Every other Monday we’ll be spotlighting a #meatlessmonday recipe. Quick and nutritious, these recipes and guides are perfect for on the go meals; good for you and the planet.
Pesto Pasta Salad
For this #meatlessmonday we’re sharing a perfect summer-time treat. Pesto Pasta salad is a delicious room temperature, picnic-ready meal!
This classic version of pesto pasta features a yummy homemade basil-and-pine nut pesto, a generous amount of parmesan cheese, and ripe grape tomatoes. Any short pasta will do as long as it has good texture to snag the sauce. Fusilli or penne are the most classic, but feel free to use your own favorite shape. Finish it off with your best olive oil to really bring out the flavor.
1 lb. short pasta, such as fusilli or penne
1/4 c. pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. basil leaves
1/4 c. finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 pt. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water, then drain pasta in a colander. Rinse and transfer pasta to a large bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium-low heat, cook pine nuts until just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Let cool.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine pine nut-garlic mixture, basil, Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse five or six times until mostly smooth. Add reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse to reach desired texture.
Add pesto and cherry tomatoes to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with additional Parmesan.
You can make the pesto up to 3 days ahead, just wait to add the water until the day of serving. Transfer to an airtight container and top with a glug of olive oil, which will help the pesto maintain its pretty, nearly emerald green color. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Meatless Monday, A Thoughtful Approach to Preventing Food Waste
Every other Monday we’ll be spotlighting a #meatlessmonday recipe. The Meatless Monday movement started several years ago to encourage people to reduce their meat consumption for their personal health and the health of our planet. We thought that starting each week by practicing Meatless Monday, the focus at home may also lead people to think more thoughtfully about the food they buy and eat–throwing less away which helps our planet even more!
Mexican Street Style Elote Corn
Digital Food Producer , Camille Lowder. “35 Vegetarian BBQ Recipes Perfect for Summer.” Delish, 17 May 2022.
For this #meatlessmonday we’re sharing a sweet and savory recipe. Elote corn is tangy and spicy, a popular antojito (little craving or street food) originating in Mexico. Often served on a stick, you can skip the skewer and put it right onto the grill. A perfect side to mix up any classic Fourth of July barbecue!
6 ears corn, shucked and cleaned
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. Grated cotija cheese
Freshly chopped cilantro
Lime wedges, for serving
For the Grill
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill corn, turning often, until slightly charred all over, about 10 minutes.
Brush corn with a layer of mayonnaise and sprinkle with chili powder, cotija, and cilantro. Serve warm with lime wedges.
For the Air Fryer
Cut corn to fit in air-fryer basket. (You may need to cut cobs in half.)
Brush corn all over with olive oil. Working in batches, add corn to air fryer and cook at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender.
Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise onto each cob, then sprinkle with chili powder, Cotija, and cilantro.
Serve warm or at room temperature with lime wedges.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Nutrition (per serving): 240 calories, 5 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 240 mg sodium
We have all done it. We cannot resist buying that big bag of Idaho potatoes, yams, or delicious sweet potatoes.
It is sometimes cheaper to buy that whole bag of potatoes, so we do it with the best intentions to make delicious and nutritious meals. But then reality kicks in–that bag sits on the counter for weeks sprouting little round ‘eyes’. And sometimes, if it sits long enough, some of them will have a green color. Is this safe to eat?
According to the National Capital Poison Center (poison.org):
Potatoes contain two kinds of glycoalkaloids, both natural toxins, called solanine and chaconine. Exposure to light greatly increases the formation of chlorophyll and glycoalkaloids. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of many plants and is not toxic. However, the green of chlorophyll is a marker that can let you know that there could be an excess of glycoalkaloids.The entire potato plant contains glycoalkaloids, but the highest concentration is found in the leaves, flowers, “eyes,” green skin, and sprouts. The lowest concentration is found in the white body of the potato.
Sprouted spuds aren’t necessarily destined for the landfill: the potato itself is likely still safe to eat, so long as you cut away the little growths and green spots. And you can cook it up, and mash it with salt and butter, but what if you made something even more fun?
Making your own potato or vegetable chips, whether you fry or bake them, is easier than you think. We have found that once you do make your own, it is hard to go back to the oversalted store version!
Here are the advantages: You get to pick which vegetables to use. And you choose the spices and seasonings you want to use for your homemade chips. And: Making your own chips is fun and easy.
Some Tips: Root vegetables are best, such as carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and beets. Not only are they colorful, but they each also have a flavor of their own. Just make sure you remove those little “eyes” and cut off any part of the skin that looks green.
Ingredients 1 large carrot, trimmed 1 large parsnip, trimmed 1 sweet potato 1 Yukon Gold potato 1 large beet Canola oil, for frying
There are plenty of recipes out there to make your homemade chips, but Spruce Eats is one of those sites that is always thinking about food waste. Here is this weeks recipe:
Get all of your ingredients together first. This makes the whole at-home cooking process much easier. So start by pulling all of those potatoes and questionable veggies. Get your seasoning choices out. Bowls, oil, pans, and peelers too!
Peel off the skin, making sure all those little ‘eyes’ are gone as well as any green tone on the Idaho potato.
Now slice them thin. It helps if you have a mandoline, a food processor fitted with the 2 mm slicing blade, but if don’t have one then a sharp knife works just as well when cutting the vegetables into very thin slices (1/16-inch thick).
Fill a large bowl with ice water and transfer the carrot, parsnips, sweet potato, and either Yukon gold or Idaho potato to the ice water. [Note: do not miss this step! soaking any starch produce item in cold water like this makes an absolute difference!]
Now, fill a small bowl with ice water and transfer the beet slices to the smaller bowl of water. Let the vegetables sit in the water for 30 minutes.
Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Drain the vegetables and arrange them in a single layer on the towels. Pat the vegetables to remove any excess water.
First, Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Second, line 2 plates with paper towels.
Heat three (3) inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F using a deep-frying thermometer. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add about 1/2 cup of vegetable slices to the oil and fry until crisp and golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Remove the vegetables to the paper towels to drain.
First, remove the paper towels from the baking sheets and spread the fried vegetable chips in a single layer on the baking sheets. then place in the oven to keep warm.
Repeat with the remaining vegetables in batches, making sure to maintain the oil temperature of 350 F.
Put the warm chips in a large bowl, add the seasoning mixture of your choice, and toss lightly.
Our basic seasoning mixture from above: In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Feel free to be creative here and try different spices on different batches.
Benefits of NOT Wasting Potatoes and Vegetables
In addition to saving the planet we all live on, when households save food through consumption, you personally save money. But more important is gaining the knowledge that one small action (throwing out just one potato with ‘eyes’) has a ripple effect in your own neighborhood.
Water is conserved
CO2E is contained.
Landfills grow smaller.
Your family learns an important lesson in community action–because not everyone in your neighborhood has enough nourishing food on their plates tonight.
Remember: Think before you buy food. Plan your meals and use every part that is edible to #StopFoodWaste.
For more benefits of stopping food waste go to the EPA.gov site here.
Who is Food Finders?
Food Finders is a food rescue nonprofit organization with a primary focus on reducing hunger while also reducing food waste. We coordinate the daily pick-up of donated excess food from grocers, restaurants, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, and more; food is then distributed directly and immediately to nonprofit recipients, such as pantries, shelters, youth programs, and senior centers, to be used for serving hot meals or as grocery distribution for people who are struggling and food insecure. Our Food Rescue program ensures millions of pounds of wholesome food helps feed people, not landfills. Operating from a single headquarters in Orange County, California, we serve multiple counties within Southern California. By engaging a huge network of volunteers, we’re able to quickly scale and rescue enough food for 30,000 meals per day.
DID YOU KNOW? The average American household wastes approximately $1,600 each year in produce. This is enough to pay for more than an entire month’s worth of groceries for a family of four! 😱
Produce is a major food staple for many and yet it is often wasted.
Some reasons for this waste could be:
Poor storage system for produce, making items go bad faster
Allowing items to go bad without eating them, which often happens when we forget we have them
Not repurposing parts of a fruit or vegetable to make other dishes
Italian Crazy Sauce Recipe
For today’s #WhyWasteWednesday post, we want to give you an option to use a tomato that might be going bad soon and turn it into a delicious meal! With our fun recipe for Italian Crazy Sauce you can take those overripe tomatoes in your fridge and make a yummy sauce to dip your bread into! 🍅 🥖
💚 6-8 Overripe tomatoes
💚 1-2 cloves of garlic
💚 Basil powder, 3 to 6 fresh sprigs, or 1 Tablespoon basil pesto
💚 Oil of choice (e.g. olive oil)
💚 Pasta or Toasted bread for dipping
Now it’s time for preparation! Make sure to follow the steps below.
6 STEPS FORPREPARATION:
Remove any parts of the tomato that may be molded. Then chop into smaller pieces. Set aside. (If you need additional tomatoes you may add any other tomato including cherry tomatoes)
Heat oil in pot or pan on medium high. When oil is heated, add chopped garlic and sauté for 1 min.
Add tomatoes in next and stir them. Sauté the tomato mixture until hot then add basil and stir.
Pull pan off the burner to cool. Now in a blender, puree the mixture. (You can also use kitchen scissors to make the larger pieces smaller if you need to)
Leave in the pan until cooled completely. This will thicken and enhance the flavor of the tomato sauce into a rich taste. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it gets.
When pasta or toasted bread is ready, heat sauce and serve. Enjoy!
If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #WhyWasteFoodWednesday, please email mbereket@carly-bragg
If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate
What happens when a grocery store has 5 cases of produce, a day’s leftover bread from the bakery, and a pallet of coffee, all past their sell dates? Or when a restaurant finds they must offload their perishable goods prior to shutting down their business? Although food waste has finally leveled off, many businesses still find themselves with excess, edible food.
Food Finders continually answers the calls of restaurants, grocers and others who find themselves in need of a resource to donate food rather than carelessly and irresponsibly tossing it in the trash. At first glance, the solution may seem simple—send a driver over to pick up the food—problem solved!
But food rescue and recovery is a little more involved than that. A typical food bank may accept donations dropped at their door. Food Finders takes it a few steps further. All new donation requests are funneled through Chris Wong, Food Donor Acquisitions Manager, and are first qualified. How much food is it? What type? How is it packed, stored, contained? Will there be a loading area for pick up? Once some of the basics are determined, Chris can assign a staff driver to large donations, or volunteers are connected who can manage smaller donations.
That food does not find its way back to Food Finders’ warehouse. Instead, it’s delivered immediately within a close distance. The community benefits from its local donors, and the donor feels good about helping the local community. They can also receive a tax write-off.
The request gets relayed from Acquisitions to the Agency Coordination staff who are responsible for matching the donation to a partner recipient agency. No refrigeration on-site? Then you must have a program that distributes immediately or same-day. Each agency is vetted to determine if they can accept the food based on their location, volume of need and type of food requested, and program schedule.
From there, volunteers or staff drivers are set to pick up. Some donations occur weekly or daily. Others are occasional. The Food Finders app is downloadable, and volunteers are encouraged to use this app to remotely access available food donations. The app will indicate approximately how much food is available, the location of the donor, who to contact, and where the food is assigned for distribution. Maps with directions are provided along with any special instructions.
This process happens hundreds of times weekly.
Sounds like a well-oiled machine? It is! And after 32 years of running its food rescue program, Food Finders is still finding ways to streamline the process. Plus, we are always adding to our network of donors and volunteer base. If you’d like to make a donation or want to share about or get involved in our program, see www.foodfinders.org. We’d love to have your join us in reducing hunger and food waste!
If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate