Goodbye food waste! The ultimate guide to eating more and wasting less

Food waste, it’s a big problem. Each and every one of us can play a part in helping reduce the 7 million tonnes of food waste produced in the UK.

How? By buying just what we need, by thinking creatively of how we use leftovers, and by making sure we don’t put perfectly edible produce in the bin.

To help you on this mission we’ve round up a list of 15 bits of fruit and veg that belong on your plate. Some of these will look familiar but others are truly surprising: we can eat cauliflower leaves?! Amazing. We’ve also included our favourite veggie and vegan recipe for each of these, so you can get right to reducing food waste. Every little step counts. #dontwastecreate. 

1. Rainbow chard stems 

These beautiful leafy greens have equally beautiful and tasty stems. Make sure you use them, they just need a little extra time in the pan. 

Recipe idea: Swiss Chard Onion Frittata 

2. Broccoli hearts 

While the hearts my not be as pretty as the florets, they are just as tasty and sweet. If you can’t use them in your cooking, keep them aside and make a dish that features them as the star of the show.

Recipe idea: Marinated broccoli stems

3. Fennel fronds

Fennel fronds resemble dill, and just like dill, they are a fragrant aromatic to add to any dish: from salads to stews.

Recipe: Dill and fennel frond potato salad

4. Carrot Tops 

Often the carrot tops don’t even make it into supermarkets, but you will see them at the farmers market. These ruffly greens are perfectly edible and make a brilliant alternative to pesto.

Recipe idea: Roasted carrots with carrot top pesto and burrata

5. Potato skins 

Instead of throwing away the peel, scrub the potato well before peeling and keep the skins. These easily overlooked shavings make tasty no-waste chips.

Recipe idea: Potato Peel Nachos

6. Celery leaves

Beautiful celery leaves are just as delicious and light as the sticks. Blend into a summer soup or use as a topping on salads. 

Recipe: Celery root, heart and leaf salad

7. Citrus peels

There is no need to introduce the wildly fragrant citrus peels. Make candied peels with your leftovers or get cheeky and make your own DIY liquor. Limoncello, anyone? 

Recipe idea: Blood Orangello

8. Beet + turnip greens

Similarly to carrots, beet and turnip greens rarely make it to store counters. If you do pick up a full leafy beat or turnip hold on to the greens and make something delicious.

Recipe: Beet greens and lentil soup

9. Cauliflower leaves

It is a strange truth to realize that perfectly edible food regularly ends up in the waste bin. Cauliflower leaves are delicious just drizzled with oil and salt and baked, but can also be cook into stews, soups and pasta dishes.

Recipe idea: Roasted Cauliflower brown rice risotto with lemon and walnut

10. Vegetable pulp 

Are you a regular juicer? If so, listen up. Yes, the pulp is a nuisance to clean out of the juicer, but it’s also the secret to your next zero waste dinner! Pulp burgers were brought to fame by WastEd chef Dan Barber and should make into your kitchen staples. 

Recipe idea: Juice Pulp Veggie Burgers

11. Artichoke leaves

Fresh artichokes are quite labour intensive, so they might not be a frequent purchase. However, when you do make them, be sure to save those prickly and tough outer leaves: they’ll make crunchy chips. 

Recipe idea: Blooming Artichoke Crisps

12. Kale stems

Kale stems seem to have garnered a bad rep, but they should absolutely not be thrown out. If the starchy bits are a bit tough for a salad, save them and sauté them for your next meal.

Recipe idea: Sweet and Spicy Sauteed Kale Stems

13. Pumpkin seeds

You’ve made a beautifully silky butternut squash soup. Don’t chuck the seeds! Roast them toast them and sprinkle them on top of your soup. No soup? Just munch on them as a great on-the-go snack. 

Recipe idea: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

14. Leftover herbs

Inevitably, you only ever really need half a bunch of whatever herb you have purchased. Don’t wait for it to wilt in the fridge: Chop it up finely and pop into an ice tray with olive oil. When you need some aromatics just pop them out and voila! 

Recipe idea: Herbs in olive oil

15. Watermelon rind 

Watermelon season might be short-lived, but this handy zero-waste trick is here to change that. Save the rind and make a pickle to serve with curries and stews all year long.

Recipe idea: Watermelon Rind Pickles

Want to learn more about what BOL is doing about food waste? Our founder, Paul, has shared some of our work to-date