough to feed a small army. The shower turned out great, but now I have enough leftover crudites and veggie tray items to last me a month.
I don't want them to spoil, and there's only so much dip that one person can eat. So I did some digging, and it turns out that if you host a party and have a leftover vegetable tray (or two, or three), it's not at all difficult to turn those raw veggies into several delicious meals and sides. I broke it down by what veg you’re working with, so you can make the most out of your bounty.
Carrots are one of the most versatile veggies—which is lucky, because if you’re working with a leftover veg tray, you’re probably going to be stuck with baby carrots.
The good news? You can sub those in for other carrots in most recipes—and the possibilities are truly endless. You can roast them, steam or saute them, turn them into a carrot mash, or whirl them into a luscious soup. If you’re really feeling ambitious, you can grate them into carrot cake sandwich cookies, or take the savory route and make carrot pancakes with a curry dipping sauce.
Cucumber slices don’t have to meet a soggy fate. You could always use them in a salad (they’re neutral and go with pretty much every flavor profile), or pickle them, but cukes are also great blended in a refreshing summer gazpacho, muddled in cocktails, or made into a put-on-everything Taziki sauce.
Raw Broccoli or Cauliflower
For some reason, raw broccoli and cauliflower are the least eaten veggie tray items (I don’t have scientific proof of this, but please, prove me wrong.) But your party guests’ loss is your gain, because these two cruciferous veggies are some of the easiest to transform.
Sure, you could keep it basic and roast them, tuck them into a frittata, or shred them into a cold salad, but there’s a world of untapped possibilities out there. Puree raw veg into a luscious pasta sauce, make them into hummus, whirl ‘em into a pesto, or fold into biscuits for an unexpected surprise.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas or snow peas are tricky to reuse, but the way you cook them can make a big difference. We love them in a salad or eaten cold with creamy cheese and herbs, but we also love them grilled, tossed in a stir fry, placed on a pizza, or added to pasta.
Not everyone loves bell peppers raw, but cooking them takes away some of their characteristic sweetness. Cook bell peppers in a flavor-packed stir fry, shrimp paella, or veg-forward home fries. If you want to be a little more ambitious, you can make romesco sauce or gazpacho.