Many of you watched me clean out my refrigerator on instagram, and I can’t stop thinking about how much food I threw away. It was embarrassing! Among the wreckage were tons of tiny plastic bags of old cilantro, a lone slice of cheese that had dried up, an entire container of soup, expired condiments, and jars of marinara I was not brave enough to recycle because I couldn’t bring myself to open the jar. It was eye opening, and it got me thinking about how I can shop smart and use everything in my refrigerator. One of those ways is this gorgeous white bean and farro salad which can be made a number of ways to accomodate any produce you may have left over. Hello half bunches of parsley or cilantro. This week, I’m not just sharing this recipe, I’m sharing tips on how to manage a low waste kitchen. I’m not perfect, and I’m not very good at this, but let’s just try together to help out the planet. Here are my tips.
Tips on Low Waste Living
- When meal planning, make sure if you use half of something, another recipe will use the other half of this item. So if your enchiladas only call for half a bunch of cilantro, also make tacos that week so you can use up the rest.
- Have a “salad day” where you do a quick fridge clean out of what produce is on the fringe and use it up. This white bean and farro salad is perfect for that! Use it as a jumping point and add what you can. Herbs are especially good in this.
- Go to the farmers market and only buy what you need. This means you’re bringing your reusable bags! And you can buy zucchini in onesies twosies if you need to. I love the deals at Aldi, but it bothers me that you have to buy an entire bag of lemons or four zucchini.
- Keep a well stocked pantry of non perishable items that can easily turn produce into dinner. Think canned beans, tortillas, vegetable stock, rice, dry beans. Anything you can use to make a lovely soup, tacos, or a burrito bowl will help you to use everything up.
- Carla Lalli Music says to label everything in her new book Where Cooking Begins. Things are more likely to get eaten if you can clearly see what you have in the fridge.
- I know you meal planners will hate this, but go to the grocery more frequently. If you buy everything for a full week on Sunday, your sad little salad will not last you until Friday. I go to the store every couple days for a handful of things. Plus you are more likely to cook and eat what you buy if you’re still craving it. That delicious soup you had planned on Sunday sounds gross by the time Tuesday rolls around.
- Use your reusable bags to buy bulk items rather than bagged items at the grocery. I follow Renate on Instagram, and she takes a picture of the PLU code for each item she’s buying for when she checks out. It’s brilliant! If you’re going low waste, consider buying the lettuce from the farmers market or buying a head of lettuce rather than the plastic boxed or bagged stuff.
- Jars are great for bulk storage! I use them in my pantry and use masking tape to label it all.
What are some ways you can go low waste or no waste? Tell me about it in the comments! I’d love to hear your ideas.
Here’s how you can make this simple White Bean and Farro Salad. I used some old radishes, wilting parsley, and cherry tomatoes, but you can use maybe any herbs you have plus any produce cut into bite size bits! Experiment and be flexible. I used a lemon, but maybe you have limes. That’s ok! Just dig in and start making this with what you have.
Start by draining and rinsing your white beans. Then bring a pot of water to boil. Follow package directions for the farro and boil for about 30 minutes. If you used instant it will be shorter. Then drain it and pour it into a large bowl with the white beans. If you don’t have farro, any grain or quinoa will do!
Add your sliced produce to the bowl. Then mix in your chopped herbs. Whisk together your vinaigrette and pour over the salad. That’s it! I topped mine with parmesan, but if you have some feta hanging out, use that! See the full recipe below.
- 2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup dry farro
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ small red onion or one whole shallot, finely diced
- ½ cup thinly sliced radishes (about 6 radishes)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ½ tsp dijon mustard
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 lemon
- grated parmesan for serving (optional)
- Bring three cups of water to a boil. Add one cup of farro. Bring down to a simmer and cover, simmering for 30 minutes. (If you are using instant farro, simply boil with the lid off for 10 minutes.) Drain into a colander and let it cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, add your drained rinsed cannellini beans. Add the farro, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped oregano, chopped parsley, diced onion, and sliced radishes, and stir. Mix together the oil, vinegar and dijon in a small bowl. Pour over the bean mixture and mix. Squeeze the lemon over the bean mixture and add several pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss again to coat. Taste for salt.