For years, whenever I would buy carrots or turnips I would chop off the greens off and throw it in the trash. That wasn’t edible, obviously. One day I came across a recipe for pesto using these greens and my jaw dropped open. You can eat that? It took a few minutes to process that all along I was throwing good food away. That was immediately followed by concern about what other foods was I wasting.
The fact of the matter is that when you cook you make garbage. Sure those coffee grounds can be recomposted along with banana peels and eggshells, but scraps and odd bits of foods can be repurposed into some edible, nay, something delicious. After all, prices are increasing for quality food and the average American family throws out about $2,000 worth of food a year. And it’s not just in home kitchens, chefs in restaurants around the globe are becoming more conscious about maximizing the use of food to cut down on waste. Just this week, Italian Chef Massimo Bottura is repurposing leftovers from the Olympic Village (estimated to produce 16 tonnes of food waste feeding Olympic teams) to feed people in need in Rio. If that doesn’t inspire you to look mindfully at the way you cook, these recipes will.
Carrot Greens Pesto
To start, let’s go with the recipe that changed my thinking. The use of lemon juice and miso paste make this unlike any pesto you’ve had before, trust me because I’ve had a lot of pesto. Lisa of Healthy Nibbles and Bits pairs a mix of zucchini noodles and angelhair pasta with her carrot-based sauce. You can use just regular noodles but this combination packs extra flavor and nutrition into a dish.
Beet Bean Cheeseburger
One of the leaders of this movement is chef Dan Barber at Blue Hill in New York City, where he launched WastED—a a curated pop-up dinner by guest chefs using only leftover ingredients. The idea for this very popular burger patty made of beet pulp came from the news that a food incubator in the city was producing one ton of pulp per day cold-pressing juices. Blue Hill now uses some of that pulp in their burger on the regular. There’s a lot of ingredients involved but don’t get overwhelmed, the end result is nothing less than perfection.
Whole Orange Tray Bake
In the mood for something sweet? Use an orange (skin and all!) to make a light yet flavorful cake. The trick here is the boiled then pureed citrus element that blends nicely with almonds. Don’t let the simpleness of the presentation fool you, this dessert is complex and best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.