No leaf left behind: Delicious zero waste recipes

No leaf left behind: Delicious zero waste recipes

Photos: Carmen Palma

In association with Espigoladors and CETT-UB

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Ever thought you could do more with those bits of fruit and veg that you scrape into the bin? You can – and it’s way easier and tastier than you think! Here’s a selection of inspiring zero waste recipes, that use up every last bit of your cauliflowers and carrots.

We live in a world where one third of the food we grow goes to waste. Yes, one third. That shocking number includes the perfectly good parts of fruit and veg that we trim off, because we’re not sure what to do with them. 

Until now. 

5 has teamed up with the food waste fighters at Espigoladors and the cookery wizards at Barcelona hospitality school CETT-UB to bring you these delicious zero waste recipes that use up all those bits of fruit and veg that you usually ignore.

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Zero waste carrot bean stew

We’re starting with one of the most familiar vegetables of all: the carrot. It’s time to learn to love the whole carrot – including those beautiful green leaves which, sadly, are sometimes gone before we even buy them. But if you can get carrots with their leaves intact, you can cook and eat them along with the rest. 

Carrot leaves are rich in vitamin A, which is good for your eyesight (and bones and immune system and general health), and they can be easily included in all kinds of dishes – like this fantastic carrot and bean stew.


  • 1 egg, hard boiled
  • Carrot leaves
  • Boiled beans

For the soffritto

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 branch of celery

The stew

Chop the carrots, celery, garlic and onion. Stir fry in a pan with a little olive oil.

Add the beans and some stock of your choice, and mix with a spoon. Simmer for 15 minutes.

The leaves

Cut the carrot leaves as thinly as possible and add  to the simmering stew.


Grate the boiled egg on top of the stew and serve directly in the dish.


More tips

  • You don’t need to peel the carrots, but if you choose to, you can use the peel to make chips as a side dish. Simply roast them in the oven with some olive oil, until they’re crispy.
  • Substitute the beans with any other legume: chickpeas, kidney beans or whatever.
  • To store the stew, let it cool down and keep it in the fridge. When reheating, only reheat the quantity you are going to use.

Zero waste cauliflower blinis

The world gets through a lot of cauliflower. And yet, we often throw away even more of it than we eat. Those bits we’re used to binning – the stems and leaves – can be just as tasty as the rest. 

Try grating the stem of your cauliflower and adding it to salads, soups, stews and stock. The leaves are great too – something like kale, with a sweeter flavour. Use them to add texture to dishes, or just roast them until crispy. 

Here’s one of our favourite recipes that uses every last bit of the cauliflower.


  • Cauliflower
  • Egg
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Salt flakes
  • Olive oil
  • Cream cheese

The blinis

Grate the cauliflower florets, putting some aside for later. Add the eggs and the mozzarella and mix it all together.

Heat a pan with olive oil and place the mixture in the pan in small balls. Fry each side until brown.

The caviar

Take the grated cauliflower you set aside and add a pinch of salt.

The carpaccio

Peel the cauliflower stem and cut it in thin slices. Microwave for 15 seconds and season with salt, oil and vinegar.

The leaves

Cut the cauliflower leaves as thinly as possible and season with salt, oil and vinegar.

The puree

Put what’s left in a pot and bring to the boil. Drain and blend together with cream cheese until you get a dense, but fine puree.


Top the blinis with the puree. Add the carpaccio and sprinkle the caviar on top. Finish with the cut cauliflower leaves.

Enjoy your zero waste blinis!

More tips

  • Substitute the cream cheese with your favourite vegan option, or just leave it out if you prefer.
  • Keep the different parts of the recipes in the fridge separately and have fun mixing them up with other ingredients.
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