What Can I Make With Scraps?

Reducing Food Waste in the Home Kitchen
By Anna Hewitt, Master Food Preserver volunteer

What can I make with scraps, leftovers, stems, peels, odds, and ends?

There are nearly endless options for using up leftovers and odd bits. Be creative, try new things. Here are some of my favorite ways to use up food:


  • vegetables, cooked or raw
  • tomato sauce, paste, salsa
  • pasta
  • cooked beans and grains
  • cooked meat
  • stems of herbs such as parsley or cilantro
  • extra herbs fresh or dried
  • stale bread can be used to thicken soups (purèe it or make bread crumbs) or turned into croutons to top soup


  • vegetable scraps and peels (avoid brassicas like broccoli and cabbage. avoid beets unless you are making a beet soup with the stock)
  • bones
  • stems of herbs
  • extra herbs, fresh or dried


  • fruit that is too soft or mushy
  • fruit that is partially eaten
  • yogurt
  • applesauce
  • juice
  • milks
  • nuts/nut butters


  • herbs
  • greens like kale or spinach
  • stems from cilantro or parsley
  • carrot tops
  • seeds
  • garlic
  • citrus zest

Veggie Burgers

  • cooked vegetables
  • cooked grains and beans
  • small amounts of cheese
  • herbs
  • cilantro and parsley stems


  • cooked grains
  • fruit
  • buttermilk
  • yogurt
  • milk
  • citrus zest

Pizza or Calzones

Top pizzas or fill calzones with:

  • pesto
  • tomato sauce
  • cheese of all kinds
  • cooked or raw vegetables
  • cooked meats
  • garlic, onions

Savory Pie or Empanadas

Fill with:

  • mashed potatoes
  • cooked vegetables
  • leftover curry
  • leftover stew
  • cooked beans and grains
  • cheeses

Savory Pancakes

  • cooked grains
  • shredded broccoli stems
  • carrots
  • potatoes
  • parsnips
  • winter squash
  • zucchini
  • eggs
  • cheese


  • shredded broccoli stems
  • herbs
  • cilantro and parsley stems
  • cabbage
  • kale
  • fruit
  • nuts and seeds
  • cooked grains and beans

Bread crumbs/Croutons

Use stale or extra bread to make:

  • croutons
  • bread crumbs
  • panzanella
  • baked French toast
  • egg-in-the-hole
  • casseroles


  • use just a bit of extra dairy to bake a cake
  • sour cream
  • yogurt
  • buttermilk
  • citrus zest


  • extra vegetables that are still very fresh such as:
  • cabbage, broccoli stems, carrots, ginger.
  • Use leftover milk to make yogurt
  • Use extra cream to make crème fraîche/sour cream
  • fruit scraps: peels, cores, etc. can be fermented into vinegar


Use fruits and vegetables that are still very fresh

  • cucumbers
  • carrots
  • watermelon rinds
  • broccoli stems