If you hate throwing away food that's past its prime, these are the recipes for you! Based on a survey that was conducted to find the 4 most commonly wasted foods, these recipes help you use up old ingredients, reducing waste, and producing a pretty amazing dinner in the process! Peanut butter and banana muffins, creamy pesto and watercress soup, salted caramel malted milkshake, and a veggie casserole with garlic bread crust. They're all easy, tasty, and vegetarian!

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Epic post alert! I have four new recipes for you today, each designed to help you reduce food waste. There’s something for everyone: quick, and not so quick. Healthy, and not so healthy. Full of veggies, and full of… caramel.

Oh yes.

The reason for this mammoth post is that I recently teamed up with Russell Hobbs to look into what ingredients people are most likely to throw away. None of us love wasting food, but I’m sure we’ve all done it, allowing those bags of salad to go soggy at the back of the fridge, or the bread to go stale in the bread bin.

Luckily, I’m here to help! Russell Hobbs conducted a survey to find the four most commonly wasted ingredients in various categories, and I came up with a recipe to help you use up each one. No more wasted food!

First up, the most commonly wasted vegetable, bagged salad. Here’s the recipe to help:

Creamy pesto and watercress soup

Creamy pesto and watercress soup - this vegetarian soup is easy to make, and tastes amazing! It's super creamy, and is a great way to use up salad leaves that are a bit past their prime, and reduce food waste.

I totally relate to this one. I always start the week with the best of intentions and buy a few bags of salad, but often after a few days they’re left lingering in the fridge – and once they start to wilt, they’re even less appetising.

Luckily, making soup is a brilliant way to use up slightly old salad leaves. Once it’s all blitzed up, you’ll never be able to tell that it’s a bit past its prime. You can use up all sorts of salad greens in this way – I used a mixture of watercress, rocket and spinach.

This creamy soup is really quick to make. Start by frying off a bit of onion and garlic (the base of any good soup, in my opinion), then throw everything in a blender. I used the Russell Hobbs Aura Jug Blender, which has a super sturdy glass jug, and whizzed everything up beautifully. Some avocado and a few flaked almonds add to the creaminess, and a dollop of pesto gives heaps of flavour.

It’s easy, and it’s delicious! Just like a recipe should be.

Creamy pesto and watercress soup - this vegetarian soup is easy to make, and tastes amazing! It's super creamy, and is a great way to use up salad leaves that are a bit past their prime, and reduce food waste.

Creamy pesto and watercress soup

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 avocado
  • 250 g mixed green leaves (~ 4 large handfuls) - I used spinach, watercress and rocket
  • 40 g flaked almonds (~ 1/3 cup) - plus a few more to serve
  • 1 tbsp basil pesto
  • 500 ml hot vegetable stock (~ 2 cups)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Greek yogurt, to serve (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, until soft and fragrant.
  • Transfer the cooked vegetables to a high-powered blender, along with all of the remaining ingredients, except for the Greek yogurt (if all of the salad leaves don’t fit, add a handful at a time). Blitz well until completely smooth. Season to taste, then serve warm, topped with the Greek yogurt and a few more flaked almonds.
Course: Soup
Author: Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

 

Watercress soup NI

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above does not include Greek yogurt garnish.

Veggie casserole with garlic bread crust

Veggie casserole with garlic bread crust - a brilliant way to use up slightly stale bread and reduce food waste! This rich, tomatoey casserole is packed with veggies and beans, and is topped with a crispy, garlicky bread topping.

According to Russell Hobbs’ survey, the most commonly wasted baked good (does it work in the singular…?) was a good old loaf of bread. I’m not surprised by this result either – since there’s only two of us at home, it takes us ages to get through a whole loaf. I usually freeze my bread for this very reason, but if you do end up with a slightly stale loaf that you want to get rid of, here’s the perfect solution: veggie casserole with a garlic bread crust.

Of course, you could use your stale bread to top any kind of casserole. I went for a tomatoey casserole full of veggies, beans and black olives – kind of an Italian-style vibe. The rich veggies go perfectly with the crunchy, garlicky topping. Just tear the bread into chunks, dollop it with garlic butter (drooool), and bake until it’s golden brown and crispy.

I used the Russell Hobbs Aura Chop & Blend to blend up fresh tomatoes for the tomato sauce, along with some fresh basil, garlic and onion. Just blend together the raw ingredients, then simmer the sauce for a while until it’s dark and rich. It’s my new favourite way to make a fresh tomato sauce, and it’s a method that I’m sure you’ll be seeing here again soon!

Veggie casserole with garlic bread crust - a brilliant way to use up slightly stale bread and reduce food waste! This rich, tomatoey casserole is packed with veggies and beans, and is topped with a crispy, garlicky bread topping.

Veggie casserole with garlic bread crust

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the tomato sauce:

  • 500 g tomatoes (~ 8 medium tomatoes)
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the casserole:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium courgette (zucchini), chopped
  • 1 medium aubergine (eggplant), chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • ~ 6 medium mushrooms, chopped
  • 400 g tin cannellini beans, drained (240g, or ~1 1/4 cups, when drained)
  • 3 tbsp sliced black olives
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 4 inch wedge of a loaf of bread, torn into 2 inch chunks

For the herbed garlic butter:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Add the ingredients for the tomato sauce to a food processor, and process until fairly smooth. Transfer the mixture to a frying pan, and bring to a simmer. Cook for at least 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and darkened slightly in colour. Season to taste.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the diced vegetables. Cook for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat, until fairly soft. Add the drained cannellini beans and sliced olives, along with the tomato sauce. Mix to combine, and season to taste.
  • Place the torn chunks of bread in a food processor, and process a few times so that some of the bread forms crumbs, with other pieces remaining chunky.
  • To make the herbed garlic butter, put the butter, minced garlic and chopped basil in a small bowl, and mix well (melt it in the microwave if you find it easier).
  • Heat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F). Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large baking dish, and top with the bread. Dollop the garlic butter on top, and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes, until the garlic bread crust is crispy and golden brown.
Course: Main meal
Author: Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

 

Veggie casserole NI

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.

Okay, that’s the relatively healthy stuff out of the way. Next up: dessert!

Peanut butter and banana muffins

Peanut butter and banana muffins - rather than throwing away brown bananas, put them to good use in these amazing muffins! Peanut butter, banana and chocolate is an amazing combination, and these muffins show off the flavours beautifully.

Since I’m a bit more confident at baking than I used to be, I thought I’d tackle muffins as a way to use up the most commonly wasted fruit: bananas! I know we’ve all had a fruit bowl full of brown bananas before – just make sure you use them up rather than throwing them away.

These peanut butter and banana muffins are just the thing. They’re easy to make (and I say that as a still-fairly-nervous baker), and the flavour is just amazing. Peanut butter, bananas, chocolate chips… it’s a classic flavour combination for good reason! These will definitely be made again, very soon.

I’ve never had a stand mixer before, but I used the Russell Hobbs Aura Hand & Stand Mixer for these muffins, and wow. I will never mix by hand again. What a mug I used to be! Throwing everything in a mixer is so, so much easier – just stand back and let the machine do the work. Then all that’s left to do is to eat your freshly baked homemade banana muffins. Absolute heaven – and you can even feel smug that you saved a few bananas from the bin.

Peanut butter and banana muffins - rather than throwing away brown bananas, put them to good use in these amazing muffins! Peanut butter, banana and chocolate is an amazing combination, and these muffins show off the flavours beautifully.

Peanut butter and banana muffins

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 very ripe bananas, lightly mashed
  • 130 g light brown sugar (~ 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp Greek yogurt, heaped
  • 1 egg
  • 170 g smooth peanut butter (~ 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 235 g self-raising flour (~ 1 1/2 cups)
  • 50 g chocolate chunks or large chocolate chips (~ 1/3 cup)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F).
  • Add the mashed bananas to a stand mixer, and add the sugar, yogurt, egg and peanut butter. Mix until smooth. Add the cinnamon, baking powder, flour and chocolate chips, and use a plastic spoon or spatula to fold the mixture together until just combined.
  • Grease a 12-cup muffin tray, and distribute the mixture between the cups, filling each nearly to the top. Dot a few more chocolate chips on top of each, if you want the chocolate chips to be particularly visible in the finished muffins.
  • Bake the muffins for around 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180°C (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F). Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Course: Dessert
Author: Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

 

Banana muffins NI

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.

Salted caramel malted milkshake

Salted caramel malted milkshake - an indulgent treat for using up the last of your milk! Salted caramel sauce, crushed Maltesers (Whoppers), whipped cream... it has everything you'd ever want in a milkshake!

Last up is the most commonly wasted dairy product, milk! If you have a bit of milk left in the fridge that needs to be used up quickly, you have two options: drink a few dozen cups of tea… or make a milkshake. Despite being British, I know which I’d prefer, and it involves salted caramel, Maltesers, malt powder, and whipped cream. If that doesn’t float your boat, I’m not sure we can be friends any more.

If you’ve never tried adding malt powder to your milkshakes, you must try it – it adds such a lovely richness. Along with the Maltesers (which I believe are similar to Whoppers in the US?), and a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce, this malted milkshake really is a decadent treat. Not one for those of you who are still sticking with your New Years Resolutions!

I used the Russell Hobbs Aura 6 in 1 Hand Blender to whip up the milk until it was nice and frothy. It keeps the milkshake feeling light (despite all the caramel!). Drizzle the glass with caramel sauce, sprinkle in a touch of that all-important sea salt, and add the frothy milkshake and some whipped cream. Don’t forget to top it with some crushed Maltesers and another drizzle of salted caramel for the ultimate treat!

Salted caramel malted milkshake - an indulgent treat for using up the last of your milk! Salted caramel sauce, crushed Maltesers (Whoppers), whipped cream... it has everything you'd ever want in a milkshake!

Salted caramel malted milkshake

Prep Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 5 mins
Servings: 1 large shake

Ingredients

  • 30 g Maltesers / Whoppers (~ 15 balls) - plus more to serve
  • 400 ml milk (~ 1 2/3 cups)
  • 1/2 tbsp malt powder (e.g. Horlicks or Ovaltine)
  • 2 tbsp caramel sauce
  • Pinch of sea salt flakes
  • Whipped cream, to serve

Instructions

  • Add the Maltesers to a deep bowl or jug, along with the milk, malt powder, and 1tbsp of the caramel sauce. Use a hand blender to blitz the mixture thoroughly until no lumps remain.
  • Next, drizzle the remaining caramel sauce around the inside of a large glass, and sprinkle with a few pieces of sea salt. Pour in the milkshake mixture, and add some whipped cream. Serve with another drizzle of caramel sauce, another small pinch of sea salt, and some crushed Maltesers.
Course: Dessert
Author: Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

 

Malted milkshake NI

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.

And there you have it! You’ll never need to waste any of these ingredients again. If you have any other favourite recipes, or tips and tricks, for using up ingredients that are slightly past it, let me know – it’s always great to hear about new ways to cut down on food waste. You can also check out the Russell Hobbs Facebook page for more info about the campaign, and your chance to win some Russell Hobbs Aura appliances!