One-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. And according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the top three foods Americans throw away are “inedible parts, prepared foods and leftovers, and fruits and vegetables”.
For those inedible parts that would normally be thrown into the trash, composting is an amazing option. But when it comes to prepared food, leftovers and fruits and veggies, we can do better, right?
Put an egg on it.
The simplest way to make food scraps into a full meal, or leftovers into an entirely new one, is to add an egg. Have half an onion lying around in your fridge? Cook it on a cast iron skillet until soft and crack an egg over top for a diner-esque meal. Make a kitchen sink omelette with leftover vegetables or greens, or use up leftover rice or quinoa by adding a fried egg and your favorite sauces, dressings or spices on top.
Treat greens like herbs.
Veggies don’t have to just be the main event, they can be used to flavor other dishes or be the base of delicious dressings, dips and sauces.
Got a bunch of leftover arugula about to go soggy? Blend it up with fresh herbs, like cilantro or parsley, a dash of red wine vinegar and a little bit of olive oil to make a fun twist on chimichurri sauce or whip up a yummy pesto sauce with carrot tops by blending with basil, garlic, and enough olive oil just to hold the sauce together.
Got a lot of dressing leftover? Freeze the excess in ice cube trays then take out and defrost as needed. This allows you to extend the life of your greens even further and takes the pressure off of having to use them up right away.
Treat herbs like greens.
Have a lot of extra herbs left from making a recipe? Use them up in creative ways like making an herb salad. This is common in middle eastern cuisine. Or add some herbs into your morning smoothie. Mint tastes delicious with strawberry and banana, and cilantro can add a fun kick to a pineapple and mango smoothie.
A lot of people don’t realize that you can add fresh herbs, produce and cooked or raw grains like oatmeal and quinoa to a baked good, like a loaf cake or muffins. Find one basic recipe that works for your needs, then substitute whatever leftover herbs, fruits or grains you have on hand.