Food Waste Menu

Recipes that leave no leaf, stem or peel behind

Most cooks loathe waste.

Waste not only unnecessarily overloads garbage bins, it also commits a more egregious faux pas: the forfeiture of flavor.

So we've assembled a menu created in our Test Kitchen that features stems, leaves, pods and peels, enlisting their service in recipes for a full meal, from cocktail to cookie (click here to see the menu).

Start the evening with an old-fashioned, sweetened with vanilla-bean sugar that uses leftover bean pods, and a snack of crostini topped with mushroom-stem duxelles. Save the baguette ends to make fresh bread crumbs for our side dish–a medley of thinly sliced chard and cauliflower ribs braised in white wine and butter.

The main course of pasta with burrata, sausage, mushrooms and fennel is a pantry-raider's dream, which enlists the half-full bags of fusilli and penne that linger in the cabinet's upper reaches. Use the mushroom caps from the crostini and leftover bacon fat from the chard and cauliflower side to fortify this hearty dish.

Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth and fold the leftover orange peels from your old- fashioned into a simple shortbread. Surprise, surprise: Our final recipe calls for whole vanilla beans–creating a scrappy excuse to put those excess pods to use and stir up another drink.

No more of this "waste not, want not" business. From now on we're abiding by a new adage: "Waste not, want it all."