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Zero Waste Vegan Recipes To Save Money & Food

These Zero Waste Vegan Recipes will help save food, money, and maybe even the planet!

By Lora O’Brien

We all know the adage ‘waste not want not’, and yet the sad reality is that we all waste precious things a lot more than we should. Time, money, and above all, food.

Maybe it’s due to a lack of creativity. We just don’t know what to do with leftovers sometimes. Or maybe it’s due to a lack of knowledge – I mean, were you aware cauliflower leaves are not only edible, but tasty, too? But in any case, the truth is, if we want to save food, money and the planet, we need to waste less.

I’ve been more creative with the recipes I have been cooking, and if I’m not sure what to make, I’ve been sourcing recipe inspiration based on what I do have, as opposed to how I usually cook: which is to find a recipe and then go buy the ingredients. I’ve been batch-cooking and using leftovers for other meals and freezing what I don’t need right away. I’ve been storing my produce properly, extending its lifespan, and honestly, it has been revolutionary for me, my bank account, and my fridge. Want to know some of my top tips for zero waste eating? Read on!

Tips For Zero Waste Eating

1. Learn to store your food properly: Your refrigerator will hold different temperatures in different parts of the fridge, so learning where best to store everything will help retain its freshness for longer. As well, some fruits and vegetables are better stored outside the fridge to prolong them, so no more limp carrots or mouldy berries – yay! This guide is super informative when it comes to where to store food in your fridge and pantry. Example? Potatoes should be stored in paper bags in cool, damp places. Eggs needn’t go in the fridge, etc.

2. Don’t worry much about best-before dates: We’re used to seeing terms like ‘best before’ ‘use by’ ‘freeze by’ and ‘sell by’ on our food, but these are more a (rather unscientific) guide than a true expiry date. Smell, check and even taste food to see if it’s truly off before you throw it in the bin. Don’t toss food if it’s still fine to eat!

Be aware of what foods will perish quicker – fresh berries are notorious for rotting quickly, for example – and if necessary, freeze fresh produce before it goes off.

3. Use your leftovers for future meals: Store leftovers in glass containers or freeze them, and use them as the base of future meals. Leftover rice works fabulously as the base of a Buddha bowl: just add a protein, some fresh veggies and a nice sauce in there, and you’ve got a nourishing meal in one!

4. Save your veggie pulp: You know the mash that’s leftover from making fresh juice and beverages like almond milk? Well, we usually toss it into the bin but we need to save it. You can make great recipes from using leftover pulp – lots of yummy recipes to try below! Always keep your pulp in the freezer for using later on.

5. Turn your scraps into a homemade broth:  Instead of splashing the cash on your favourite pre-made broth, save up your veggies in a bag in the freezer and when you have enough, pop it in the slow cooker or instant pot with water to make a broth. Onion, garlic, vegetable peelings, mushroom stems, leftover herbs, zucchini, carrot and celery ends are all great to save, and would ordinarily end up in the bin!

6. Stop peeling: Another way to reduce food waste is to stop peeling! Not only does it save you time when it comes to meal prep, but it will also give your extra nutrients you’d otherwise throw! However, if you’re eating the peel I recommend buying organic foods as many peels have pesticide residues. If you can’t afford to budget for organic produce, refer to the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen to know which are safe to eat non-organic!

7. Freeze fresh herbs to preserve them: I’m forever buying fresh herbs only to find them wilted and sorrowful at the back of my fridge a few weeks later. If buying fresh herbs you plan to use, store them in mason jars with some water. But, if you won’t get round to using them all, why not chop them up and freeze them to use in future meals?

7. Preserve food: Canning, fermenting, freezing and dehydrating are all wonderful ways of preserving foods. These methods can help your food last longer, plus they go a long way in helping to reduce food waste. We recently wrote an article on the best-preserved recipes – check it out here!

Now, let’s get cooking!

Zero Waste Vegan Recipes To Save Money & Food

1. Vegan Breakfast Casserole

Got veggies to use up and lots of hungry vegans to eat? This breakfast casserole is the perfect lazy recipe to make to cater to the masses. Leftover vegetables such as onion, mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper and spinach work great here, but of course you can use any that you have on hand.

Get the recipe here.

2. Almond Meal Pancakes

Homemade almond milk is so easy to make: just soak almonds in water overnight, then add 2 cups of water to 1 cup of almonds in a blender. Add a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar if you like, or even a touch of vanilla. Blend, strain and save the almond pulp that’s left. That almond meal can easily be transformed into super fluffy and yummy pancakes!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

3. Vegan Potato Bread

You’ll probably be surprised to learn that this fluffy vegan bread is made with no dairy or eggs, and the secret ingredient is…mashed potatoes! Yep, those starchy veggies result is a nice, crispy browned crust with a super light potato flavour. Who needs a bakery, right?

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

4. Leftover Juice Pulp Granola

Make a green juice for breakfast. Once you’re finished, collect up the pulp and save it for tomorrow! You can turn the mushy pulp you’d otherwise throw into lots of yummy recipes. But one of my favourites is this granola! Enjoy with some plant based milk, or use to top smoothie bowls and yoghurt.

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

5. Zero Waste Vegetable Broth

Whether you’re out of broth or wanted to find a cheaper alternative to the pricey store-bought ones, this vegetable broth is super cheap, because it’s made from scraps! Yep, those parts of vegetables that get tossed such as potato peel, carrot tops and vegetable skin are thrown into a pot and turned into a yummy, flavoursome zero-waste broth. Freeze it and use it as needed when you need a soup base.

Get the recipe here.

6. Creamy Lettuce Soup

Sure, wilted lettuce may not be what first springs to mind when you think of eating a bowl of warm, creamy soup. But when combined with cashew nuts it’s SO yummy! The perfect quick and easy soup that is both nourishing and delicious, this is also a superb way of using up old lettuce leaves.

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

7. Broccoli Stalk Kimchi Tangle

All the wonderful probiotics and spices of kimchi are applied to a highly underused food – broccoli stalks! It’s then combined with zoodles, almonds and other goodness to make a picante Korean-flavoured meal that costs pennies!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

8. Celery Leaf Salad

Stop buying your celery pre-cut; not only does it cost more and come encased in heaps of plastic, but you’re missing out on using the delicious celery leaves! The stems trail off to broad, aromatic and savoury leaves. It may not have occurred to you , but yes! These can be used as a mild herb to add depth to a soup or a stew, or chop it up into a bitter leaf salad.

Get the recipe here.

 

9. Wilted Greens Pesto

Whatever old greens you were just about to throw out can be used to make this awesome sauce! This really easy kale pesto is made with just 5 ingredients, and comes together in under ten minutes. Enjoy it tossed through pasta, as a dip or as part of a salad dressing.

Get the recipe here.

10. Roasted Cauliflower Leaves

Detach the leaves and head from cauliflower and toss them in olive oil and a little salt. Then roast them until crisp and slightly charred, and if you’re like me, add a spoonful of nutritional yeast. You may not have thought about it, but these leaves are honestly SO good! Even those who despise salad will devour these greens. I love dipping these in hummus!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

11. Firecracker Lettuce Wraps

Got lots of odd bits of leftovers floating around your fridge? Grab them and turn them into this yummy firecracker lettuce dish! This is not a bland diet recipe – even though lettuce is the wrap, these bad boys will keep you full for ages! Think browned crispy tofu bites, sticky brown noodles and a sweet peanut sauce, all wrapped in a crunchy wrap…yum!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

12. Carrot Pulp Crackers

Fruit juice lovers – save your pulp! They make the perfect base for these carrot juice pulp crackers. Don’t be intimidated about incorporating pulp into your recipes; it’s super easy to do, and the results are lovely! Again, hummus is the perfect dip for these crackers. But isn’t hummus the perfect dip for everything?

Get the recipe here.

13. Beetroot Leaf Salad

Beets are my favourite root veggie. They’re sweet, healthy, bright and vibrant. But what about beet greens? I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve usually thrown them out. But now, I’ve learned how to turn them into a tasty side salad. Tossed with a lemon-mustard dressing, this salad offers a perfect way to use more than the roots, while boosting nutrient diversity!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

14. Smoky Chickpea Stuffed Potato Skins

I always have some vegan chilli or smoky beans leftover from a meal, and they make the perfect topping for a freshly baked potato. But if you’re using potatoes that need to be peeled for a recipe, don’t let those skins go to waste! This recipe is a smoky, tasty, healthy way of using them up.

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

15. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Wait – before you scoop out your pumpkin and discard those pumpkin seeds, save them and turn them into this spicy snack! Not only are these super healthy, but this is one of the best zero waste vegan recipes to make with your little ones. Toss them into salads or add to a trail mix if you like. They’re also great for school lunch snacks.

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

16. Perfect Cheesy Kale Chips

Running out of ways to use up kale? Turn kale into yummy baked chips. Seasoned with nutritional yeast and garlic powder to make them cheesy and yummy! They’re a super healthy snack and a fun way of getting more greens into your diet.

Get the recipe here.

17. Zero Waste Veggie Skin Crisps

Forget those greasy, fried snacks we call crisps (or chips, depending on where you live). My favourite snack is veggie these crisps, and they’re honestly so moreish and delicious! Especially the beetroot ones, in my opinion. I must insist you go make these, like, NOW!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

18. Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad with Herbed White Beans

If you’ve never before tried grilling romaine lettuce, let me tell you, you’re missing out! It adds a smoky flavour to the greens and wilts it slightly, making it easier to eat. Topped with lemon-herb white beans and a vegan Caesar dressing, this recipe is ready in under half-hour and has tons of bold flavour!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

19. Panzanella Salad

Panzanella is an Italian tomato and bread salad that is super popular in parts of Italy. It requires just 9 ingredients to make and takes under 20 minutes to throw together. And this is also a yummy way to use up bread that you’d otherwise throw away. One of the perfect zero waste vegan recipes for stale bread!

Get the recipe here.

20. Turmeric Juice Pulp Crackers

These turmeric crackers are so easy to make, and can be created by using a dehydrator, or by baking them if you don’t have one. Store in a lock-tight container for the week ahead. They’re super delish paired with beetroot hummus! (yep, I’m obsessed with the stuff!)

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

21. Veggie Pulp Burgers

Will the wonders of juice pulp ever cease to amaze me? Nope! And the next delicious recipe to use leftover pulp are these veggie burgers. They’re nutritious and packed with flavour. This is one of the best zero waste vegan recipes for summer BBQs, too!

Get the recipe here.

22. Raw Beet and Vegetable Stuffed Nori Rolls

Got veggie juice pulp you need to use? These raw vegan sushi rolls are full of healthy fats, vitamins and minerals and are iodine-rich thanks to the nori. The beet and carrot pulp that result from the juicing process bind together really well, naturally! They’re perfect for using to make these rolls, but ultimately, you can also have any other leftovers you have on hand: cauliflower rice, hummus and brown rice work really well, for example.

Get the recipe here.

23. Zero Waste Veggie Pie

Often, perfectly edible veg gets thrown away at the end of the week, and dishes like this are a great way to feed your family and not the bin! Potatoes, onion, carrots, broccoli and celery stalks go into this comforting pie, as well as chickpeas and fresh parsley. This is one of the best zero waste vegan recipes for families – or at least, it was a bit hit in mine!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

24. Veggie Juice Pulp Meatballs

That’s right – the secret ingredients for these vegan meatless ‘meatballs’ in herbed tomato sauce is a vegetable juice pulp! Not all pulps work for this. Hold onto your fibrous pulp from food such as carrot and beetroots for this tasty, Italian inspired recipe.

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

25. Pumpkin Dal

I’m always opening a can of pumpkin puree for porridge and forgetting to use the rest, as a little goes a long way. This dish is a great dish to serve up using that leftover puree, with some added pantry essentials thrown in such as red lentils. It’s creamy and nourishing, and perfect when you’re craving something comforting to eat.

Get the recipe here.

26. Candied Citrus Peels

So you’ve juiced some oranges and lemons. Now, not sure what to do with leftover citrus peels? Don’t throw them out! Turn them into this super tasty, zesty sweet treat. This works great for oranges, limes, lemon and even grapefruit. And the added chocolate adds a nice touch of sweetness against the strong but sweet citrus peel.

Get the recipe here.

27. Fudgy Avocado Brownies

I LOVE avocado, but sometimes, they go mushy before I can get round to using them all. Or my daughter will eat half, and I’ll have half just living in the fridge, waiting to be eaten. Or worse, I’ll buy a bunch of avos, and though they look great on the outside, they’re brownish on the inside. But those avocados needn’t go to waste! You can make these plant-based brownies from them. And believe me – it’s well worth it! They’re chewy, sweet and very chocolatey!

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

28. Brownie Bite Bliss Balls

The name might be a bit of a tongue twister, but these are some of the yummiest of all the zero waste vegan recipes! The brownie bites are super quick and easy to make, but they’re super chocolatey and feel indulgent. They’re refined sugar-free and sweetened with dates, making them the perfect healthy snack.

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

29. Almond Meal Cookies

The best thing about these almond meal cookies is that they’re made with just nine ingredients. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and super gooey and chocolatey overall! Save your almond pulp from when you make almond milk and transform it into these delish cookies.

Get the recipe here.

zero waste vegan recipes

30. Green Juice Pulp Muffins

Waste not want not! Use leftover green juice pulp and make yummy muffins. These are savoury and go well with – guess what? Hummus! Or maybe a dollop of vegan butter.

Get the recipe here.

Lora O'Brien

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