Tired of Throwing Out Veggies? Learn How to Use Up Even Odds and Ends

Since April is Earth month, this seems like a perfect time for us to kick off our #ReduceFoodWaste efforts. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be providing tips on how to easily waste less. We’d love to see you using them in your kitchen and sharing them too!

  • By Jess Dang
  • March 31, 2016

April 22nd is Earth Day, but why should reducing food waste be confined to only one day? There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and we’ll share some of these tips over the next few weeks, including:

1. How to get the most out of your fresh produce

2. How meal planning prevents food waste

3. Ways to repurpose leftovers to make them new & delicious

All of these super helpful tips will be delivered right to your inbox, and you can make sure you get them first by signing up for our newsletter below. But right now, we’re going to give you 5 simple ways that can help you reduce food waste today.

We know that every home cook has had moments of looking into their fridge and realizing that they have no idea how they’re going to clean out those random vegetables that remain. Those veggies are still good and shouldn’t be left to spoil or relegated to the trash can!

Which is why we’re sharing 5 easy cooking formulas to use up these random veggies and turn them into something delicious.

#1 Stir-Fry

Almost any medley of vegetables that are housed in the fridge can be turned into a stir-fry. If you’re unsure, just ask yourself, have I seen this vegetable on a Chinese restaurant’s menu? If yes, just slice them up thinly so they’ll cook quickly.

Ingredients should also be added to the wok one type at a time with the denser and longer-to-cook vegetables (like broccoli and carrots) added earliest so everything finishes cooking at the same time. Tie everything together with a basic stir-fry sauce and no one will suspect that this meal wasn’t carefully planned out.

Watch how to make a quick stir-fry with the video below, and then check out our Guide to Stir-Frying infographic, which not only teaches you how to stir-fry, but also includes stir-fry sauce variations and stir-fry combo ideas.


The Quick and Versatile Stir-Fry

Learn how quick and easy it is to get a simple and healthy dinner on the table with the stir-fry cooking method.


Guide to Stir-Frying

This guide to stir-frying teaches the basics of this quick and healthy cooking method.

#2 Slow Cooker Soup

Throwing vegetables into a slow cooker with a chopped onion, a can of diced tomatoes, and a quart of chicken stock is one of the easiest ways to turn leftover vegetables into something comforting and tasty.

If you don’t have quite enough fresh vegetables to fill the pot, dig into your frozen arsenal. Add some Italian spices and cook for 8 hours on low or for 4 hours on high. Even if you can’t eat this right away, go ahead and make it to prevent your vegetables from spoiling, and freeze for a later time.

This Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken Tortilla Soup is one of our favorites and can be made without the chicken:

#3 Roasted Vegetables

All vegetables shine when roasted. High temperatures bring out a vegetable’s natural sugar content, creating lovely caramelized color and taste.

At the most basic, just toss with some oil and salt and pepper. For a little extra credit, try one of our favorite flavor profiles here. If you’re roasting more than one vegetable and if they really vary in cooking time, separate them onto two sheet pans or start the longer-cooking one first and then add the others later in the roasting process. We also discovered a new way to roast vegetables recently that we’ve been sharing with everyone. See more details in the video below.


How to Roast Veggies

We use super high temperatures to roast veggies quickly, making it perfect for any weeknight dinner.

#4 Pureed Soup

If you have just one or two vegetables that need to get used up, try making a pureed soup with them:

Roughly chop the ingredients (include an onion and a few garlic cloves if you have them), saute them with a tablespoon of canola or olive oil and some salt, and pour in just enough stock to cover the ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Puree (an immersion blender is a great tool for pureeing) and season up your soup however you’d like. Or keep it simple with a small pad of butter, which will make it feel rich and special.

See how easy it is to make pureed soups with the video below, and get more pureed soup ideas here.


How to Make Pureed Vegetable Soups

See how we turn vegetables into creamy goodness in this short technique video.

#5 Thai Curry

Just like stir-fries, any combination of vegetables can blend into the bold flavors of a delicious curry. A couple spoons of curry paste and some coconut milk will turn your about-to-spoil cabbage, peppers, carrots, squash, etc. into something magnificent. To learn more about the basics of a Thai curry, check out this post.

So next time you’re facing a fridge full of vegetables that need to be used up and struggling without a recipe, refer to one of the 5 cooking formulas above. We promise you’ll feel so much better productively cleaning out your fridge versus throwing your money into the trash. You’ll feel even better knowing that all that good food didn’t go to waste.

Making the best use of all the random veggies in your fridge is one small step to making a big difference. If you’d like to discover other ways to make a difference in the world by reducing food waste, sign up below to get all these goods delivered directly to you. By joining our community, you’ll never miss out on a chance to cook smarter and live healthier!


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