Reduce Your Food Waste – Make Vegetable Stock

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One of my goals for 2021 is to establish more environmentally friendly habits in my daily life. Specifically, I want to be more mindful of food waste. Fortunately for me (and for you), the Safe Plates team is kicking off 2021 with an Avoiding Food Waste campaign. I can’t wait to see what tips and tricks they share on how to minimize food waste.

One strategy that I have begun implementing is making vegetable or meat-based stock from leftover food scraps that I was previously throwing in the trash without realizing their potential! Check out this basic vegetable stock recipe from Med Instead of Meds.

Stock is the base of many dishes in the kitchen. This Basic Vegetable Stock, shared with us by our friend Chef Ellen Clevenger-Firley, can be used in any recipe calling for stock. Make in advance and store in your fridge (up to 1 week) or freezer (up to 6 months) to have on hand when needed.

Pro Tip: Making broth is a wonderful way to use leftover vegetable scraps (i.e. the remaining pieces of raw vegetables after you cut them up for cooking, i.e. broccoli stalks, carrot tops, mushroom bottoms, etc). Consider saving your vegetable scraps in a sealed container in the freezer until you have enough to make stock. 

Serves 8
Serving Size: 1 cup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Total Time: 50-60 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 celery stalks, including some leaves
  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 leeks
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) water

Other ingredients to consider including: mushrooms, eggplant, corn cobs, fennel (stalks and trimmings), bell peppers, pea pods, chard (stems and leaves), celery root parings, marjoram (stems and leaves), basil, potato parings . . . other vegetables as desired.


  1. Chop scrubbed vegetables into 1-inch chunks. Remember, the greater the surface area, the more quickly vegetables will yield their flavor.
  2. Heat oil in a soup pot (3 quarts or larger). Add onion, celery, carrots, leeks, garlic, parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook over high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add salt and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain. Discard vegetables.

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4 thoughts on “Reduce Your Food Waste – Make Vegetable Stock

  1. This is so easy and cheap. I also love how I can control what is going in it. I started out with a recipe, but now I just toss in whatever.

    1. Hey Megan, absolutely! It takes a little bit of prep but can really pay off and help reduce and repurpose your food waste.

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