Over the last few years, I’ve put a big focus on reducing food waste at our house. Being a food writer and stylist, there are weeks when we have a veryrandom assortment of leftovers and ingredients from various client projects taking up space in our fridge. I’ve developed lots of little tricks to make the most of what’s on hand to reduce the amount of food waste we create. It’s a great way to save money, but more than that, it’s better for the environment. The EPA estimates that in the United States, more food reaches landfills than any other single material in our everyday trash. And when food decomposes in landfills the nutrients in the food never return to the soil — the wasted food rots and produces methane gas.Last year on Earth day I shared a big post rounding up tons of the tricks I use to reduce food waste in our home – from meal planning to composting, and making a “use first” section of our fridge. A really big way to reduce food waste (and save on my grocery bills!) is to get creative with my leftovers, and one of my favorite ways to do that is by creating big, tasty, creative salad combinations with my favorite Little Leaf Farms greens! I have a few of my favorite leftover combination ideas below to spark your own food-waste-reducing-creativity: Taco Salad. …. and fajita salad, and quesadilla salad. The list goes on! Mexican food leftovers are one of my favorite things to incorporate into salads. Chop up leftover chicken and combine it with salsa and cheese, press it into a quesadilla and serve it with Little Leaf Farms Greens tossed with a lime-based vinaigrette. Grill up leftover peppers and onions and serve them over mixed greens for a fajita-style salad topped with sour cream. A classic taco salad is always a winner in our house with leftover crumbled beef, crushed up tortilla chips from the bottom of the bag, and some cheese and avocados. Mix together a dash of hot sauce and ranch for a spicy topping!
Pizza Salad. This idea was included in my cookbook and is a fun spin on Friday pizza night! Do you ever get the ingredients to make homemade pizza and find you have leftover toppings like pepperoni and olives? Toss them in a salad with an Italian vinaigrette for a quick dinner. I like to use leftover charcuterie and cheese in these salads too. Roll up salami, provolone, prosciutto and slice them into little pinwheels of meat and cheese to add on top. It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies like peppers, onions, mushrooms, and artichokes. Use crusty leftover bread to make croutons (see the how-to here!) and season them with Italian herbs. Or use extra pizza dough to make garlic knots to add on top for a really special treat!
Go Greek. One of my favorite ways to use up leftover chicken is in a Greek-inspired salad. Whatever kind of salad you’re making, revive leftover chopped up chicken by tossing it with a little bit of the salad dressing you’re using before adding to the greens. I like to use up canned chickpeas, leftover onions, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes in this mixture. A scoop of hummus is a winning addition or use leftover pita chips in place of croutons!
Steak and Blue. We don’t eat a ton of red meat, but if there’s leftovers from a summer barbeque I like to add thin slices of it into a salad with crumbled blue cheese. Another winning combination is sliced steak with avocados, shredded cheddar, any veggies you have leftover in your fridge. and a drizzle of ranch and lime juice. To celebrate Earth Day this year, I’m partnering with Little Leaf Farms to give back to an amazing organization committed to reducing food waste and using it for good. Lovin’ Spoonfuls is a non-profit that helps rescue and distribute fresh food that would otherwise go to waste and gets it to our local communities in need. Over on Instagram today, Little Leaf Farms has committed to donate $1 to the organization for every like my post gets before Friday, up to $1000! I encourage you to learn more about the Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ mission, and Little Leaf Farm’s own commitment to sustainability (Seriously! I visited their greenhouses last year and was in awe!).Please note: This post was created in partnership with Little Leaf Farms. All opinions, images and content are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support this site.