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Reduce Food Waste With These 10 Multi-Functional Ingredients

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Are you passionate about decreasing food waste, but sometimes find yourself throwing away fruit peels or carrot tops? Well, thankfully, we’ve come up with clever ways to utilize every part of that piece of fruit or excess greenery. That way, nothing ends up in your trashcan.

In fact, some ingredients aren’t commonly used to their full potential and actually possess multi-functional capabilities. Below is a list of ten ingredients that exhibit a plethora of possibilities with recipe suggestions from our Food Monster App.

1. Chickpeas

chickpea

Chickpea Tuna Salad Sandwich/One Green Planet

Canned chickpeas are incredibly versatile and very inexpensive to purchase, but there’s a chance that you may be pouring a very functional element down the drain. The brine that is produced from chickpeas, also known as aquafaba, can be whisked to airy perfection and used in lieu of egg whites, or even in vegan cheese recipes!

Next time you open a can of chickpeas, reserve the liquid and try using it in our Chipotle Aquafaba Cheese recipe. It is incredible on top of our Chickpea Tuna Salad Sandwich, pictured above.

2. Leeks 

leeks

Creamy Potato Leek Soup/One Green Planet

Next time you purchase leeks from the supermarket, don’t just throw the dark green portion away but try adding them to our Homemade Vegetable Stock. This will infuse the stock with beautiful flavors, which can then be added to our Creamy Potato Leek Soup, pictured above so that nothing goes to waste!

3. Carrots 

carrot

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes/One Green Planet

It is very common when cooking with carrots, to discard the green, leafy tops, when they can actually be added to salads! Carrot greens are also incredibly detoxifying, and possess high levels of antioxidants, and vitamin C, so they are an excellent immunity booster. Experiment with carrot greens by trying them out in our Kale Coconut Salad with Orange-Infused Vinaigrette, and finish your meal off with a more decadent carrot recipe like our Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes, pictured above.

4. Lemons 

Creamy Lemon Ziti with Roasted Asparagus/One Green Planet

Lemon juice can be used in thousands of recipes, but let’s not forget about the zest! Lemon zest is bursting with flavor and gives any dish a pop of freshness. A fantastic meal can be created using the zest in our Lemon Almond Parmesan, and sprinkling it over top of our Creamy Lemon Ziti with Roasted Asparagus, pictured above.

5. Oranges 

orange

Candied Orange Peels/One Green Planet

Biting into a slice of a juicy orange is definitely a feel-good moment, but oftentimes the peel gets overlooked and thrown away. Next time you’re enjoying a glass of freshly-pressed orange juice or savoring the flavors of our Orange Pancakes with Berry Compote, save the peel and try our Candied Orange Peels, pictured above! They are incredible sprinkled over any chocolatey dessert!

6. Beets

beets

Beet and Basmati Rice Burgers/One Green Planet

Beets are actually very functional, as the beetroot itself works beautifully in recipes like our Beet and Basmati Rice Burgers, pictured above, or our Beets with Dill Cheese, while their greens can be sautéed up to make incredible, nourishing side dishes. Experiment with beet greens and get inspired by our Beet Greens with Garlic and Toasted Almond recipe!

7. Cilantro 

cilantro

Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus/One Green Planet

Cilantro is an incredibly fragrant herb that adds unbelievable flavor to dishes, but the stems are often discarded. Next time you purchase cilantro, try using the leaves in our Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus, pictured above, and save the stems to throw into your blender when making pesto. These two dishes would work perfectly together on a veggie platter to serve at your next get together!

8. Bananas

banana

Lemon Banana Cashew Cream Pie/One Green Planet

One of the most commonly overlooked ingredients is the banana peel. Sure, bananas make any recipe delicious, like in our Lemon Banana Cashew Cream Pie, pictured above, but the peel is usually thrown in the trash! Think twice before throwing away a banana peel because they actually serve many purposes. They can be rubbed onto the face to soothe skin irritations, added to your garden to nourish your plants with extra nutrients, and even be turned into banana vinegar to drizzle over your salads. That’s quite the functional ingredient!

9. Fennel

fennel

Soufflé with Roasted Fennel, Zucchini and Garlic/One Green Planet

Fennel is highly aromatic with a unique anise-like flavor and is very functional when used to it’s full potential. If you want to impress guests at your next dinner party, use the bulb of the fennel plant in our Soufflé with Roasted Fennel, Zucchini, and Garlic, pictured above, and save the fronds for our Asparagus Almond Crostini with Fennel Frond Gremolata.

10. Chard

chard

Swiss Chard with Onions, Currants and Pine Nuts/One Green Planet

Chard is not only a nutritional powerhouse but an incredibly versatile ingredient because the leaves and stems can both be used to create something fantastic. The leaves can be used to sneak extra health-benefits into our delicious Lemon Swiss Chard Pasta, and the stems can be sautéed creating an excellent side like our Swiss Chard with Onions, Currants, and Pine Nuts, pictured above.

For more information of reducing food waste like The Staggering Reality of Global Food Waste, we recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

Lead Image Source: David Goehring/Flickr 

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