I’m doing my part to celebrate Earth Day coming up on the 22nd of April with this leftover veggies and ham stir-fry recipe. But let’s talk about Earth Day first. This is a day where we focus on preserving our planet’s resources and which strongly promotes the adage: “use it up, wear it out and make it do”. Everyday hundreds of thousands of pounds of food are thrown away by food companies, grocery stores, restaurants, etc. due to past expiration dates or strict food safety regulations. But the amount of personal waste is pretty alarming too. I’m guilty of this and have wasted far too much food in my life time. The truth is that much of that food is still very safe to eat or at least to reuse in a new way. I came across a great article from the NYTimes outlining lots of ideas to reduce our waste by re-purposing many of the foods sitting and rotting in our refrigerators. Good ideas here!
Recently I had a lot of left over vegetables sitting in my crisper and I didn’t want to throw them out, but they were close approaching the slimy, mossy, moldy stage, so this versatile recipe was born. Not only did I want to use up my vegetables, but I still had some ham leftover from Easter, although in frozen state, that needed a place to go. Necessity really is the mother of invention, so I pulled together this colorful, healthful stir-fry with all my left over foods, served it over whole wheat pasta and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese (because everything tastes great topped with Parmesan cheese). The end result was pretty spectacular, so I quickly wrote down what I used so I could share it with you. Obviously you’re going to have different leftover vegetables in your refrigerator, so be creative. See what you’ve got to use up. You’ll be surprised how combinations of vegetables that you’d never think to put together, turn into something pretty amazing. Use my basic recipe as a template for your own Earth Day Stir-Fry and then share with me what you did.
- Spring Vegetable and Ham Stir Fry
- 4 ounces rotini whole grain pasta (I use Barilla yellow-box pasta)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups sliced yellow squash (2 medium)
- 1 small bunch asparagus, about 15 spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 medium red onion, sliced into wedges
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup diced cooked ham
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
- Juice of 1 medium lemon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add yellow squash, asparagus, red onion and garlic; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach, ham and parsley; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Spoon pasta onto serving platter. Arrange vegetable and ham mixture over top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.