Baby Steps for Better Health: Root to Frond | Natural Gourmet Institute

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Baby Steps for Better Health: Root to Frond

Posted February 9, 2018

Welcome to our series, “Baby Steps for Better Health,” where we share small food, nutrition, and sustainability tips that go a long way. This month we are sharing a few tips on root to frond cooking and how we can help prevent food waste by using every part of our produce.

Without realizing it, many of us are throwing away the tops, peels, and rinds of our produce simply because we don’t know what to do with them, or maybe because we didn’t know we could eat them. Did you know that these parts are often full of minerals and phytochemicals, and not to mention rich in flavor? Get more bang for your buck when buying your produce and start incorporating these nutritious leaves, stems, and roots into your meals.

Tips for root to frond cooking and getting the most out of your fruits, vegetables, and herbs:

  • When cutting vegetables during meal prep, set aside a special bowl for scraps and ends and pass them through a juicer for a refreshing pick-me-up or use them to make a vegetable stock
  • Blanche extra greens to use as a filling for a gratin or freeze for future use in a soup.
  • When faced with extra leaves, blend them into a pesto, gremolata, relish, or salsa verde.
  • Petite greens, or fronds, make beautiful garnishes.
  • Transform citrus into candied rinds or make an infused water.

This cauliflower dish utilizes an entire lemon, enhancing the flavor of the sauce with lemon juice and adding a delicious and beautiful garnish to the dish with the lemon peel.



  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into ½ inch vertical slices
  • ¼ cup arrowroot
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 lemons, juiced (reserving zest)
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 1/3 cup parsley

For the Relish:

  • Reserved lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


  1. Warm the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large deep sauté pan.  Toss the cauliflower slices in arrowroot, dusting off the excess.  Fry for 2 minutes per side or until golden, turning once.  Remove from pan and sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Deglaze the pan by adding the lemon juice and stock, whisking in any fond on the bottom of the pan.  Stir in capers and simmer mixture for 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and toss in parsley.  Serve over crispy cauliflower.
  3. For the relish, cut the peel into a fine mince and toss with sea salt and olive oil.  Serve as garnish.

Did you miss our last post in this series? Check out these tips for adding a self-care breakfast to your routine.