Create something fabulous with leftover vegetable pulp.

Vegetable Pulp for Baking

by Raechel Donahue

Juicing is an effective way to maximize the vitamins from vegetables, but the leftover pulp is often thrown away. Instead of tossing it, refrigerate the pulp immediately and plan to use it within a couple of days, as it spoils quickly. Thrifty and health-conscious cooks have learned how to use the fiber and flavor from vegetable pulp to make tasty treats ranging from crackers and cupcakes to breads, burgers and even horse treats. You don't need a fancy recipe, just a little ingenuity.

1. Crackers

Juice-pulp crackers are a tasty and nutritious alternative to preservative-laden commercial chips. In a blender or food processor, combine 3 cups of whatever veggie pulp you have on hand for every 1/2 cup of chickpea flour or flax meal and 1/4 cup of chia or sesame seeds. It's essential that you break down some of the fiber in the pulp so the chips won't be too chewy. Add about a cup of water, a little at a time, and blend until the mixture is the consistency of paste. Spread thinly on a non-stick pastry sheet and bake at 350 degrees F, checking frequently, for about 30 minutes or until crispy. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter or just break the sheet into pieces.

2. Veggie Burgers

Vegetable pulp can take on all kinds of flavors when incorporated into a veggie burger. Load your food processor with a cup of pulp for every can of beans -- chili beans for a Mexican twist -- some chopped onion, a clove of garlic, an egg and whatever seasoning you prefer. Pulse until the mixture is fairly smooth but with a little texture. Shape into patties and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes. Serve in a burger bun with your favorite toppings.

3. Breads, Muffins and Cupcakes

Any banana bread or muffin recipe can be modified to utilize your leftover vegetable pulp. Simply substitute the pulp for the amount of bananas called for, making sure that you blend the pulp with the seasonings first so that the pulp can take on the flavors of the honey, vanilla and cinnamon that are crucial to such quick breads. You can also add 1/2 cup of pulp to a basic whole wheat bread recipe with successful results, but avoid using beet pulp unless you are looking for a bright-red bread. You can most certainly use beet pulp with chocolate in cupcakes for a nice red-velvet look; in a fine cake-flour recipe you must finely puree the pulp or the cake will fall.

4. Horse Treats

Horses are vegans by nature, so vegetable pulp is a natural addition to any horse treat. Avoid pulp from onions, rhubarb, peppers, broccoli or cauliflower, as they may cause gas. For a quick and tasty treat, combine 3 cups of regular non-instant oatmeal, rolled oats or sweet meal for every 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1 cup of vegetable pulp and mix well. Add molasses and use your hands -- you'll probably want to use rubber gloves for this sticky part of the task -- to knead the mixture. Add pulp or applesauce as necessary to make a workable dough. Squeeze out the excess moisture as you form the mixture into 3-inch cigar-shaped nuggets. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes, turning once, until crispy.

About the Author

Raechel Donahue is an author, journalist and former features editor of the Brentwood News. Her specialties include travel, food and film. She performs a weekend show on BossBossRadio.com, runs a travel website and has written, produced and directed several PBS documentaries. A native Californian, Donahue currently lives in France.

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