If you love food, but hate waste, these ideas are for you.
Here are some tips on how to reduce food waste by using up those half empty jars of tomato sauce or sour cream by substituting ingredients for ones you have on hand! You will save money, trips to the shop, avoid throwing away half eaten sauces and you will have space in your fridge. And the best part about it is how satisfying it feels - Ta-da!
If you are like me, you possibly have 10 bottles of sauces and condiments (edging towards their use by date) lurking in your fridge or pantry. Some, no doubt, bought a year ago for a specific recipe that you only ever made once. Last night I started making a curry before I realised that I didn't have any tomato paste, tinned tomatoes or stock. By hunting around in the back of my fridge I found a bottle of spicy tomato sauce (substituted for the tomato paste and tomatoes); I used a cup of water with a tablespoon of soy sauce (instead of stock) and added leftover Dahl from the previous night's meal. Voila, a surprisingly delicious curry that got the family's stamp of approval!
It's always hard to dream up what's for dinner, why not use your leftover condiments as inspiration for meals:
Tomato pasta sauce: use instead of tomato paste on a pizza or add to tomato based curries, risottos or chilli mixes.
Sweet chilli sauce: add to cream cheese for an instant dip
Nut butters: make some satay sauce. You can use any nut butter, it doesn't have to be peanut.
Tahini: make some Hummus by adding a can of chickpeas, lemon juice and garlic
Fish Sauce & Rice Vinegar: how about Pad Thai for dinner?
Mayonnaise, Mustard and Relish: Make some potato Salad - add some boiled eggs!
Here are some hacks from bon appetit you can use to substitute when you don't have a specific sauce:
BBQ sauce - Formula: Tomato base + sweet + salty +spicy + smoky + acidic - Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, Maple Syrup, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Tomato Paste, Worcestershire sauce, Mustard. You can pretty much clear out your fridge door with this one!
Soy sauce - ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce + 1tbsp water
Mayonnaise - sour cream or plain yoghurt
Sour cream - 1 cup plain yoghurt or cream + 1tbsp of lemon juice/vinegar
Tartar sauce - mayonnaise + chopped capers/olives/pickled cucumbers + onion + chives/parsley
Hoisin Sauce - Tahini + Soy sauce + vinegar
Spicy sauce - hot sauce + mayonnaise/yoghurt
Don't forget to re-purpose your empty jars and bottles for when you make your own preservatives and pickles.
Let us know your recipes and hacks for using up or substituting ingredients that will help clear your fridge, save on waste, money and extra trips to the shops (that aren't always easy during Covid)!
By Allison Licence
Allison Licence is a Sydney-based freelance writer and 1 Million Women volunteer who is passionate about the environment and finding ways to live more sustainably.