Over the last few years I have really worked hard to reduce food waste in my household and I am happy to say we are now at the zero waste stage and have been for a while!
Getting to this point took some planning and creativity when it came to using up vegetables and fruits so they didn’t go to waste, however, it has resulted in the creation of lots of tasty recipes that will help you use up random food!
I have created this round up my favourite recipes to reduce food waste so they are all in one place with helpful direct links in case you are in need of ideas or inspiration! This is a list that will always be expanding as I create new recipes to make sure you come back to it every few months or so to check what is new!
A lot of my recipes call for various herbs, however, there are a couple that call for multiple and you can basically just throw any of them in and they will still taste good! If you find you have a handful of more than two types of herbs that urgently need using why not try one of the following!
This Chimichurri recipe is a quick, easy and versatile sauce that will jazz up any dish! Drizzle it over grilled vegetables or meat, use it as a salad dressing or dip bread into it! It is salty, tangy, a little spicy and beautifully flavoured! This is easily my favourite way to use up old herbs.
If you like the idea of using herbs up in chimichurri but also have some potatoes that you need to eat, why not kill two birds with one stone and make my Smashed Chimichurri Potatoes instead.
Another great way to use any herbs you have is with my Buttery Lemon & Herb Potatoes recipe. This is a versatile recipe that makes a great accompaniment to many dishes and, although the herbs to use are listed in the ingredients, you could use any you wanted.
We all know potatoes, both white and sweet, have a pretty good shelf life but sometimes we can find the odd sorry looking one lurking at the back of the pantry! The fate of those potatoes doesn’t have to be the bin, however, as you could make one of the following recipes instead!
Rather than a savoury sweet potato recipe why not try this Spiced Sweet Potato & Blueberry Loaf instead? It is packed full of warming cinnamon and ginger and bursting with blueberries! This loaf is the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack on the go!
If a more traditional sweet potato dish is for you, you may prefer to make this Harissa Chickpea & Sweet Potato Stew instead. This is a lovely warming dish that consists of mostly pantry staples, meaning it is ideal when you need to head to the supermarket for supplies. You can also use up any open tubs of yogurt drizzled across the top of this recipe.
This Smokey Potato & Kidney Bean Hash is a great recipe to use up not only potato but pepper, onion and tinned goods too. This is a really versatile recipe where you can substitute the ingredients for whichever vegetables you have to hand, you could even do a sweet potato version of this if you fancied.
My Vegetable Patch Pie puts a vegan and gluten free twist on the classic Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie. It is a really hearty recipe packed full of vegetables meaning it is perfect to use those up as well as potatoes in the creamy mashed potato topping, making it perfect to reduce food waste.
These delicious stuffed potato cakes are the perfect way to use any leftover mashed potato you may have following a Sunday dinner when you made a little too much. Depending on personal preference you could make my Cheesy Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Potato Cakes (pictured) or my Cheesy Leek Stuffed Potato Cakes version.
Although the vast majority of recipes on my website contain vegetables so are technically a great way to use them up, the recipes listed below either use lots of veg at once and have interchangeable ingredients or only use one specific type.
If you have any carrots that need using and fancy trying something a little different why not give this Vegan Smoked Salmon recipe a go. It is really delicious and actually quite unnerving how similar it is to the real thing in taste and texture.
If you have found yourself with lots of tomatoes that need using up but don’t fancy just throwing them into a bolognese or chilli, why not try making my Basic Tomato Pasta Sauce, my Fiery Tomato Salad or my Spanish Style Beans which you can find here.
If you find yourself with an abundance of pumpkins or butternut squash to decorate with at Halloween, do not forget to eat them once you have finished! Roasted squash is one of my favourite Autumnal recipes and it is easy to keep waste low as you can roast them with the skin on and the seeds are edible too! Why not follow my recipe for my Thyme Roasted Butternut Squash which you can then use up in an array of dishes, such as my Squash & Kale Autumn Salad. Do not forget to make my Sweet & Salty Pumpkin Seeds and throw the guts into my Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancakes to make this zero waste.
This Creamy Red Pasta Pesto is a super versatile recipe that basically just calls for pasta, pesto, cream, garlic and any random green vegetables you have that need eating. It is one of the simplest dinner recipes on my website which means even the most inexperienced cook will be able to whip it up in hardly any time at all.
If you have an excessive amount of mushrooms you are struggling to use up why not rustle up one of the following recipes. My Mushroom Stroganoff (pictured), my Salt & Pepper Mushrooms and my Creamy Mushroom & Kale Pasta feature mushrooms as the star ingredient and are great ways to use them up.
If you can’t tell from the name of this recipe, this Zero Waste Mung Bean Chilli is one of the best recipes to reduce food waste that I have ever created. Providing all the seasoning and the mung beans are in there you can more or less just throw whatever you want in that needs eating and it will be delicious!
Stews are also great ways to use up lots of vegetables at once to reduce food waste! My super versatile Any Bean Stew (pictured) and Spicy Spanish Style Stew are no exception to this. Random vegetables, legumes, herbs and potatos can all get chucked in!
Another great way to use up lots of vegetables at once is by making my Hearty Lentil & Vegetable Soup. This is a really versatile recipe that is delicious despite being nutrient dense and full of fibre and protein – the perfect hearty lunch on a cold day and a great way to clear out your pantry.
Soups are a great way to use up vegetables if you have lots of a particular type that need eating. Why not try my Broccoli & Pesto Soup (pictured), Creamy Carrot & Ginger Soup or my Creamy Tomato Soup for a warming nutrient packed lunch that has the added benefit of reducing food waste.
Brines and Oils
I love using up the brine and oil leftover in jars in recipes as they hold so much flavour. If you have finished with a jar of gherkins or pickles make sure you pop the jar in the fridge ready to use up the brine/ pickle juice in my delicious Dill Pickle Fries recipe. I would also recommend doing the same with the brine from jars of capers as it works really well in recipes where you are trying to recreate a fish flavour – I use it in both my Chickpea Tuna recipe and my Vegan Smoked Salmon. I also find that saving the oil from things like sundried tomatoes once you have eaten the tomtoes and using it to drizzle over salads creates one of the tastiest dressings I have ever eaten!
My favourite way to use up any type of berries, with the exception of freezing them to use them up in smoothies, is by making a batch of my quick and easy homemade chia jam.
This easy to make Chia Jam needs just a handful of ingredients. This jam is great to use on toast, in smoothie bowls and in an array of desserts including the ones below!
My delicious Blackberry Crumble Bars are a great way to use up homemade jam and are the perfect dessert for anyone who is a fan of fruity flapjacks. I also have an apple version you can find here if those flavours are more your thing!
If, like me, you are more inclined to make a dessert that uses peanut butter and jam you may want to give my Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jam Bombs (pictured) a go. If you like that recipe and want to try something similar you will probably like my Peanut Butter & Strawberry Squares and Peanut Butter & Jam Chocolate Cups, both of which are great ways to use up the chia jam! If you would prefer to skip the jam and use the berry whole, you may like my Raspberry Chocolate Bark and want to try this using other berries too.
For fruit such as peaches, pears or apples you could try adding some sugar and spices and grilling them to make a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert – use my Cinnamon Grilled Peach recipe for inspiration. Alternatively you could try those fruits in a crumble instead, why not give my Peach & Ginger Crumble or this Apple & Rhubarb version that you can adapt a go.
Random Open Packets of Things
Sometimes we open packets of biscuits, dried fruit, nuts etc to use in a recipe but then get a little stuck on how to use up the rest. I have put a few recipes together below that will hopefully provide a little inspiration on how to get rid of all the half used bags of whatever you have laying around.
This no bake Loaded Rocky Road recipe is delicious, very easy to make and is a great way to use up all those open packets of biscuits you have hanging around your cupboards that need eating!
This Chocolate Orange Quinoa Bark is a really versatile recipe and a wonderful way to use up opened bags of dried fruit and nuts as they can be thrown in with this bark. The recipe calls for puffed quinoa, however, you could easily substitute this for cereal if you have an opened box that need eating!
Hopefully you have found this round up of my favourite recipes to reduce food waste helpful! As mentioned it will always be growing and evolving as I create more recipes that reduce waste – make sure you keep coming back to it so you do not miss any delicious and useful recipes!
If you are interested in doing more to reduce food waste and are looking for some zero food waste recipes that use the parts of fruits and vegetables that are normally thrown away as key ingredients you may like my Zero Waste Food Scrap Recipe guide which you can find here.
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