Looking to reduce your food waste? Check out these versatile snacks and side dishes to reduce food waste that help all of us make the most of the fruits and vegetables we buy, especially those from rescued produce boxes.
P.S. We subscribe to Misfits Market rescued produce boxes and really love them. If you’re interested, use our referral code COOKWME-YW9VRA for 25% off your first order.
A few weeks ago, we started receiving rescued produce boxes from Misfits Market. To help us ensure that we use all the items we receive, we have a handful of snacks and sides we can fall back on that are perfect to use up a variety of fruits and veggies.
Whether you receive a produce box or not, these are all pretty great ways to use up any produce you have in your fridge to prevent it from going to waste.
Versatile Snacks and Sides To Reduce Food Waste
I don’t always have plans to use everything from our Misfits Market rescued produce box as the main ingredients for meals. We have a few versatile snacks and sides that can incorporate a variety of leftover fruits and veggies that don’t have a specific home elsewhere in our meal plan.
Here are some of our “go-to” ways to make sure we use up all the fruits and vegetables in the rescued produce box. After all, we’d had to waste the produce that we purchased specifically to prevent it from going to waste otherwise.
Smoothies are an awesome way to use up fruits and vegetables. My husband makes all sorts of smoothies with whatever leftover fruits and veggies he can pull together in the fridge. Of course not every combination would make a delicious smoothie. But if there is something odd to be used up, we can often hide it when paired with strong-flavored fruits like bananas, apple, and pineapple.
We’ve also had great success making delicious smoothies with surprising combinations. A recent favorite includes spinach, Brussel sprouts, pineapple, mango, and banana. It’s a gorgeous green color, but I wasn’t so sure about it. When I tried it though, I really liked it. Now it’s one of my favorite smoothie combinations.
Be sure to chop into chunks and freeze any fruits and veggies that can go in smoothies if you can’t use them before they go bad. Sometimes I prefer to use frozen items for a better smoothie consistency. Do what works for you. But definitely toss the produce into the freezer before it goes bad, so nothing goes to waste!
About once a week, I grab several of the veggies from the rescued produce box, chop them up into quarter or half inch pieces, coat them in oil, salt, and pepper, and then roasted them on a pan at 400 degrees Farenheit for 30-40 minutes. So many vegetables are great once roasted and don’t need a lot of fancy dressing or seasonings to bring out their flavor. Be generous with the salt and pepper and you’ll be surprised how delicious your veggies taste!
This option is great for rescued produce boxes for a couple of reasons. First, many veggies can be roasted, so it’s a simple solution that works broadly. Also, you can mix and match a variety of veggies if you don’t have enough of one thing to feed your family but can combine several of the items from the box to create a large enough serving to be shared among everyone.
When I make pasta for dinner, I often mix broccoli or spinach into the sauce using our Vitamix. Many other vegetables could be mixed into the sauce as well. It helps us use up veggies and get the boys to eat more veggies. They can’t eat around the pulverized bits of greens packed into the sauce. #ParentingWin
Most of the boxes come with some sort of greens in them. We have received Boston bibb lettuce and kale so far. We often have spinach on hand too. Salads are a perfect way to use up a small or large amount of many fruits or veggies that you can just toss into the mix.
BRIANNAS has tons of great dressings, and we default to their Asiago Caesar, Champagne, and Chipotle Ranch for nearly all of our green-based salads. Those are definitely our favorite dressing flavors.
I also love fruit salads. Mixing several fruits together into a salad for breakfast, lunch, or a snack, can help turn a few small pieces of fruit into something that is plenty large enough to be a meal on its own or supplement a meal for a larger group.
My boys love to make their own popsicles, and they are yet another snack to help use up fruits and veggies so they don’t go to waste. Many popsicles are made with fruit and don’t typically include vegetables. But I subscribe to the mantra that if it works in a smoothie, you can simply freeze the smoothie mix and turn it into a popsicle.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I suspect that the green smoothie I described above would make a great popsicle. There are tons of popsicle recipes online too!
Pickling produce also helps to extend the life of many fruits and especially veggies. Pinterest has all sorts of options for pickling recipes, so I encourage you to look to the experts for new ways to pickle whatever you can’t use.
In our first three boxes from Misfits, we receive 13 jalapenos. We don’t typically use that many fresh jalapenos in recipes, but my husband loves to put pickled jalapenos on his nachos. We’ve typically bought them from the grocery store, but with this pickled jalapeno recipe, we now have our own homemade option that was super simple to make and we didn’t waste the jalapenos! It’s a win-win!
Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Last but not least, the most “unsuable” of vegetable remnants make great additions to a chicken or vegetable stock. I save bits and pieces in the freezer, along with the carcas from a chicken, and then make our own chicken stock when I need to replenish the stock in our freezer. I’ve used stock for soups, chicken pot pie, an even to replace water when cooking things like rice and orzo. The stock gives the rice or orzo more flavor without adding unnecessary ingredients!
So far, we’ve loved our Misfits Market rescued produce box. Ensuring we use up all the produce does require being mindful about what we receive and having a handful of ideas, like the ones above, about how we can use a variety of items from the boxes.
If you have any other questions, definitely let me know! To try it, use my referral code of COOKWME-YW9VRA to get 25% off your first order. And share any other tips you have for using up produce to prevent food waste in the comments below!