Five Advocates Share Their Recipes for Preventing Food Waste at Home
Food loss and waste represent one of the biggest threats to food security. In the European Union, 20% of food grown is lost or wasted; in the United States it’s 40%. While plant science can help to prevent pre-harvest losses, combating food waste requires strategic planning and ingenuity from wholesalers, grocery stores, restaurants and consumers like you.
Meal planning, storing food properly and freezing leftovers are great ways to reduce food waste in your own home. Keeping a tidy fridge where everything is easy to see, and leftovers aren’t forgotten can make a big impact on the amount of food your household wastes each year!
One of the best antidotes to food waste is a cup of creativity mixed with a dash of determination. We’ve compiled some simple recipes designed by celebrity chefs and other food waste advocates that will help you dream up new possibilities from the ingredients waiting in your fridge and pantry.
1. Mint and Breadcrumb Pesto, Chef Massimo Bottura
Did you know that bread is the most wasted food? Instead of letting stale bread get moldy and become waste, consider turning bread past its prime into breadcrumbs for this delicious recipe! Chef Massimo Bottura is the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Modena, Italy that has been listed as one of the world’s best restaurants. This exceptional dish is sure to satisfy, while also preventing food waste.
2. One-Pot Chicken and Rice with Peppers and Onions, The Daily Table
This simple and nutritious one-pot dish is a great way to use vegetables in your fridge that are on the brink of going bad. Don’t have any peppers? Just swap them out for mushrooms, squash or other vegetables you may have. The Daily Table is a nonprofit community grocer dedicated to providing fresh, tasty, convenient and nutritious food to communities most in need access at prices every budget can afford.
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Alexa, one of our Teaching Kitchen nutrition experts, is showing us how to make One-Pot Chicken and Rice with Peppers and Onions! This recipe only takes about 45 minutes to get on the table for 4 people for $10, all with ingredients you already have or can get at Daily Table! Ingredients: -2 peppers ($.76) -1 yellow onion ($.60) -1 15 oz. can chicken broth (Swanson, $1.69) -1 pkg chicken breast ($4-$6.) -1 pkg GOYA Spanish yellow rice (OR brown rice for whole grain option.) ($1.99) -1T garlic powder, onion salt, black pepper -1 tsp. salt -1 pkg GOYA Saxon Seasoning ($1.39 per box) -1 cup water Directions: 1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over low/medium heat. 2. Dice peppers and onions and place into the saucepan. Stir occasionally until the onions become translucent and the peppers begin to soften. Sprinkle garlic powder, onion salt, and black pepper. 3. Dice chicken and season chicken with Sazon seasoning package. Place into the same saucepan. Allow chicken to cook through for 7-8 minutes. 4. Place the package of rice into the pot. Option to cook according to the package or to add chicken broth to the water base for extra flavoring (this is what I did!) 5. Keep rice on medium heat for 10 minutes. Lower heat to a simmer and allow rice to cook through for at least 20 minutes. 6. Serve and enjoy!
3. Veggie Quesadillas and Versatile Veggie Chili from Chef Jamie Oliver
All too frequently, families will stock up on produce only to have spinach wilt and apples turn brown before they can be enjoyed. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 52% of fresh produce is wasted. Vegetable-forward recipes can be great ways to use up leftover produce and prevent food waste. Jamie Oliver, the world-renowned chef, television personality and advocate working to bring attention to healthy eating recommends whipping up quesadillas or a veggie chili to prevent wasted produce.
4. My Everyday Pancakes, Mark Bittman
Although it may seem that a bag of flour will last forever, this pantry staple should be used within a year of being purchased if stored in the fridge. Granulated sugar is thought to never spoil, but it does have a shelf life of two years. If you’re trying to use up that giant bag of flour you purchased six months ago, consider making something fun! Mark Bittman, a former food columnist for The New York Times, shared a pancake recipe sure to make any breakfast instantly better.
5. The Simple Building Blocks for Great Food
Recipes are really just tools to help you compile the right macro and micronutrients to form the basis of a meal. Don’t have the specific ingredients to match a recipe? Consider this timeless advice from Imperfect Foods and think of other ways to pair a grain, a veggie and a protein to create something delicious.
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Many of us are understandably reluctant to go to the grocery store right now. Here are some practical tips for cooking with what you already have in your house. The first step is to shift your meal plans from “recipe down” to “ingredient up.” That way, you can make the delicious and nutritious meals you need without having to run unnecessary grocery errands. Here’s one way to do it: 👉 Start by cooking your favorite grain (like rice or quinoa) ➕ Add protein you have in the fridge or freezer (like tofu, chicken, or fish) ➕ Add any veggies you have on hand (like sweet potatoes, carrots, or onions), chopped and roasted at 400F until tender ➕ Top it off with your go-to sauce (like pasta sauce, oil & vinegar, or curry paste) 🔜 You’ve got a quick and easy dinner! Let’s help each other out in the kitchen by sharing your favorite “ingredient up” dinner in the comments below! 💚
Food loss and waste are key drivers of food insecurity across the world. If everyone does their part, we can make great strides in reducing food waste. Do you have a go-to recipe that helps you reduce your food waste? Share a photo on Twitter and tag us @CropLifeIntl to share your top tips!