Broccoli-quinoa fritters are a delicious way to reduce food waste and give new life to your leftover broccoli and quinoa. (They are also a great way to get some extra greens into your kids!)
In honor of Earth Day, this month’s Recipe Redux topic is reducing food waste. Food waste is a huge problem; in the US it’s estimated that up to 50% of all food that’s produced is wasted.
While there are many factors that impact food waste, including how food manufacturers, grocery stores, and restaurants handle surplus and less-than-perfect food, as individuals we definitely have an impact too.
From using leftovers to make new food (such as these broccoli-quinoa fritters), here I’ve listed out 7 simple ways to reduce food waste. The reality is there are hundreds of additional ways, and anything you can do is helpful. Many of these actions will also help you save money and/or eat better too!
7 Ways to Reduce Food Waste
1. Make Use of Leftovers
Enjoy leftovers for lunch and be sure to plan a leftovers night. This is basically a night when you don’t have to cook anything from scratch. Hurray! You can plate up a mish-mash of leftovers or revive leftovers by making them into a new creation such as soup, quesadillas, or these broccoli- quinoa fritters!
2. Use the Whole Food
Those beet greens? You can use them! Just saute with a little garlic and olive oil and enjoy. Carrot or radish tops? Make pesto! Not sure if your veggie greens are edible? A quick google search will help you out and probably show you thousands of ways to use it. Also, forget the egg white omelets. You want that yolk, it’s vitamin-packed and good for you!In honor of #EarthDay here are 7 days to reduce food waste. #thereciperedux Click To Tweet
3. Use Less than Perfect Food
Whether it’s a blemished apple, dried out carrots, or wilted greens, unless they are rotten they are still ok to eat, especially if you trim away any bad parts and cook them. Think fruit crisps and chicken soup. Many packaged foods are also usually ok past their expiration date, it varies depending on the product and whether it’s a true “it’s gone bad” date or just a “tastes best by” date.
4. Freeze Extra Food
Whether it’s an overload of fresh berries, leftover pancakes, extra bread, unused pumpkin puree, or these broccoli-quinoa fritters, toss it into freezer-proof containers or bags and freeze. Skip the refrigeration step altogether if possible to eliminate the possibility of losing it to the black hole that is the back of the fridge!
5. Buy Less Food
I sometimes get overambitious when I go to the grocery store and come home with more food than I will realistically have time to cook that week. I’ve learned that making 2-3 smaller trips to the grocery store actually works better for me than one big one where I think “wow this has to last me all week, I better load up!”
6. Plan Your Meals
Meal planning can be an effective way to reduce food waste. Whether you shop once a week or several, if you don’t have a plan when you go to the store, chances are you will come home with items that you didn’t need. One way to make meal planning more fun is to have themed dinners.
7. Serve Less Food
I’m a big fan of family-style dinners where everyone can plate up their own food. Ellyn Satter, a childhood feeding expert and creator of the Division of Responsibilty recommends starting family dinners as soon as your child is a toddler. If you are serving food, serve smaller portions–this goes for the lunch box too! If your child routinely comes home with uneaten food, pack less.
Here’s a recipe idea that makes use of two leftover foods: cooked broccoli and quinoa. We have steamed broccoli at least once a week. But because I tend to cook up a little too much we also usually end up with leftovers.
So, what do I do with leftover broccoli? Often I refrigerate it only to toss it out after 5 days when it’s still sitting there looking super sad. Not good.
So what to do instead? Make these broccoli-quinoa fritters of course!
Broccoli quinoa fritters make use of leftovers and get greens into your kids! #thereciperedux Click To Tweet
Leftover quinoa is easier to make use of–make it into a black bean salad, add it to a kale salad, or reserve it the next night! But I like how this recipe makes quinoa into something totally new.
Serve these quinoa fritters as an appetizer or brunch item. According to my 10-year old, they go well with ketchup. I like them with a side of smoked salmon and a green salad.
- 1 1/2 cups cooked broccoli (or try leftover peas)
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (or try leftover cauliflower)
- 2 scallions (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs (e.g., parsley and basil)
- 2 eggs (large)
- 1/3 cup oat flour (certified gluten-free if needed)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or avocado oil + more as needed
- Combine broccoli through pepper in a food processor and pulse until just combined. The batter should be similar to pancake batter, if needed, add a little more oat flour. (Alternatively you can stir together everything in a bowl, but you may have to chop the veggies a bit more first).
- Heat oil in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Drop batter onto the skillet using a cookie or ice cream scooper. Don't overcrowd the pan and instead cook a few batches, using more oil as needed.
- Cook each fritter for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve immediately or transfer to a wire rack to cool. Fritters can be refrigerated for a few days or frozen.
- Sriracha sauce
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Lemon wedges
- Fresh, chopped chives
- Smoked salmon
- Sliced veggies
- Green salad
- Crisp rye bread
For more tips on reducing food waste and fabulous recipe ideas, check out the rest of the Recipe Redux posts: