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Delicious (and low waste!) meals to try this week

Want to prep a low waste lunch, or keen to make the most of your ingredients? Here are 4 tasty recipes recommended by experts!

I love dishes that make the most out of what you have in the fridge or cupboard. Turning unloved bits and bobs into magnificent meals is so satisfying, particularly when you’ve got a bit of time to potter around the kitchen on a bank holiday. There are few suppers that give greater pleasure than those that are made out of nothing. 

Plus eating wisely is as good for the earth as it is for your bank balance. According to recent studies, global food production accounts for roughly 25% of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater extraction and is the leading driver of natural habitat loss around the world. Now that many of us have spent a few locked down months avoiding supermarkets and getting crafty with what’s in the cupboard, there’s never been a better time to try to cut down on the amount of food we waste. 

So, in honour of Stop Food Waste Day, we’ve asked four top chefs and food waste experts for banging zero waste recipes to whip up over this beautiful bank holiday. Trust us, they’re so good you won’t even know there’s zero waste involved. You’ll never want to chuck an ingredient in the bin again. 

Recipes:

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MOB KITCHEN are a household name when it comes to providing easy recipes for absolutely stunning food. Founded when their owner, Ben, was a uni student, they aim to equip young people and less-seasoned cooks with all the info they need to produce restaurant-quality meals – and this zero-waste pasta dish is no different.

MOB Kitchen’s Zero Waste veggie carbonara

Ingredients:

  • 500g Linguine
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Courgettes
  • Small Bunch of Thyme
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 Lemon
  • 100g Vegetarian Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Into a bowl, add your yolks and grate your parmesan, with a generous amount of black pepper. Grate the zest of your lemon into the bowl, mix and set aside.
  2. Get your pasta on and salt the water. Reserve 8 tbsp of pasta water.
  3. Slice your courgettes into small strips and place into a frying pan. Fry until they begin to soften. Chop up your garlic and add to pan, and cook until translucent.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and take a few sprigs of thyme and add the leaves to the pan (save some for later). Add 2 tbsp of pasta water to the pan and allow to bubble.
  5. Once pasta is al dente, drain and add it to your pan. Take the pan off the heat.
  6. Add the egg mixture and 3 more tbsp of pasta water. Keep folding it together, adding pasta water until it becomes thick and creamy. Keep adding the pasta water gradually if it needs to be creamier.
  7. Serve with lots of cracked black pepper, the remaining leaves on your thyme and a squeeze of lemon on top!

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ANYA DOHERTY is the founder of Foodsteps, a company on a mission to make your plate greener. They work on everything from creating environmental impact labels for restaurant menus to creating long-term sustainability solutions for brands. Anya set it up after completing her research into carbon footprints at Cambridge University and is passionate about all things zero waste.  

“Bread is one of the most wasted commodities in the UK – around 50 million loaves of bread are thrown away in crusts each year! But stale bread is perfect for croutons – perfect to mix with cauliflowers, which are coming into peak season and can be used whole to make a low-waste soup, leaves and all.” 

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with a Side of Bread-Saving Croutons (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • One large cauliflower head, chopped up including leaves and stalks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Medium red onion
  • One litre vegetable stock
  • Two tablespoons unsalted plant-based butter
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • For the croutons
  • 4 slices stale bread (depends how much you’ve got left over)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Soup:

  1. Roast your cauliflower whole – this should take about 30 to 40 minutes
  2. Brown the onions until tender, then add your vegetable stock
  3. Add the roasted cauliflower to the pan and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Transfer to the blender, adding in your butter, and mix until completely smooth
  5. Once blended, season with nutmeg and serve

Croutons:

  1. For the croutons
  2. Dice your bread into cubes – whatever size you’d like
  3. Drizzle the cubes with olive oil, and add your seasonings
  4. Bake in the oven until crispy – this should only take about 10 minutes

Carbon Footprint per serving / bowl: 0.373 kg CO2e 

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JACK CAMMACK is a name you’ll want to drop into conversations with friends. A star chef on the rise, he cooks up a storm at the trendy Leroy restaurant in Shoreditch, London. Check out his instagram @jokeyjack for some fantastic recipes you can whip up in your own kitchen. 

“If you’re eating meat, I think you have a duty to do your research into it. Chicken, or any meat for that matter, should be as high welfare as you can afford and none of the animal should be wasted. This recipe is a fantastic way to cook chicken and provides three routes for the chicken to provide flavour in the dish, ensuring that you get as much as possibly out of the noble bird.”

Brick Whole Chicken (serves 4), a recipe that uses every last bit of the bird 

I adapted this recipe from a “Munchies” youtube video featuring San Francisco chef Deuki Hong.  Hong debones a whole chicken and cooks it between two pans.  He serves his chicken with a sauce made of the bones of the chicken and Korean gochujang.  I love it in its original format, but I more often cook it as a plain chicken, with some salt, served with some crusty bread and a mustardy salad.

First you debone your chicken.  It’s pretty hard to describe how to do this in writing, but Youtube can save the day here – why not check out Deuki Hong’s video for “Munchies”?  I’d recommend giving the deboning a try, it’s not as hard as it seems at first and is a real showstopper. But if you don’t feel up to it, by all means take the breasts and legs off the bone separately.

Roast the bones and simmer them in water to make a delicious stock that you reduce into a syrupy sauce.  Although every chef I’ve ever worked with would flinch at this, I make this sauce in less than two hours at a low boil, which reduces the sauce as you go.  If you want to make a proper low and slow chicken stock, then, of course, be my guest.

You cook the deboned chicken skin side down over a medium heat with a heavy pan weighting the chicken down.  This ensures the skin cooks to a golden brown and you can see exactly when the flesh is cooked.  If the skin is brown but the flesh is not ready, feel free to flip over the bird skin side up and finish in a low oven for 5-10 mins or so.  The chicken cooks in 20-30 minutes all told, probably 10 to 15 in the pan to crisp the skin and normally a bit more in the oven.  There’s no way of cooking by numbers here: the time will depend on your pan, the stove, the chicken temperature, the room temperature, etc., so check it and use your senses, you’ll know when the skin is ready.

Having made crispy delicious chicken and a silky sauce, it’s time for the chicken to be used one more time to impart flavour into the dish.  When it is cooked, remove the chicken to rest (essential).  In the pan the chicken cooked in you should have a mix of chicken juices and fat.  Place the pan back on the stove and throw some quartered mushrooms into the fat and sauté until golden brown and stir through some chopped herbs (tarragon, parsley or chives I would recommend).  These are quite possibly the best mushrooms you’ll ever eat, dripping in chicken juices and rich in umami.  Take care not to over cook them, I like a mushroom with some squeak left in it.

Serve your chicken and mushrooms with a punchy salad and some crusty french bread and a dollop of mayonnaise, or better, aioli.  Take a moment to acknowledge that you’ve not wasted any of that beautiful chicken and then dig in.

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ANNE-MARIE BONNEAU, aka @ZeroWasteChef, took Instagram by storm with her mission to achieve as close to a zero waste lifestyle as possible.

“Before cooking dinner, if we home cooks first examined the inventories of our pantries and refrigerators and used what we found there to make a meal, we would slash food waste in the home. Our grandmothers did this. Let’s say you channel Grandma and do a quick inventory of your refrigerator and pantry. You find two carrots, half a cabbage, one onion, a bit of ginger and a bit of leftover protein. You have the makings of a stir fry! Make rice to go with it and a day or two later, make good use of that leftover ingredient and cook fried rice for dinner. There is zero downside to eating all of the food you buy.”

Easy low waste stir fry

Ingredients:

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup somewhat vinegary kombucha (or dry sherry)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • OR get the quick and easy peanut sauce recipe here and use 1/2 cup or so of that instead.

For the stir fry

  • 1 tablespoon oil or as needed (I have been using sesame oil lately)
  • 4 cups various chopped vegetables, such as onions, carrots, celery, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans, bok choy, spinach and so on
  • 1 handful of peanuts

Instructions:

  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the pan on high and add the oil.
  3. If using spinach or bok choy, add it to the hot pan. Stir it around until it has wilted. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the vegetables and stir constantly for about five minutes or until tender-crisp.
  5. Add wilted greens, if using.
  6. Add the sauce and stir for a couple of minutes until thickened. OR add 1/2 cup or more of peanut sauce and stir until heated through.
  7. Stir in peanuts.
  8. Serve with rice.

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MIKE PANFIL is a top chef at Envision Group, which is hosting this year’s Stop Food Waste Day event, which has over 10,000 attendees. This is the food he’ll be digging into over the bank holiday weekend. 

Waste Not Shaker Salad (serves 4) 

Ingredients:

  • 500g Imperfectly Delicious Produce spinach
  • 125g Radicchio, julienne
  • 125g Golden beets, roasted, peeled
  • 125g Beet greens, julienne
  • 125g Broccoli stem, lightly steamed
  • 8 slices Ruby red grapefruit, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 Tbsp Feta cheese
  • 8 Tbsp Red quinoa

Instructions:

  1. Wash all produce. Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut stems off the beets, reserving the greens. Roast beets in the oven for 40 minutes. Let cool, peel and 1/4 inch dice.
  2. Julienne the radicchio and beet greens. Combine with spinach.
  3. Rinse quinoa well in a mesh strainer, place in a saute pan over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Reserve quinoa crunch.
  4. Peel and slice grapefruit. Cut each slice into quarters.
  5. Cut broccoli stem into 1⁄4 inch dice. Steam, blanch or microwave just to soften.
  6. Make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the fresh lemon juice, shallot and Dijon mustard. Slowly drizzle extra virgin olive oil while whisking the entire time. Add salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Mix and reserve.
  7. To assemble the salad, layer ingredients in the following order in each of four 16 oz. Mason jars:
  • 1 1⁄2 cups spinach, radicchio and beet greens mix
  • 1⁄4 cup diced broccoli stems
  • 1⁄4 cup diced beets
  • 8 pieces of grapefruit (2 slices, each cut in quarters)
  • 1 Tablespoon feta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons quinoa crunch
  • 2 Tablespoons dressing

8. Put lids on jars and shake well to combine ingredients and dressing. Enjoy!