Stories / Impact, Recipes

Stop Trashing Your Stems and Make This

Derek Wagner serves up a noodle of unusual origin

Maggie Borden

September 28, 2018


Rainbow Chard Noodles Photo: Photo: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis
Photo: Keirnan Monaghan and Theo Vamvounakis

Rainbow chard is a beautiful green with tons of flavor, but far too often you find dishes that call for those verdant leaves and leave you hanging with a pile of stems. At Nick’s, Chefs Boot Camp alum Derek Wagner’s restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, the chef employs the colorful, flavorful but rarely used chard stems in a number of ways, including shaving, dicing, slicing, and pickling. In this recipe, he cuts the stems into strips and cooks them as you would pasta. Wagner recommends serving them nestled amongst spaghetti, tossed with butter and herbs, or layered with cheese, toasted grains, or nuts—take a taste, and you'll soon find yourself wondering why you ever chucked those savory stems. Get the recipe.


The James Beard Foundation's new cookbook, Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food, offers up a host of delicious solutions to the pressing problem of food waste. Featuring 100 recipes from alumni of our Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, Waste Not will teach you how to turn every root, bone, rind, and stem into an irresistible dish.

Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food, published by Rizzoli,​ is on sale now.​ Order your copy today!

Maggie Borden is content manager at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.