Simple Switches: Let Your Oven Help Combat Food Waste

Bake Veggies and Fruits to Fight Food Waste | She Picks Up PenniesIt started with a spice cabinet. In my desperate attempt to free my kitchen of all its clutter last month, I found a jar of Cajun seasoning that had been gifted to me along with other spices when I got engaged. I had used the Cajun seasoning exactly twice in two years. In my flurry of decluttering, I was about it put it in the “toss” pile when I remembered I really love spicy food. What if there was a way to give purpose to this spice while preventing food waste in my kitchen? It turns out, there is. All you need is an oven and a little creativity. 

I had long read about baked veggie chips, but I had never tried my hand at creating any. As I scanned the inventory in my kitchen, I noticed a lonely can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans). After a generous mist of olive oil and some liberal shakes of Cajun seasoning, I was well on my way to baking up a tasty snack that would fill out my lunch bag for the week.

Roasted Cajun Chickpeas | She Picks Up Pennies
Easy and tasty roasted Cajun chickpeas

Once the roasted Cajun chickpea magic happened, it opened my eyes to a world of possibility. Since then, I’ve baked kale with Cajun seasoning, spinach with garlic salt and breadcrumbs, and apples with cinnamon and a dash of brown sugar. The best part? The kale and spinach were starting to wilt and the apples were getting soft. Rather than eat salad for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I found a practical way to use up the extra veggies that also saved me from having to shop for lunchtime snack foods. No more food waste and a really simple and healthy snack.

So what’s next on my list? Lemon and black pepper zucchini chips!  While I’m perfectly content to experiment away in the kitchen, there is an abundance of baked and roasted vegetable and fruit recipes on the interwebs. If you’d like easy access to some simple recipe ideas, check out my Pinterest boards or view my un-recipe below. 

Roasted Cajun Chickpea Un-Recipe

  • Drained and rinsed can of chickpeas
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Several generous dashes of Cajun seasoning (or experiment with garlic powder, garlic salt, oregano, chili powder, cayenne, or whatever suits your tastes)

After you rinse your chickpeas and blot any excess moisture with a dishtowel, you can either toss them in a bowl with the olive oil and seasoning or lay them out on a cookie sheet and spray them with a coat of olive oil using a Misto (or similar device). If you go the bowl route, shake them generously to ensure they are evenly coated. I prefer the Misto-method because I can use less oil and coat them evenly. Then, bake them in your oven on 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until crispy. You’ll want to keep an eye on them as they bake. You may also want to shake the pan once or twice to keep them cooking evenly.

So Tell Me…What creative ways do you have to prevent food waste? Do you have a favorite fruit, vegetable, or legume that you like to bake? Do any of these sound interesting to you?

Simple Switches: Let Your Oven Help Combat Food Waste

10 thoughts on “Simple Switches: Let Your Oven Help Combat Food Waste

  1. I’ve been looking at baked veggie chip recipes to augment our snack supply, although I’ve mainly been thinking about some sweet potatoes or carrots (thinking the sweetness might appeal to Little Bit).
    I do know if I can cook my veggies when I notice they are starting to turn can extend their life a bit, but mine usually get tossed in a soup.

    1. Soups and stews are great uses for veggie scraps. I’m going to try to push myself to do more of that this winter. Do you have any favorite go-tos? Or do you just create around what’s in your fridge?

      1. It’s usually just leftover soup, but I’ve noticed certain things (I’m looking at you, Brussells sprouts) just can’t go in soup without dominating the flavor profile. But Chili and spaghetti sauce can repurpose your veggies, too, as can putting them on pizzas.

  2. Roasting chick peas/garbanzo beans is a common occurrence here ever since I discovered it… and it was the same story, we had cajun seasoning we never used. 🙂

    We’ve also roasted kale into kale chips, which are incredible (we just use olive oil and salt).

    1. I love kale chips. I was gifted a bag of mango habanero kale chips from Trader Joe’s…and I thought they were AWFUL. I much prefer to make my own. Cajun seasoning on everything. Ha!

      1. Kale chips are so easy to make I don’t know why anyone would buy them, plus it really is good enough with salt, oil, and a few extra spices. No need to get all crazy with mango habanero this and that!

  3. I really need to go through my cupboard to cook up all the legumes sitting in there! The canned ones we buy for the zombie apocalypse, but it might be time to start diversifying our food storage. It’s getting ridiculous.

    1. I’m assuming that means you use a dehydrator, right? Probably a silly question! I’m always looking for ideas to reduce food waste. We’ve gotten it pretty well under control, but that could be another story if our garden starts really producing!

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