Food Waste Challenge Day 1: Herbs!

Happy first day of Food Waste Challenge, everyone!! To give you a recap, we reached out to our online community and asked what you end up throwing out most often. You can check out all of the awesome feedback and waste-quenching ideas that were shared here. We then sifted through all of the responses and chose the food items that we heard most frequently–the ones so many of you are unhappy to say you throw away often. Then our staff got to work, coming up with recipes that use these foods as a key ingredient.

This week, when you walk around the floor of the Market, you’ll see the special “food waste challenge” items highlighted alongside recipe cards with tips from our staff. Please take one! And don’t hesitate to buy these foods, because we’re donating 10% of the proceeds from sales of the highlighted foods this week (up to $1,000) to Three Squares.

Each day this week I’ll choose one of the “food waste challenge” items and share our staff’s ideas for using them on our blog. So today for the big kickoff, we give you….


Here are the few of the comments we heard about the challenge of using up herbs before they go bad:

Whole bunches of herbs are a challenge. Except for basil, when making pesto or parsley, I end up drying the rest when I’d really rather have fresh herbs.”- Carrie

I certainly have troubles with herbs as well! They seem to go to waste as I can never finish using them all. “- Kelly

Herbs is a tough one & thx for the “any herb pesto” suggestion — great idea!…For carrot tops, herbs, veggie skins, and so forth, keep a plastic bag in the freezer for your “scraps” and make your own veggie stock. All great ways to get the most out of your veggies!“-P.K.

Slime usually affects cilantro that I do not use fast enough — the stems will slime over whether I keep it in water or in plastic.“-Sharyn


Quick chicks with herbs

Mira, Deli

“My recipe calls for rosemary, but I’d substitute just about any herb I’ve got around that needs usin’ [cilantro, sage, parsley etc]. I like it with lemon zest, or you can just give the chickpeas a squeeze of lemon juice when they’re done.”

1 can chickpeas

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp chopped garlic

1/3 of lemon zested

3/4 tsp kosher salt


Drain + rinse chickpeas, then pat dry.

Heat olive oil over med-high + cook chickpeas for 5 – 7 minutes, until they get a little darker, shrink a little + form a crust.

Toss in rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, salt + pepper. Heat till garlic turns translucent.


Catch-all Cilantro Sauce

Alli, Grocery

Combine the following in a blender or food processor + puree until smooth: 1 cup cilantro, 2 cloves garlic, 1 jalapeno, ½ cup walnuts, 1/3 cup lemon juice, ¼ tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper.

Add up to ¼ cup water to thin to desired consistency.

Serve on chicken, fish, Indian food, as a veggie dip, etc.


Everyday tips for herbs

  • Throw whatever herbs you have laying around into a bunch of eggs with cream or cheese of some sort (chevre goes especially well with lots of herbs) and you have the makings of an herb frittata. (Ben, produce)
  • To save herbs for later use, freeze them in ice cubes, or dry them by hanging them up against a sunny window sill or putting them on a sheet in a low-temp oven. (Ben, produce)
  • Throw herbs on the brink of going bad into a container in the freezer along with chicken bones, cheese rinds, and other stock-ready ingredients.



3 Responses to “Food Waste Challenge Day 1: Herbs!”

  1. Amanda says:

    I make regular sacrifices to the Berry Gods. They go in the fridge . . . until they mold.

    Also Lettuce God gets the wet and Broccoli God goes for the yellow.

    There must be medication for over buying. That’s really the key; how to plan better.

  2. The solution to vegetables and herbs looking, smelling and tasting
    fresh instead of like compost is to think ahead and buy in usable
    quantities, like folks of old who did not have refrigerators and
    plastic bags. However, herbs really are the hard one here as it
    is impossible to buy less than a bunch, and bunches are large.
    I grow herbs, but there is always that one dish calling out for
    something I don’t have. Please consider having a mixed herb bin,
    like mesclun, so herbs could be bought fresh, by the ounce.
    That would be wonderful!

    • Laura says:

      Love the bulk buying idea. Sometimes I’ve shared my big bunch with a friend if we’re at the farmers market together. Otherwise it’s stock or pesto, or compost. I also add mild herbs like cilantro, parsley, and basil to salads if I have a surplus.