Doesn’t sound appetizing does it. It is. The name has a story. When I was young, my mother would make salads for supper all summer. When she had a bunch of leftover stuff in the fridge, it would get thrown together in what she lovingly told us was “garbage salad.” Invariably, my sister and I would roll our eyes knowing that 4 different salad dressing mixed together and leftover soggy lettuce was awaiting. Since those years, I have reclaimed the “garbage salad” such that the individual ingredients mesh together with more style than those of my youth. “Garbage” cooking has expanded, occasionally while listening to the band of the same name (yup, that dates me), to include stews, hash and stir-fry. The game is to recycle leftovers so that it doesn’t look, feel nor taste like what was served prior – instead creating something brand-spanking new. Enough talk. More food. Here’s the general idea that you can play off of and modify to your heart’s desire.
Yield: 4 as a side dish
What you need:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or more if you’re feeling greasy)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cooked potatoes, diced or crumbled
- 1 cup sliced greens (Brussel sprout leaves are illustrated, but kale, collards, chard or spinach all work)
- 1 veggie-burger patty, crumbled (or a few slices of baked tofu chopped up, or a couple of vegan sausages sliced, or some leftover vegan ground, preferably something that’s already spiced up)
- 1 tomato, chopped (or some leftover canned tomatoes, drained)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 teaspoon spice (optional, if your protein doesn’t have any spice, chili powder or curry powder would be good, Old bay seasoning or zaatar would work too)
- salt and pepper to taste
What you do:
- Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a cast-iron skillet or other frying or sauté pan that works for you. Add the onion and stir and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add the chopped potatoes, some salt, the spice blend if using, and mix. Let things sit for 3 or 4 minutes so they get crusty on the bottom. Get the spatula under the crusty bits and flip it over. Let things sit another 3 or 4 minutes to make more yummy crunchy bits. Flip again, getting under the good stuff.
- Crumble in the leftover veggie-burger or protein and add the greens. Flip/stir to combine. Keep cooking and flipping another 6 to 8 minutes or so to get more crunch throughout the potatoes and protein.
- Add the tomato and stir/flip to mix. Cook a couple of minutes until the tomato starts to get a bit mushy. Add the nutritional yeast if using and mix evenly throughout. Keep flipping until the tomato’s juices have been absorbed by the other ingredients and the hash just starts to dry out.
- Remove from heat immediately. Taste for salt and pepper and serve hot, perhaps with some avocado or tahini dressing on top.