Zero Waste Recipe Ideas

1) Carrot Top Pesto

If you grow your own carrots in a home garden, buy locally at farm stands or farmers’ markets, or even opt for whole carrots at supermarkets, then you know the struggle of finding something to do with those pesky carrot tops. They’re lush, green, and voluminous but tend to be more of an afterthought when it comes to cooking with carrots. It turns out their leafy stems actually taste quite similar to parsley (or coriander), which makes them an excellent candidate for pesto recipes! Try out this simple, no-bake carrot top recipe the next time you want to amp up your pasta, sandwiches, soups, salads, dips, and more.

In a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle, simply add one cup of packed carrot tops (around 40 grams worth) with one cup of spinach, one or two cloves of fresh garlic (or more to taste), half a cup of pine nuts or cashews, half a cup of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice as desired, and salt and pepper to taste. Blitz and pulse until the pesto has reached your desired consistency (shorter pulses for a chunkier texture, and longer blending for a creamier, sauce-like pesto). Feel free to play around with the ratios and herb additions in this recipe to suit your taste as necessary (such as swapping the olive oil with sesame oil for a richer and nuttier taste, or use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts and cashews to make this nut free, etc.).

2) Spiralized Broccoli Stem Noodles

You may have heard about zoodles, or zucchini noodles, which are essentially just spiralized and sautéed zucchinis used to bolster or take the place of regular noodles–did you know that you can do the exact same thing with broccoli stems? Broccoli stems are some of the most commonly thrown away vegetable parts–everyone knows and loves broccoli florets, but nobody ever knows what to do with the stems. Hopefully, you’re already buying whole broccoli heads instead of the pre-bagged florets that introduce plastic packaging and contribute to unnecessary waste or even growing your own broccoli. Regardless, before you toss those stems in your compost bins, consider turning them into noodles!

Start by spiralizing your broccoli stem after washing and cutting off the head of florets using a vegetable spiralizer, which can be found online or at most retailers for as little as only six dollars (alternatively, use a potato peeler to just shave the stem into noodles yourself). Then, cook them in a skillet over medium heat with one to two tablespoons of olive oil as well as salt and pepper for at least three to five minutes or until tender. From there, the possibilities are endless–try adding some grated pecorino romano cheese along with garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes for a comforting, savory broccoli noodle dish. Get creative and add your choice of proteins and seasonings to make this unique twist on veggie noodles entirely your own!


Written by Carole Wilay ’25

Photo by Amirali Mirhashemian on Unsplash

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