What does this have to do with sustainability and climate change? It reduces food waste—which means less landfill, less energy/land/water/materials used to grow, raise and transport food that’s never even used. According the Environmental Protection Agency, 36 million tons of food was landfilled in 2011. As food breaks down in landfills, methane– a powerful greenhouse gas– is created.
A few vegan ‘recipes’ for using leftovers, based on 25+ years of vegetarian cooking:
- vegan hash: chop up any leftover cooked vegetables/beans/tofu/seitan and sauté them in olive oil for 10 minutes—until heated through and slightly browned— add salt and pepper if needed and serve with leftover toasted or grilled bread or rolls.
- veggie pot pie: chop up any leftover cooked vegetables/beans/tofu/seitan and put them in a pie plate. Pour in any leftover sauce or gravy. If you don’t have gravy, make some by sautéing a little chopped onion in olive oil, adding some corn starch or flour, then whisking in some rice milk, stock or water. Cover the mélange with leftover mashed potatoes or a simple biscuit crust and bake for 45 minutes to an hour in a 350 degree oven.
- soup: chop up any leftover cooked vegetables/beans/tofu/seitan and put them in a pot with stock or water. Add salt, pepper and other spices as needed. Heat through and serve with leftover bread or rolls.
- fresh veggie salad or sandwich: chop up any leftover fresh vegetables, mix them in new combinations with dried fruit or nuts for a salad. Put the veggies on toast with hummus for a sandwich.
- dessert: if there are any leftover sweets….. freeze them before they disappear.
Get started by putting your leftovers in the fridge promptly; click here for more details from Michigan State University Extension. If you have more leftovers than you can use, freeze them. A great reference for preserving food comes from University of Georgia Extension; here’s a link to their guide to freezing leftovers.
Værsågod! (Norwegian for ‘dig in!’)