Salad leaf pesto and other food waste tips

From mashed potato cakes, veg peeling crisps or preserved lemons – get creative in the kitchen and find new flavours and dishes while cutting food waste.

No time to wasteNo Time to Waste. This article is part of a joint campaign by Riverford and Wicked Leeks to help people cut food waste and raise awareness.

joint campaign by Riverford and Wicked Leeks this Spring has been helping people cut food waste and help combat climate change. With a third of food produced globally being wasted, there are simple steps we can take in our own kitchens that will help reduce this; here are some great resources to help you get going.  

Simple storage tips 

Starting with the basics, when you get your veg, how is it stored? Shelf life can be lengthened if stored correctly. This handy infographic covers all you need to know – click here for an easy go-to guide.  

A great tip shared on the Riverford Hive Facebook group was to have a ‘use me first’ container in your fridge. Just checking through and seeing what needs using up first will save both food and money. You can then meal plan around what needs using – online recipe finders such as Riverford’s Recipe Hub, where you just type in the name of the veg you have to find fresh ideas, can be a real time saver. 

A glut of fruit or veg? The freezer is your friend, whether you batch cook to use it up and then freeze, or just prep them. These guides to freezing your veg and fruit will make it simple.  

Riverford recipe hub is a great resource to meal plan and use up odds and ends. 

Love your greens 

Leafy greens are best used as fresh as possible to make the most of their goodness but are one of the most wasted items. Kale, cabbage, chard, and spring/summer greens are all interchangeable in most recipes, from a comforting dal to a spicy laksa. For five flexible recipes to use up whatever greens you have, click here

Often the most neglected thing in the fridge, instead of letting leftover salad leaves go slimy just blitz them into an easy salad leaf pesto. Great mixed through cooked pasta, swirled into soups, in a baked potato or spread in a sandwich. Enjoy however you fancy – to try the recipe, click here. 

Turn leftover salad leaves into a versatile pesto sauce, perfect for soups or pasta. 

Get into ‘compleating’ 

Compleating is eating all the edible parts of plants, enjoying a wider range of textures and flavours -plus saving you money as it makes your veg go even further. Most root veg can be scrubbed clean and the vitamin-packed skin actually contains loads of vitamins. If you do peel them, freeze the peelings to use as the base for a rich, vegetable stock or turn them into tasty, packaging-free veg crisps.  

Learning some simple new tips to help you prep and cook makes the world of difference. Riverford’s Veg Hacks are a series of videos that show you how, and they have showcased a selection that take you through some zero waste ideas. Stop your citrus going to waste by making delectable preserved lemons, learn new knife skills for no-waste broccoli prep, or try out some surprising whole baked veg ideas; click here to explore.  

Check out Riverford Veg Hacks to discover some zero waste recipe ideas. 

Get creative with leftovers 

Simple ideas for leftovers shared on #nowastewednesdays include: 

  • Mashed potato: turn into fishcakes or potato cakes. Throw in whatever you have to hand, even just a few herbs and gently pan fry. 
  • Roast veg is great in a frittata. Roast beetroot or carrot go really well in a salad; paired with some greens, grains, and a little feta you’ve got a really tasty dish. 
  • Make mini crustless quiches using eggs, any bits of cheese, spinach, mushroom etc. 
  • Leftover quesadillas. Use up any leftover pasta sauces, curries etc sandwiched between tortillas. Add in other leftover veggies and cheese then heat in a dry frying pan. 
  • Chilli or dal is great the next day on flatbread, tortillas or even toast! 


Leave a Reply

  1. Such a great article…. there is no need to waste any part of any veg, is there? And there is the compost bin…..thanks for all the ideas.
    (I think onion skins might be the exception…. though I think they were used for fabric dyes ?)

    1. Dry the onion skins in the oven and then grind them and use as onion powder, like the stuff you get from the supermarkets in small jars in the spices section.

  2. Some great ideas although very little vegetable goes to waste in our house. What we don’t eat, our dog finishes – cabbage stalks are a great favourite, together with trimmings from green beans, courgettes and many others. He’s not keen on lettuce but most other things are demolished, including apple and pear cores. Anything he doesn’t eat goes in my Hotbin. Apparently that can cope with meat bones but I haven’t tried it yet as it’s still not up to full temperature. The dog enjoys his raw scraps as extra food (we do watch his weight but he does get meal leftovers, only raw veg and fruit.


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