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Recipe Friday: Low-Waste Menus

As an operator, it's always a priority to produce the best-tasting food with high-profit margins. Wasted food means money lost. By getting the most out of your ingredients, you can minimize waste, benefiting the planet and your bottom line.

By using as much of an ingredient as possible, it adds uniqueness to a dish, whether it's garnishing with candied squash seeds or a carrot top pesto. Ordering vegetables whole rather than purchasing expensive "cuts" allows you to do more with your ingredients for a fraction of the cost, an all-around win.

There’s a lot to learn from various cuisines around the world where the whole animal or the whole vegetable is used in a dish. It forces the chef to get creative and not just focus on the "premium" part of the ingredient. And, as every chef knows, it's often the lesser used parts that have the most flavor and potential.

Enter bowls, a perfect dish that allows you to use many seasonal ingredients in a multitude of ways, according to Unilever Food Solutions' Future Menus Report. Focusing on the versatility of bowls, this incredibly popular menu item is a great dish format to use a multitude of ingredients in varying flavors and textures. Think of using parts of veggies that might otherwise hit the waste bin, like beet greens densely packed with nutrients or delicately flavored celery leaves. Trimmings of ahi tuna can be minced into the ever-popular spicy tuna for the perfect premium protein add-on to bowls. When you minimize waste, you maximize flavor and creativity. Adding seasonality to the bowls on your menu keeps them fresh and exciting, and keeps repeat diners coming back to see what's new. 

Seasonality is key when it comes to crafting the perfect bowl, and minor ingredient swaps can easily align with other items on your menu, an even better way to get the most out of every ingredient.

Check out these recipes from the Future Menus Report. 

Farro and Roasted Vegetable Bowl

Recipe courtesy Cori Boudreaux

Yield: 10

Ingredients for Creamy Horseradish Dijon Sauce

2 cups Hellmann's® Real Mayonnaise
½ cup creamy horseradish, prepared
¾ cup Maille® Dijon Originale Mustard


  1. Combine ingredients and mix. 

Ingredients for Salad

5 cups farro, cooked
1½ lbs Brussels sprouts, halved, roasted
1½ lbs butternut squash, small diced, roasted
1½ lbs parsnip, spears, roasted
5 cups baby spinach
Salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Toasted coriander
2 lbs cauliflower steaks, grilled
1½ cups almonds, toasted
Creamy Horseradish Dijon Sauce, prepared (recipe above)


  1. In a sauté pan, warm the farro, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, parsnips, and spinach until warmed through and spinach is beginning to wilt.
  2. Add salt, pepper, toasted coriander, and lemon juice to taste.
  3. Plate the farro mixture, top with cauliflower, drizzle the Creamy Horseradish Dijon Sauce, garnish with almonds and dill freshly chopped.

Chef tip: To add a contrasting pop of sweetness and make this bowl seasonal, consider including diced apple, dried cranberries, or chopped dates.

Golden Beet Quinoa Bowl

Recipe courtesy Dana Cohen

Yield: 10

Ingredients for Pickled Cucumbers

1 T salt
½ cup sugar
1 T black peppercorns
½ tsp red pepper, crushed
2 ea. garlic cloves
1 ea. bay leaf
½ lb cucumber slices
24 oz vinegar, distilled white
8 oz water


  1. Combine the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, red pepper, garlic and bay leaves, and bring to a simmer on medium heat.
  2. Once at a simmer, add the sliced cucumber and pull off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Yield: 4½ cups

Ingredients for Salad

10 cups quinoa, cooked
5 cups beets, golden, raw, grated
½ cup mint, rough chopped
2½ cups micro greens
10 oz feta cheese crumbles
2 cups pickled cucumber, prepared
2½ cups pistachios, toasted
Lemon, rind on, shaved on a mandolin, quartered
15 oz Hellmann's® Classics Balsamic Vinaigrette (4 x 1 gal)


  1. Toss together the Hellmann's Classics Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing, quinoa, beets and mint, and top with remaining ingredients.

Middle Eastern Roasted Vegetables

Recipe courtesy Kyle Jakobi

Yield: 10

Ingredients for Creamy Harissa Dressing

1 cup Hellmann’s® Real Mayonnaise
¼ cup tahini
1 T maple syrup
¼ cup lemon juice
1 ea. large clove garlic, minced
1 T harissa paste
2 to 3 T water, as desired for consistency
1 tsp fine sea salt


  1. Combine ingredients and whisk to combine.

Ingredients for Seasoned Carrots

2 T dukkah seasoning
¼ cup olive oil
1½ lb tri-colored carrots, peeled, small dice


  1. Combine ingredients and toss until carrots are well coated. Roast in oven at 400°F until tender

Ingredients for Salad

1 ea. large clove garlic, minced
2½ lbs kohlrabi, small dice, roasted
1½ lbs seasoned carrots, prepared (recipe above)
2 T garlic, minced
½ cup parsley, minced 1
½ cup chickpeas, fried
15 oz creamy harissa dressing, prepared (recipe above)
3 T dukkah seasoning


  1. Combine all ingredients except fried chickpeas and gently mix.
  2. Garnish with fried chickpeas.
Chef tip: This is a great recipe to use up any excess vegetable trimmings in the kitchen, since roasting adds complexity in flavor and texture and holds up well with the creamy dressing. 


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