Use the vegetables you have on hand to create a protein- and fiber-filled scrumptious salad + reduce food waste with Roasted Vegetable Bulgur Salad
Reduce food waste for Earth Day
In honor of Earth Day, this month’s Recipe Redux Challenge was right up my alley — reducing food waste. I speak about reducing food waste all over the country by sharing tips on how to buy, cook, and store food to minimize waste at home. Food is the largest stream of materials in American trash. From purchase to cooking, there are ideas to implement at home to be part of the solution to this global concern.
Talkin’ Trash about food waste in America
We buy food with the best of intentions. We don’t mean to be wasteful. But have you thrown out food this week?
Perhaps you bought vegetables because you thought you should be eating more of them. But then didn’t cook them or know how to make them taste good.
Or you bought food intending to eat at home but then ended up eating out. Or the ingredients intended for a specific occasion went unused because it never happened.
So the banana ripens before your peel it. The lettuce turns brown before the salad is made. The fish turns before you get to it.
You’re not alone. It’s estimated that we toss about 20 percent of the food we buy.
Forty four percent of food waste occurs at home. Yet, a Johns Hopkins study found that many of us underestimate how much food we throw away. More than half said they threw away just 10 percent of their food, while 13 percent say they didn’t throw away any. Nearly seventy five percent claimed they wasted less than the average American.
Ready for a food waste challenge?
Ready to see how much food and money you are throwing away? You can do your own wasted food challenge. For one week, measure how much food your family wastes in a week and record the volume. Track how much you throw away and the reason you didn’t eat it. It could be that you ate out, didn’t know how to cook the food, didn’t feel like cooking, bought too much, didn’t store it properly. Also note the approximate value. If you paid $3.00 for a container of strawberries and threw away a third, you lost a dollar to wasted food.
How to reduce food waste
After you’ve observed and recorded, try these suggestions over the next 2 weeks to see if you can find some solutions that work for you.
- Shop your own kitchen first so you purchase with a purpose. See what you have on hand before you head to the store. Keeping in mind how many meals you will cook this week; use these foods to create a weekly menu
- Make a shopping list. With this list you are less likely to buy impulse items, more likely to buy what you expect to use, you will be more likely to use it and keep it fresh. Will you use the food you buy in jumbo bulk sizes? Is a BOGO going to be eaten or will it be tossed? If tossed, it’s not such a good deal after all.
- Cook the perishable foods first. The sooner you get to them, the easier it is to serve as snacks and meals through the week, saving time, effort and money.
- Place an “Eat First” sign in your refrigerator for ingredients that need to go. Use these foods for lunches, snacks, or to repurpose into another meal.
After 4 weeks, measure and record your weekly food waste amount. I hope you will see how much food and money you saved compared to when you started.
Here’s how I use vegetables to reduce food waste
Why I like Roasted Vegetable Bulgur Salad
- It’s satisfying because of the whole grains, herby yogurt dressing, fruit and nuts.
- It’s filled with flavor, fiber and protein.
- The bulgur soaks on its own, is I (and you) can be doing other things.
- It’s flexible, I can use the vegetables, fruit and spices I have on hand. So I can repurpose leftover cooked vegetables into a quick weekend meal.
Bring on the variety and color. Here I used carrots, zucchini, red peppers and onions, but red cabbage, butternut squash, eggplant, beets, cauliflower, sweet potatoes or broccoli also works. Cut the vegetables into similar sizes for even cooking.
Are you ready for another challenge? Your own fiber challenge? I created a free, 5-day challenge you can join by clicking this link. You’ll get tips and tools, resources and recipes to create your own roadmap to meet your fiber goals. Don’t ya? Won’t ya? Seriously, it’s only 5 days 😉 Find it right here.
P.S. Want more healthy living tips and recipes? Sign up for my newsletter here.
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Roasted Vegetable Bulgur Salad
Roasted Vegetable Bulgur Salad | Use the vegetables you have on hand to create a protein- and fiber-filled scrumptious salad! A LiveBest favorite!
- Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Salad
- Cuisine: American
- 1 cup bulgur
- 2 cups water
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried chile flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
- Soak bulgur: In a quart-sized bowl, stir bulgur and water together. Allow to sit 1 hour as bulgur absorbs water. This can be done a day or 2 ahead of time. Refrigerate after water is absorbed.
- Vegetables: Heat oven and baking sheet to 425° F. In a large bowl, drizzle vegetables with olive oil. When baking sheet is hot, carefully spread in a single layer. Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked until softened but still have a ‘bite” to them. Set aside to cool.
- Yogurt Herb Dressing and Salad: While vegetables are roasting, combine yogurt, cumin, oregano, basil, salt, dried chile flakes, and black pepper.Add bulgur, roasted vegetables, raisins, parsley and lemon juice. Stir to blend. Sprinkle walnuts over you before serving.
Use the vegetables you have on hand — red cabbage, butternut squash, eggplant, beets, cauliflower, sweet potatoes or broccoli. No raisins? Try cranberries, apples, dates or pomegranate seeds.
- Serving Size: 3/4 cup
- Calories: 190
Keywords: grain salad, roasted vegetables
See how my fellow Recipe Redux food bloggers are reducing food waste in their own homes.