on average, americans toss about 33 pounds of food in the trash every single month. by making a concerted effort to produce zero food waste, we can keep much of that discarded larder out of our landfills + in our bellies where it belongs. and it’s actually not as difficult as you may think to get started. one small step in the right direction: use up your entire ingredient. what does that mean, you ask? it means don’t throw those beet greens in the trash - blend ‘em in your smoothie. don't toss those eggshells - use them to enrich your soil. got broccoli stalks? shave them into ribbons + use them as noodles. and there’s more where that came from! in honor of earth day this year, we decided to cook up a few recipes designed to utilize every last morsel of that grocery haul. check out our 3 out-of-this-world zero-waste recipes:
[crockpot bone broth]
makes about a quart
most people roast a chicken, then toss the bones, but did you know that those “throwaway” parts of that bird (or even beef) are actually of far more use than you think? with no more effort than simply tossing that chicken carcass into a crockpot with a few different veggies, herbs + spices, you can create one of the most nutritious elixirs known to man - bone broth. great for your gut, skin + joint health, it’s also savory + delicious. and make sure you reserve the tops of those carrots for our carrot top chimichurri sauce below!
carcass of a cooked chicken
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
5 garlic cloves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sea salt
1 quart filtered water
- place onion, carrots, celery, garlic + thyme in a crockpot, then place the chicken carcass on top. add bay leaf + salt, then pour water in - just enough to cover.
- cook on low setting for 10 hours.
- strain over a mesh colander into a spouted mixing bowl or measuring cup, then store in a jar in the fridge.
- zero waste tip: you can even blend the bones up in a food processor with the hot liquid at the end of cooking, then strain again if you don't want to toss the remaining bones outside for the wildlife to gnaw on. also, you can puree the strained veggies with a little bit of the bone broth for a yummy soup.
[nacho sweet potato peel chips]
odds are it’s never occurred to you to save those sweet potato scraps + bake ‘em up into chips. but that’s what we’re here for - to remind you that such miracles are possible. the coolest part about these lil guys: they actually crisp up much quicker + better than your average baked sweet potato chip, so what they may lack in aesthetics, they more than make up for in flavor. tossed with lots of yummy nacho-inspired spices, these are crazy addictive!
the peels of 1 large sweet potato
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 tsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp smoked paprika
pinch of sea salt + pepper
- toss the sweet potato peels with the oil + all the seasonings, then spread out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- bake at 400 degrees for 12 - 15 min, or until crisp + golden, stirring halfway through.
[carrot top chimichurri]
makes about 1 cup
know those carrots you used for the bone broth? yep, those tops will be the star of the show in this bright green sauce. oft overlooked, carrot greens actually taste just like parsley, so you can sub them in anywhere you’re looking for that same fresh flavor lift or pop of color. this kicky chimichurri sauce goes great with everything - from grilled meats to raw veggies. you can even mix some into your bone broth for a quick, zippy soup!
the tops of 1 small bunch of carrots
1 cup cilantro
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
3 garlic cloves
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cumin
about ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, give or take
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
sea salt to taste
- in a food processor, pulse the carrot tops, cilantro, scallions, oregano + garlic cloves until it’s all finely minced. add in lemon juice, vinegar + cumin.
- with the machine running, drizzle the olive oil through the feeder tube until the chimichurri reaches the desired consistency. season to taste with crushed red pepper + sea salt + store in a jar in the fridge.
so whether you’re an omnivore or a veggie-lover, you can use these recipes to do your part to put the kibosh on food waste. bonus: it works wonders on your wallet too. what’s your favorite way to use up all of your ingredients? share in the comments below!