Food waste has always been unacceptable. But now that I’m basically risking my life every time I leave my house, it’s just not an option. I bought basil when I did my big 2 week produce shop and by the end of week one I realized I was playing with fire and needed to use up all the basil before it keeled over.
Basil can go at any minute in the fridge. Just when I think I’ve got the golden ticket for basil storage, I open my fridge to a basil cemetery. So this mild bout of food insecurity has put some urgency into my food preservation practices, that pushed me to self impose a new herb rule: if a tender herb as been in the fridge for more than 1 day and I don’t have a specific use for it, I’m blending it up into a sauce!
It’s actually a great idea (patting myself on the back a little) because almost anything is improved by a spoon of green sauce. It’s helpful to think of green sauce as more formulaic than sticking to a particular recipe because we need to stay nimble in our efforts to combat food waste! I think no matter what you have, you can always mix up a green sauce of some kind.
My thought is that you need at least one of a few types of components, though more than one is great if you can. Green Sauce Formula: green herb (obviously), an acid, a fat and an aromatic element and salt. Here are some examples:
Mint + lemon juice + full to medium fat yogurt + minced ginger + salt
Parsley + apple cider vinegar + olive oil + garlic + salt
Cilantro + lime juice + tahini + chili flakes + salt
An optional additional ingredient could be a very small amount of a sweetener if your acid is too sharp. Quantities will depend on how much herb you have to use, but in terms of fat to acid, I start with a 1:1 fat to acid ratio and then adjust from there.
A food processor will give you a pesto like final product and a high-speed blender can produce something very fine and smooth. But if all you have is a knife and a cutting board, you can still do this by chopping everything very fine and then adding enough oil and acid to make the mixture spoonable. It will be rustic and delicious. Because of the oil and the acid, the sauce should keep in the fridge for well over a week.
The green sauce that I made this week was:
Cilantro & basil + lime juice + olive oil, tahini & cashews + garlic & ginger + salt