What to do with vegetable scraps if you don’t compost…

What should you do with your vegetable scraps if you don’t compost?  Eat them!  Seriously!!  Instead of placing them in a compost pile you can turn them into a rich vegetable broth. 

Often there are carrot tops, onion peels, celery bottoms, tough broccoli stems or asparagus bottoms that are not fit for putting into your actual meal.  The list is practically endless.  Place any portions, that are not rotted or too dirty to clean, in an airtight freezer bag and save the scraps until the bag is full.  It may take a week or a month to fill but when it is, just place all the frozen bits into a soup pot, cover with water, and let simmer until all the veggies are limp and colorless.  At that point you’ve extracted all the flavors out of the vegetables and into the water.  Once it’s cooled it can be strained, the solid parts can then be placed into the compost pile, and the strained liquid portioned out into freezer containers.  Common portions are two or four cups but it can be any amount you please. Label and date the containers then keep them in the freezer for up to 6 months.  You’ll never want to buy store bought broth anymore! 

Feel free to add whatever herbs and spices you love.  I personally don’t add salt or any herbs or spices because I  one day I might make a hearty Cajun chili with it and the next a light miso soup. This is a great way to use up the scraps and get a little extra nutrition into whatever you make!

Large Pot of Vegetable Broth
Rich vegetable broth made from frozen cooking scraps.

Black Bean Jalapeño Chili – Plant Based

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Black Bean Jalapeño Chili - Plant Based

Fresh cilantro and lime juice give this black bean chili recipe a clean and zesty snap! Serve with fresh chopped onions, bell/hot peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, avocados, and lime wedges for squeezing. Try using this chili as a topper on cornbread for a heartier meal.

  1. 2 15oz cans of black beans

  2. 2 tablespoon olive oil

  3. ½ cup chopped onions

  4. ½ cup chopped bell peppers

  5. ½ cup chopped greens (spinach, kale, etc.)

  6. 1 tablespoon minced garlic

  7. 1 tablespoon seeded and chopped jalapeño peppers (or to taste)

  8. 2-4 cups vegetable stock

  9. 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes

  10. 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  11. 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

  12. 1 teaspoon chili powder

  13. 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  14. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

  15. ½ teaspoon salt

  16. 3 turns freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Notes

Drain and rinse the beans. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly browned. Add bell peppers and greens, cook 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeños, and beans and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock, lime juice, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, cumin and cilantro. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the beans and vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toppings such as fresh chopped cilantro, bell or hot peppers, tomatoes, onions, avocado, and lime wedges for squeezing.

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