Zero (Food) Waste Recipe

Hey waste warriors,

 In honor of Food Waste Prevention Week, I’m sharing one of my favorite original, waste-free meals! With a little chopping here and a little frying there, the meal takes no more than 30 minutes to prepare and complete --- and if you’re a single lady like me, the meal can last you for up to 2 or 3 suppers (or heats up nicely for lunch at work). Let’s get started!

Tonight on the menu is pan-fried quinoa with veggies and bok choy.

A few years ago, I first made this meal out of sheer curiosity and random ingredients sitting in my pantry – as most great meals are created. I was walking through the produce section of Trader Joe’s when I saw a package of baby bok choy, and realized that I had never eaten bok choy before. So I decided to experiment, knowing I had much at home to make some type of stir-fry-ish dish. I always keep garlic and ginger in the house, and have been chipping away at a Costco-size package of quinoa for years (for the means of this recipe, you’ll want to buy the quinoa in bulk).. so then I made use of some onion, cilantro, mushrooms, and spices and voila! Keep reading for the recipe and instructions.



  • ½ cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 1/3 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tbs chopped ginger
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 baby bok choy


  • 1 ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • ½ tsp powdered garlic
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 tbs tamari or soy sauce


  • 2 tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 chopped green onion


1. Cook quinoa in small pot on medium heat with a 1 to 3 water ratio (1 part quinoa to 3 parts water). Bring to a boil, and cook until all the water is absorbed by the grain.

2. As the quinoa is cooking, chop up all your veggies (onion, garlic, ginger, celery, mushrooms, green onion). Heat coconut oil in a large pan, and heat garlic first for a minute or two. Then throw in the rest of your chopped veggies (except for the green onion) and heat for 3 to 5 minutes before adding the spices. Sprinkle all the spices and mix in with the veggies, heat until tender (another 5 or so minutes).

3. Around this time, the quinoa should be plenty saturated and can be added to the pan with the veggies. Once the quinoa is added, pour the tamari or soy sauce into the mix. Stir it all together and heat another 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Chop your baby bok choy in half and place on top of everything in the pan. Place a pan lid on top and steam until the bok choy is tender (3 to 5 minutes).

5. Serve up however much you’re hungry for and garnish with green onion, cilantro, and Sriracha. Enjoy!







Admittedly, there is a smidge of food scraps leftover from this meal in the forms of peels from the garlic, onion, and ginger, as well as the green onion root, and the celery leaves/ends. This can all be composted or placed inside a baggie to be put and collected in the freezer for future veggie stock!

This meal produces zero landfill waste, though I suppose a bottle or two of recycling waste once the soy sauce or sriracha runs out, as well as about a cup’s worth of food scraps. Not perfect, but pretty darn delicious. I kept this recipe vegan, but in order to throw a little more protein in the mix I often fry an egg and throw that on top as well. Bon appetit!

Madisen Gittlin