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10 Steps Towards a Sustainable Sunday Roast

Ahh… the beloved Sunday Roast. It is a strong favourite amongst the Brits but at what cost to the environment? One roast dinner releases the same amount of Carbon Dioxide as driving a car for roughly 125 miles – and that’s just a plain old roast without all the trimmings!

Don’t threat. We are not here to tell you to stop cooking your Sunday Roast, but we are here to make a few suggestions on how you can make it slightly more sustainable, all whilst keeping the yumminess intact. There are many ways to cook in an environmentally conscious way, but the most effective method lies in the food that you would have previously tossed in the trash. In UK landfills alone, throw-away, decomposing food is the culprit behind 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. That being the case, it comes to no surprise that if food waste was a country of its own, it would be the third largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, trailing only the US and China. By reducing the amount of food waste that you create cooking a Sunday Roast, you can significantly lower your carbon footprint, plus both your stomach and your wallet will be fuller! Here’s how to do it…

Follow these 10 Scrumptious Steps to make your Sunday Roast Slightly More Sustainable: 

Potato skin crisps 

Warning: this one is highly addictive! My favourite part of a roast has to be the crispy potatoes, but what to do with the mountain of sorry looking peel that gets left behind? This snack is as tasty as it is sustainable and gives those sad parts of the potato a new lease on life. 

To make your own potato skin crisps: preheat your oven to 200°F, slice the skins thinly, toss with oil and your favourite seasonings, then simply bake until golden and crispy. Or, if you have an air fryer, throw them in there for around 10 minutes. These chunks of goodness are the side you didn’t know you were missing and are the perfect addition to that leftover chicken sandwich. You don’t have to stop with potato peel, why not transform your other vegetable peel too? 

*Stock up on flavour, not waste – homemade stock from kitchen scraps!

Rethink the fate of those discarded chicken bones! Transform the remnants of last night’s roast into a rich, nutritious stock that will be the most useful component in your kitchen. Simply put the chicken bones into a pot of water, enriched with left-over vegetables, garlic, and fragrant herbs, then let it simmer away. Hey presto! By utilising food scraps, you are not only reducing waste, but also creating a tasty base for soups, stews, and risottos. You can freeze this heavenly elixir until you are ready to use it, so there is really no need to purchase store-bought stock cubes ever again. 

Cheesy Cauliflower leaves 

We know and love cauliflower cheese, but why are we throwing away the leaves when they have so much potential? This is the ultimate lazy step towards a zero-waste kitchen…the most obvious way to reduce on this one is simply to make more cauliflower cheese, and seriously, who is complaining at that? Just throw in the leaves as well as the whites and have more leftovers for the next day – what dreams are made of. 

Perhaps you opt for a veggie Cauliflower steak on your roast, that’s no excuse! Bonus tips: Cauliflower leaves also make a great warm salad base if you roast them or add them to egg fried rice for a variety in texture and colour. Whatever fate you choose for your cauliflower leaves, don’t let it be the bin ever again. 

Bread and Butter Pudding 

Calling all self-proclaimed dessert addicts, I have an emission saving solution to your sweet tooth. Bread is one of the earth’s most wasted product. Can you believe that brits throw away 24 million slices a day? Whilst your oven is on, you may as well save some of those stale crusts from the garbage. Bread and butter pudding is a great finisher to your Sunday roast and is just as good enjoyed cold for breakfast the next morning and with a coffee in tow will guarantee a slightly less blue Monday.  Butter each bread slice and layer into a baking dish before adding in any toppings that take your fancy before covering the whole thing in a quick homemade custard. Divine. 

Carrot Top Pesto: Don’t Toss the Tops

Carrot tops are perfectly edible; there is no need to throw them on the compost. Luckily, I have another tasty trick up my sleeve. Pesto is a lot easier to make than you might initially think, and it comes in a lot more variations than the usual basil and pine nut blend that you buy from the store. This variation tackles those carrot tops head on, turning them into a delicious herby sauce that you can stir into pasta, dress a salad with, or smother your chicken in, but once you get a taste, you will most likely devour it by the spoonful. 

Blitz together the carrot tops, a generous handful of basil, a few cloves of garlic, parmesan, whatever nuts you have on hand, and a glug of olive oil. Every good chef tastes their food so have a try of your homemade pesto before adding salt and pepper or changing the ingredient ratios to your liking. Once blended into a smooth paste-like consistency, you have yourself an earthy, tangy sauce to last you at least a couple of midweek meals.  

Reduce, Reuse, Pickle: grab yourself a jar and start pickling! 

Uplevel your snack game whilst also being climate change conscious. Maybe you have seen the pickle-making craze that has recently taken social media by storm, well it’s time you jump on the bandwagon. With just a few simple ingredients and a little patience, you can transform your vegetable scraps into crunchy, addictive, and totally delicious pickles. 

Instead of into the bin, throw your leftover vegetables – really, any odds and ends – into a jar; add some vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and your favourite seasonings. Then, all that’s left to do is to leave them in the refrigerator until they taste appropriately ‘pickled’! It really is that simple. They are the perfect component for elevating a sandwich, topping a salad, or adding to your next grazing board. So why not give it a try? Your taste buds will thank you, not to mention the planet! 

Helpful Homemade Gravy**

Have you ever wondered what to do with the fat left at the bottom of the tin? You can’t pour it down the sink and it doesn’t sit right to get rid of all that flavour. To me, this is a no-brainer. Making your own gravy both reduces packaging and cuts down your food waste, plus its far tastier than shop bought. 

When your roasted meat has finished cooking, and you have put it aside to rest, it’s time to get started on the gravy. Pour the drippings from the roasting tin into a pan and mix with a combination of water, cream, and corn-starch. If you wanted to you could sweat down some onions and fry some garlic beforehand for it to pack an extra tasty punch, but it’s just as good without and makes for a Sunday Dinner that is perfectly succulent. 

Sunday Leftover Everything Pie 

You can’t argue that Sunday Dinner isn’t the pinnacle of all comfort foods, well at least I won’t, and sometimes facing the week ahead leaves you wishing you could have comfort for every meal. I can’t promise you that, but I can promise you that this delicious Everything Pie will keep you cosy for at least one night longer! Every scrap left behind once the roast dinner has come and gone goes into a big dish: the vegetables, meat, and potatoes alike, before a generous helping of gravy** is poured over. Top your dish with pastry and you have yourself a waste-deterring, comfort-prolonging, mouth-watering dinner. 

Vegetable Soup: An old-time favourite

A classic, and with good reason. If none of the other suggestions on how to use up your leftover vegetables take your fancy, try your hand at a deliciously comforting vegetable soup.  This recipe will not just be a saving grace to the nasty fate that your veggies otherwise faced, but a highlight on next week’s lunch menu. 

Add your already roasted vegetables to the pan alongside some garlic and cover them in (chicken or vegetable) stock* before using a stick blender to reach a smooth, thick consistency. Once blended, add some herbs such as rosemary and thyme, letting them infuse whilst you add your other seasonings to taste. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint one scrumptious soup-spoonful at a time! 

Eco-Friendly Fritters

Essentially, fritters are an environmentally friendly excuse to eat more pancakes, so they quite rightly earn themselves a spot on the list – last but not least! At their bare minimum, mix any leftovers at all with flour and a beaten egg, then fry in hot oil; to score double points, if you have excess Yorkshire pudding mixture, use it up now in place of the egg and flour.  If you want to get creative and strive beyond the minimum, think about adding different spices such as curry powder and cumin, or chilli powder and smoked paprika. Alternatively, to really push the boat out, you could even use leftover vegetables like carrot, beets, or sweet potato to make dessert fritters which in my kitchen would be topped with honey, yoghurt, and cinnamon – simply delectable! This is a great all-purpose option to use up quite literally whatever you have left.

Voilà: ten scrumptious steps towards a more sustainable Sunday Roast! If you ever find yourself outfaced by a Sunday roast again, you know where to find us. To find out more about food waste, take a look at similar articles in the series, such as 10 Delicious Ways to minimise your food waste.



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