Zero-Waste Menu No 2

Happy plastic-free July!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that transitioning to my zero-waste shopping and cooking routine took many months of reprogramming and I continue to tweak and hone the drill as new challenges come up. I had always cooked but at some point, started shopping quite a bit at Trader Joe’s, basically a giant convenience store. (I’m sorry. I know many of you love TJ’s and in fact, I used to say I would not move back to Canada until TJ’s opened stores there.)

How convenient is TJ’s? Let’s say you don’t know how to make rice or you simply feel you don’t have time. Buy a box of frozen rice, packaged in individual serving-size plastic packets, which you simply heat up. Feel like eating a salad to go? Grab a plastic clam shell filled with salad, a plastic packet of croutons, a plastic packet of shredded parmesan, a small plastic tub of dressing and a plastic fork. No time to slice an apple? TJ’s has you covered with plastic bags of apple slices.

I think I started shopping regularly at TJ’s because the prepared food was convenient (I had broken my leg…more like shattered it to bits…actually the car that hit me while I was riding my bike shattered it to bits), my (then younger) kids liked the stuff and I had run out of dinner ideas. When we went plastic-free, we had to start from scratch (and cook from scratch) and rethink much of what we had been eating. Some simple menus would have helped us adjust. So with that, I present my simple zero-waste menu no 2. You can find menu no 1 here.

The Menu


Sourdough pancakes topped with fresh seasonal fruit, probiotic yogurt, nuts and seeds


Tuscan kale salad


Seasonal fruit


Lentil dal

Cauliflower rice

The Recipes

Sourdough pancakes


I regularly eat seasonal chopped fruit in the morning, topped with probiotic plain yogurt, coconut and hemp, chia and sunflower seeds. Often I will eat this fruit medley with a sourdough pancake, which I make using sourdough discard, following this easy and delicious recipe from Aggie’s Farm.

Tuscan Kale Salad


Even if you don’t like kale, you will like this. I wish I could take credit for having made the salad pictured but I merely devoured this at one of my favorite restaurants, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, which sources ingredients from local farms. I did make a similar salad at home the next day though and it was pretty good! I tossed finely cut kale, cooked beets and sesame seeds with dressing made of olive oil, lemon and a touch of honey. The salad pictured also had a sprinkling of granola, which I would have added, had I had any. To make this a satisfying meal, toss in some protein (leftover chicken, beans or hardboiled eggs).

Zero-waste snack!

loose blueberries 10.27.39

This time of year, I can buy loose blueberries at the farmer’s market! At one of the booths, the vendor will weigh my container first and zero it out so I pay for only the weight of the berries. At other booths, I fill up a thin cloth produce bag. I prefer the container so I don’t bring home blueberry jam.

Lentil dal
Lentil dal pictured with regular rice

I love Indian food and could eat it every day. I can’t think of anything else easier to make zero-waste (if you have access to good bulk bins). You can find my dal recipe here. As Annie from Kitchen-Counter Culture suggested to me recently, add something fermented to the dal near the end of cooking, such as brine or preserved lemon, or serve a ferment on the side. I eat at least one fermented food every day and I basically don’t get sick. I seem to have a super gut.

My daughter makes cauliflower rice that tastes incredible. You’ll find her recipe on her blog. You could also serve this dal with brown rice. Please tell me you won’t buy it frozen 😉

17 Replies to “Zero-Waste Menu No 2”

  1. Reblogged this on Jeepers and commented:
    I used to love Trader Joe’s, but have (mostly) cut it out because of the copious packaging. Still love their delicious cheese, though …

    1. Thanks for the reblog 🙂

  2. Yum! And have you tried kim chi beet greens? Liss, the mom in our new farm family makes them, and they are fabulous. The put them in with white beans and spinach last night and oh my.

    1. And of course, thanks for spreading my pancake recipe. Staple a my house.

      1. You’re welcome Aggie. I make your recipe at least a couple of times a week. It has really helped prevent the discard from taking over my kitchen 🙂

      2. Pizza dough is my latest.

      3. Oooh, is the pizza dough recipe on your blog?

      4. Every pizza dough recipe I have tried has been only okay. I think the secret is to use freshly fed starter. I haven’t tried it. I’m in denial that I can’t make discard work for pizza dough.

      5. ROFL. Yeah I made good crust from fresh starter too. If I find the secret, you’ll be the first to know.

    2. Kimchi beet greens sound delicious! Did Liss add them to standard kimchi or make it just with those? I must try that! Thanks for the idea.

      1. She just used beet greens. Added them to a white bean dish along with spinach – yummy… I thought you’d enjoy. Hugs to you!

      2. Thanks for the idea Aggie. I have some beet greens in my refrigerator right now! I’ll give this a try.

  3. We got a Trader Joe’s here a few years ago. I’ve never set foot in one, so all the recommendations I got from people who told me how much I’d love the premade stuff most definitely did NOT sell it to me. I’ve still not been there, despite the fact it’s a stone’s throw from the house.

    1. Well I used to like it but I only buy maple syrup in a glass bottle there now. It really did start out as a chain of convenience stores and is now like a convenience store for food. Not really a place to shop if you cook a lot.

  4. I love Indian food, too!!! I add creme fraiche (preferably homemade but whatever I can get) to all my spicier food these days. You go, gals!!! PS, did you see that TED talk with the young woman who is the new face of No-Waste? A friend sent me the link a while back. I’ll see if I can find it for you if you haven’t seen it. Very inspiring and of course I thought of you, too! 🙂

    1. Mmmm, creme fraiche, what a good idea. I usually eat yogurt but I’ll try that. You sent me the link but I haven’t watched it yet. She is all over the zero-waste thing. Very big!!! Thanks for thinking of me 🙂

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