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Employee Wellness: Let’s Get Down to The Root-Scrap Cooking

What is Scrappy Cooking?

Here's some "food" for thought; scrappy cooking was born out of a need to reduce wasteful food consumption. Food waste accounts for 30 to 40 percent of U.S food supply, causing an estimated loss of 161 billion dollars and 133 billion pounds of wasted food each year in the U.S.

Cooking with scraps is a zero-waste approach to maximize the use of ingredients you purchase. It’s a sustainable way to live as it decreases food waste through making the most of all ingredients. As a result, you’ll save money while also filling your belly. Food scraps are often tossed into the trash when they are considered not edible. However, you can use these food scraps to make some tasty, delicious food using what would otherwise go to waste.

Here are three ways to utilize scrappy cooking:

1. Pesto It

Most vegetables come with leaves that end up in the trash bin, but those leaves can be used to make your own pesto. Yes, that’s right, pesto! First, you'll combine the leaves of your choice, such as carrot top leaves or even radish stems, with pine nuts. Now, try making your own non-basil pesto.

2. Pickle It

Reuse the leftover pickle juice from your pickles to re-pickle other food scraps. Some examples of food scraps that can be pickled include watermelon rinds or cabbage. If the leftover pickle juice isn't tickling your fancy, try making your own pickling juice.

3. Crunch It

Don't let the skins of your potatoes end up in the trash, you can turn them into a fun snack instead. For example, potato skins can be baked to make potato crisps.

Hold on tight because your taste buds will take you for a spin.

Recipe time:

Looking for a savory treat? Let's talk about the infamous broccoli stem (stalk).

Broccoli is a powerhouse vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. However, when we eat broccoli, we only consume the head (florets) and often throw out the stem, which is edible and just as nutritious.

The stem of the broccoli contains more fiber than the head. Here is one way you can use the fiber-packed broccoli stem in your next meal:


  • 3 broccoli stems

  • ¾ cup of all-purpose flour

  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko

  • Salt


  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Peel the broccoli stems to completely remove the tough outer edge. Cut the stalks into "French fry" shapes and set them aside.

  • Now start the process with three bowls, one with flour, the second with the almond milk, and the third with the breadcrumbs. Remember to season the breadcrumbs with salt.

  • Dip each broccoli stalk into the flour, then almond milk. Repeat for another round, and then coat the stalk with the breadcrumbs or panko.

  • Bake until crispy, roughly 15-20 minutes. Season with your preferred seasonings and serve with dipping sauce!

If savory flavors don’t get your taste buds excited, here's a recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Candied orange peels. With this recipe, you can eat the golden fruit inside and save the outside peels. The orange peels pack a lot more nutritional value than its bearing fruit inside; the peels are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and polyphenols. This recipe only calls for three ingredients; give this sweet treat a try!

The Bottom Line

So now you know, the next time you are cooking and decide to throw away those food scraps, think again and remember that there are so many creative ways to use them! Whether it is the green tops of your carrots to the skins of your potatoes, you can always give them a tasteful twist.

Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.

Written by: Melina Chhin, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern



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