Every year, the Earth’s population throws out approximately 1.4 billion tons of food, and in the United States alone, we waste 80 billion pounds of food annually.
But users in Reddit’s r/ZeroWaste forum are tackling that issue head-on, with a list of the clever ways they make the most out of leftover food.
In a helpful thread, Redditors explained how they craft various leftovers into entirely new dishes. The conversation began when one user asked: “What are your go-to recipes for using up fresh produce, pantry items, dairy, etc.?”
One of the most popular responses was a simple recipe for “scraps pesto” that utilizes leftover produce to make a fresh, tasty herb blend for sauces and spreads.
“My favorite food waste recipe is scraps pesto,” user u/CLA3594 explained. “Instead of buying expensive jars of pesto, I make mine regularly using leftover green scraps from the kitchen.”
The recipe is straightforward. Add three cups of whatever greens you have lying around (u/CLA3594 recommends broccoli stems, carrot tops, herbs, or silverbeets), to some garlic, half a cup of olive oil, a handful of nuts, salt, and a little bit of lemon juice.
“It’s surprisingly delicious,” u/CLA3594 added. “I usually freeze my broccoli stems as I use up broccoli and then grab a few out and use a handful of herbs I have lying around to blitz a pesto. I often use a bunch of different scraps in the same pesto and it always works.”
Other users shared additional leftover cooking tips.
One commenter said, “Herb stems (cilantro, parsley, basil) make a great pesto. I also like to blend them and add them to soup.”
“We save all of our bones and some of our veggie peels and scraps for broth,” another added, “Veg waste that isn’t useable gets tossed in the compost to be used in the garden. Old fruit is frozen for smoothies or popsicles. Veg odds and ends generally turn into soup. Leftover bits of meat often turn into fried rice or pasta dishes. Throwing food away is a major peeve of mine.”