A few of my favorite zero waste recipes

A few of my favorite zero waste recipes - Green Indy Blog

Ever since getting into reducing my waste, I’ve kept a few zero waste recipes in my back pocket for some of the food items I really love that – far too often – come in plastic packaging.

I cook in approximations, but I’ve tried to recreate my food with a recipe so you guys can follow along too!


I love making ricotta because it so rarely fails me (I’m looking at you, mozzarella). Ideally you want the closest thing to raw milk you can get, but really anything other than ultra-pasteurized works. Oh, and when you’re so lazy your milk separates all by itself, you’re doing it my way!

1 gallon milk
4-6 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar
Salt to taste

Bring milk to simmer slowly, stirring fairly often to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn. Once it gets hot enough to start almost boiling, take the milk off the heat and add salt. Stir in 4 tablespoons of lemon or vinegar, just a few swirls of a wooden spoon. The acid will start to curdle the milk immediately. Wait about 5 minutes and check to see if the milk has totally separated (there will be curds at the top and a yellow whey underneath) – if the liquid still looks milky, add another tablespoon and wait a few more minutes. Once done, drain in a cheese cloth for about 15-30 minutes. Done!

Bonus: keep the whey for a bread recipe!


Everyone seems to think bread is a ridiculous challenge, but I just don’t agree! Use this recipe to create any number of taste variations as needed!

1.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
.5 to 1 cup water
Any extra additions/toppings (herbs inside, spices on top, etc)

Mix dry ingredients together. Add oil and half cup water, mix. Add water until mix is wet but not over-wet. At this point, add in any extras you have – I like to mix in some fresh herbs. Roll out on floured surface. Add any toppings. Cut into small squares and place on baking sheet with foil/oiled. Bake at 450F for about 10 minutes (or they get brown and crispy) – this fills one baking sheet.


Granola is super expensive. Why?? Make it yourself – it’s cheaper and can be customized exactly how you like it. Win-win. My general proportions:

3 cups oats
1/2 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup chocolate
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup oil
pinch of salt

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then add honey and oil. Stir well. Spread over a baking sheet. Bake at 300F for about 10-15 minutes (mix once in the middle of baking). Remove, let cool, then mix together and pop into a bowl!

Got any zero waste recipes? Please tell us/link it in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “A few of my favorite zero waste recipes”

  1. I love the idea of zero waste recipes, and I never thought of making my own ricotta. I’m intrigued!! An extra bonus for the ricotta – if you fresh squeeze your lemon, you can use the rest of the lemon and a pinch of salt to clean your wood cutting boards, and you can chuck the rind down the garbage disposal to clean and freshen it out. I don’t know if that counts as zero waste, but getting three uses out of one thing counts as pretty efficient in my book!

    1. Oooh that’s a great idea! I always struggle with citrus rinds (they smell so good, why just get rid of them!). I’ll have to try that. I also like tossing them in vinegar to make a little lemon-scented cleaning spray.

  2. I am going to make that granola! I love granola, and oatmeal and honey are plentiful in Russia, well at least honey is plentiful in Bashkortostan. That bread seems ridiculously easy to make too.

    I’m kind nervous to try the ricotta cheese. I hate milk, and I’ve tried making milk based things like rice pudding, and it seems the smell of the milk here in Russia makes me gag.

    1. My husband brought some honey back from Tver – sooo good. Russians do know their honey, that’s for sure!

      Re: ricotta. I hate milk too! But love cheese… A lot of Russian milk is heavily processed so that’s why it doesn’t always work out well. Ricotta won’t work with ultra-pasteurized milk – the closer to raw, the better. Good luck!

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