Hate seeing food go to waste? It’s one thing obsessing about those containers full of yesterday’s dinner and quite another working out how to avoid creating waste in the first place. These are five of the best zero-waste cookbooks, from repurposing leftovers to using every part of the animal or vegetable.
Now & Again: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus + Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers by Julia Turshen
Chef, activist and occasional Gwyneth Paltrow collaborator, Julia Turshen, will completely revolutionise the way you think about cooking with this 2018 book. Yes, cooking with leftovers in mind is a huge part of it but, thankfully, the focus here is on entertaining first.
Turshen’s simple, seasonal and affordable recipes – from the 'No Stress Thanksgiving' dinner to mouthwatering salads and sides – all come with tips on preparing ahead of time, answering handy questions like what to serve the dish with and how to figure out exactly how much you need. The latter isn’t a perfect science, of course, so you’ll also find tips on how to repurpose any leftovers you do have.
Cooking With Scraps: Turn Your Peels, Cores, Rinds, and Stems into Delicious Meals by Lindsay-Jean Hard
Lindsay-Jean Hard writes the Cooking With Scraps column for Food52 and this book compiles 85 of her best zero-waste recipes.
As well as a few easy ideas on how to use broccoli stems and stale bread, Hard also shares intriguing recipes like carrot green pesto and vegan mayonnaise made from leftover bean water. Weird, but after trying a few you’ll wonder why you were ever throwing these things out in the first place.
Scraps, Peels, and Stems: Recipes and Tips for Rethinking Food Waste at Home by Jill Lightner
On the surface, Scraps, Peels, and Stems isn’t much different to Cooking With Scraps above. But if there’s one criticism of the latter, it’s that too many of the recipes require buying other ingredients to make them work. Jill Lightner’s book, on the other hand, is less strict with its recipes.
Instead, Scraps, Peels, and Stems offers inspiration for coming up with your own ideas. Sure, you can just follow the instructions if you’d prefer, but this is a great buy for confident homecooks who are eager to use their own creativity in experimenting with those parts of the animal or vegetable that often get thrown away.
Linda Ly writes about farm-to-table cooking on her blog, Garden Betty. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook was her first book, and it’s now back in a new revised edition.
The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is, in Ly’s own words, an “indispensable book for home cooks with adventurous appetites”, and we’re inclined to agree. It’s a superb guide to all the parts of the vegetable you can and can’t eat. If your end goal is to grow more of your own food out in the garden, or even to become entirely self-sufficient, then this is the book for you.
Compared with other books in this list, Eat It Up! is very much aimed at zero-waste newbies. That said, it’s a comprehensive guide for young chefs looking to eat more sustainably, even if older, more experienced cooks might find many of its tips and techniques second nature. It makes a great gift for young adults moving away from home for the first time.
About 1.3 billion tons of perfectly edible food is wasted each year. That’s roughly 250 lbs (113 kg) per person – enough to feed someone for up to two months. Cutting down on food waste is something we can all do to feed the world and benefit our environment.
Discover here one of our favourite slow-cooked beef stew recipes, for those that have a whole day to wait for it to be ready. But do not also forget to browse our other four top beef stew recipes from around the world.