There’s no denying our planet is going through some climate changes, and while it’s going to take serious work from the world’s major corporations to make a big impact, we can all adopt more sustainable practices at home—including the kitchen!
Today, we’re sharing a series of recipes from some incredibly eco-conscious chefs that definitely taste good, but they also do some good for the environment.
From decadent mac and cheese to hearty stew, delicious gnocchi, bright lemon pasta and more, these low-impact meals will make for a happier Earth and a healthier tummy.
You’ve heard of mac and cheese, but what about scrap and cheese? This recipe from Chef Justin Lee of Fat Choy in New York City can be made with any cheese you like, including vegan varieties. The big star is leftover vegetable peels and scraps cooked down to make a puree that becomes the base for melting whatever cheese you choose.
Chef Lee also shared a few tips and techniques for creating less food waste at home.
“Freeze scraps and make stock when you've accumulated enough,” he says. “Before herbs go bad, put them in vinegar and use them for salad dressings. Drop citrus peels into salt that can be used to season pretty much anything. Be mindful of what you're throwing out. It's a change of perspective and habits that will help combat food waste.”
Now, on to the yums!
Tip: If you omit cheese and cool the vegetable puree, it's a nice base you can add pesto to for a creamy sandwich spread or dip.
Another tasty treat from Fat Choy’s Che Lee, this vegan fried rice recipe uses ginger peels and scallion ends to breathe new life (and spice) into the traditional dish.
Ginger Scallion Paste
Tip: Note that this recipe is based on general proportions, but fried rice is a wonderful dumping ground to utilize any and all kitchen scraps.
Looking for something hearty? This stew comes from Chef Brianna Cooper, an ambassador for Chefs for Impact, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring a more mindful relationship with food.
“My definition of sustainable food is a nice plateful meal where you have endless crops that differ according to the season,” Cooper says. “Sustainability means enough food that you can continue to provide as much as the demand in the long term. It means more sustainable seafood and meat and knowing where it all comes from.”
Another from Chefs for Impact, this one from the mind of Chef Claire Vallee. It’s a bit more involved, but the result is fresh, decadent and delightful.
"A responsible gastronomy is defined by the choice of products that we decide to put on our plates,” Vallee says. “It means working with local producers in order to avoid carbon impact and to bring the terroir to life while protecting animals.”
Sweet potato gnocchi
Cold asparagus chowder
Pomegranate and Timut pepper vinaigrette
One final recipe from our friends at Chefs for Impact. Chief Chef Educator Kristina Ramos brings a bright and sustainable vegan pasta the whole family can enjoy.
“The role of a chef is to educate, both inside and outside of the kitchen,” Ramos says. “It's our duty to take ingredients and create something not only delicious, but something that nourishes ourselves and the planet.”
Photography by: Conscious Design / Unsplash; Courtesy of Fat Choy; Courtesy of Chefs for Impact