10 Creative Ways to Use Food Scraps, from Pickled Broccoli Stems to Candied Lemon Peels

"Don't toss food scraps in the trash. Instead, get creative in the kitchen with these ideas that turn food waste into delicious recipes."

After prepping, peeling, and chopping our beloved seasonal produce, we’re often left with an abundance of food scraps—much of which gets tossed in the trash. Over 70 billion pounds of food waste goes to landfills every year.

The next time you’re left with a pile of food scraps, don’t toss ’em. Instead, put them to use. Making it a habit to get scrappy and creatively reuse food is on the rise, both in the food industry and in our own kitchens. Plus, it’s one of the easiest ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

If you’re looking for ways to get creative with your food scraps, we have plenty of ideas to get you started. Here are some of the easiest—and most delicious—ways to keep waste out of the trash.

10 Delicious Ways to Use Food Scraps

1. Bottom-of-the-Jar Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

food scraps recipe
Photo: Good Cheap Eats

This first recipe can transform every last bit of jam into the perfect raspberry vinaigrette dressing. To make this dressing, you only need five ingredients: white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and of course, the last of your jam.

This simple mix gives your salad a sweet yet tangy taste, and you can use the same formula with blueberry jam, strawberry jam, and more. (Want some other almost-empty jar recipes? We’ve got you covered!)

2. PB Jar Overnight Oats

Photo: Teaspoon of Spice

Before recycling your almost-empty nut butter jars, use the remnants to flavor your overnight oats. While this recipe calls for peanut butter, you can also use almond butter, cashew butter, or any other flavor of your choosing.

All you need to do is combine the leftover peanut butter from the jar to your overnight oats and fruits, pop it in the fridge overnight, and voilà—you’ll wake up to a creamy, hearty breakfast.

3. Fried Rice Balls from Leftovers

Photo: Revolution Bloom

If you never know what to do with leftover takeout rice, try this easy recipe. While this recipe calls for sticky rice, you can also use takeout white rice or leftover rice you haven’t eaten or thrown away. This recipe gives you the freedom to experiment, and it’s the perfect appetizer before dinner.

4. Used Tea Bag Rice

food scraps recipe
Photo: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

Before throwing out your used tea bag, consider saving it to add some flavor to a rice dish. Simply add your tea bag to boiling water to flavor it, then remove and pour in your rice and ingredients. Cooking with tea-flavored boiled water gives food a subtle taste you’ll fall in love with.

5. Pickled Broccoli Stems

Photo: New York Times

Many of us chop the stems off of broccoli, but this recipe finds a way to upcycle those wasted parts. Instead of throwing the stems away, flavor them with salt, garlic, olive oil, and vinegar. This recipe will remind you of crunchy pickles, and it’s great as an appetizer or a lunch snack.

6. Potato Skins Made Into Chips

Photo: Framed Cooks

You’ll never throw away leftover potato scraps after making this delicious recipe. Potato skins are thin and delicate—perfect for making your own chips.

These homemade chips actually contain fiber and nutrients because they’re made of potato skins, and they’re a delicious, crispy snack for the whole family.

7. Apple Core Apple Juice

When life gives you apple cores, make apple juice! This recipe uses apple cores and peels that normally get thrown away to make a refreshing juice.

While it’s still great to compost apple cores, this recipe is fun and easy to make. The more apple cores you have, the more juice you get.

8. Spicy Sautéed Kale Stems 

Photo: Serving Tonight

Not sure what to do with leftover kale stems? This spicy recipe makes the most out of your nutritious scraps.

Simply slice the leftover kale stems, season, and cook until tender. Best served on top of toast, you can’t go wrong with this clean and resourceful recipe.

9. Almond Meal from Almond Pulp

food scraps
Photo: Minimalist Baker

Making almond milk at home has become extremely popular. However, the process produces leftover almond pulp. Luckily, there are ways you can reuse the pulp for baking and much more. Almond meal is similar to cornmeal, and it can be stored and saved for up to one month.

10. Candied Lemon Peels

Photo: Tori Avey

This recipe is perfect for when you’re craving sour candy. Instead of letting your lemon peels go to waste, boil them and create a fun, untraditional snack with some sugar.

You can also save them in the refrigerator for later. You’ll forget you’re snacking on leftover lemon peels and not sour candies!

Hey there! Want to help us change the world every day through easy, achievable, eco-friendly tips and tricks? Sign up for the Brightly Spot and join our movement of over a million changemakers.

Don't toss food scraps in the trash. Instead, get creative in the kitchen with these ideas that turn food waste into delicious recipes.

This post may contain affiliate links. Brightly will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links.





at Brightly, we believe in the power of every day actions and conscious consumerism to change the world.

Everyone is welcome. Join our movement. The world is waiting.

good news. delivered.


Conscious consumerism makes a difference.

Join 50,000 subscribers creating change!