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Ian Haste On Fighting Food Waste

We chatted to Ian Haste, author of new anti-food-waste recipe book, The 7 Day Basket, about his eco food mission

Ian Haste On Fighting Food Waste

What inspired you to create a book that promotes reducing food waste? My mum inspired me to cook by teaching me the basics from my early teens; I then grew up watching Jamie Oliver and other chefs on TV… but the food waste element developed from observing how we shop as a society. I noticed that people seemed to be losing the ability to shop in ‘meal formats’; for example, looking at a shopping list and creating it to make your weekly meals. I thought that if I could write a book which uses every last bit of that weekly shop in the recipes, we would be able to find a better way to carefully plan how much food we’re buying. If everybody can get used to doing this, it would really help to fight the growing problem of excess food waste in the UK.

Why do you think food waste is such a hot topic at the moment? We all need to do our bit to rectify what has become a big issue globally by starting at home. On average, individually, the home consumer wastes 7.3 million tonnes of food per year. This is crazy considering the problems we have with food poverty, and how many people are suffering daily without enough to eat. It doesn’t stop there, though – we all need to understand the environmental damage of the plastic and packaging we are throwing away, too.

What are some of your favourite vegetarian meals? In The 7 Day Basket, you’ll find my amazing Mushroom and Lentil Bolognese, which you won’t believe is vegetarian. The texture of the chopped mushrooms replicates the meaty munch from traditional Bolognese perfectly. The Tofu Pad Thai from the book is also incredible; the light crispy tofu with that signature Thai noodle mix is perfect.

Ian's Top Tips For Cutting Down On Waste

1. The freezer is your friend

Freeze everything you can on the day you do a food shop, and then defrost things as and when it’s required.

2. Batch cooking

It’s important to remember to cook bigger portions, and then freeze the extras for future.

3. Use-by dates

For anything that’s beginning to go out of date, start to think about how it can be used in stocks, soups, or casseroles. My book is filled with handy hacks like this, so you’ll never be left with soggy leftover vegetables or limp herbs in your fridge. Everything can be transformed into something delicious and nourishing; you just need to use your imagination.