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10 Tasty Ways to Use Food Scraps

Veggie Cream Cheese

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It can be disheartening to watch a huge mound of veggies turn into a small glass of juice. But the pulp is super useful, says Melvin Major Jr., of Melvin’s Juice Box in New York City. If you have pepper or spinach pulp, mix it into plain cream cheese to make a veggie cream cheese spread. You can also add it to hummus!

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Eat the Leaves!

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If you normally trim and toss the leaves from of a head of broccoli or from celery, you’re wasting delicious greens. The tops of beets and carrots are also tasty. Sauté for a side dish, add to salads, or puree with nuts and cheese into pesto.

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Brighten Up a Smoothie

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Citrus juice adds a fresh kick to your morning smoothie—and so does the peel. Save them and zest into your blend for a powerful flavor punch. (This is one of the tricks in our 14 Unexpected Smoothie and Green Juice Ingredients.) 

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A Fancy Puree

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Vegetable scraps like fresh pea skins and parsnip tops and peels can be pureed into a flavorful accompaniment to a protein like roasted chicken or shrimp scampi, says Leith Hill, founder of healthy restaurant Ellary’s Greens in New York City.

Photo: Ellary's Greens

Bone Broth or Chicken Stock

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Homemade broth or stock take any recipe up a notch. And, these dishes are basically made from food scraps. Try one of these bone broth-based soup recipes

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Homemade Smoothie Packs

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Those salad greens that are getting kind of limp… that banana that’s turning brown… the berries that are getting mushy… throw them all into Ziploc bags in the freezer and you’ll have pre-mixed smoothie packs. On a busy morning, dump one into a blender with some liquid. Breakfast in a flash!

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Bread Salad

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You can make tons of yummy food from stale bread, like croutons, bread crumbs, and bread pudding. One favorite: a bread salad like this mango panzanella.

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Cure Bacon with Celery

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At Ellary’s Greens, they actually cure the bacon with celery juice! Celery contains enough naturally occurring nitrates to cure meat, says Hill. The restaurant juices extra trimmings of celery, mixes the juice with juniper and spices, and creates a rub to cure bacon for six days before smoking it.

Photo: Ellary's Greens

Stir-Fry the Stalks

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Broccoli florets get all the love, but the stalks are delicious and nutritious too. Trim off the woody exterior, chop ‘em up, and cook as you would the florets. (We’re partial to this recipe for stir-fried ginger beef with broccoli and mushrooms.) 

Photo: Getty Images

Moist Burgers

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The pulp from your juicer also adds juiciness to burgers, says Major. He recommends using apple or carrot pulp.

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