Creative Ways to Reduce Food Waste with Carleigh Bodrug of PlantYou – EP 395

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While there are some who find it hard to let go, there are also those who easily discard things. In this episode, Jen and Jill learn from Carleigh Bodrug of PlantYou deliciously simple yet creative ways to repurpose food in hopes of reducing our food waste and being intentional about meal planning.

If we can all be more intentional about our planning, not only are we going to reduce our environmental impact, but we're also going to eat healthier, reduce food waste, and save money.


  • Treasure. The opposite of waste is garbage and a treasure is what YOU ARE. And if you want more people telling you in different ways about the treasure you are, then get the Friendletter! We’re podcasting to you here about how great you are, and we’re writing to you in email about how lovely you are, as well as freebies, money-saving tips, and spending hacks. Get it at the Frugal Friends’ Friendletter.

Carleigh Bodrug is the CEO and Founder of PlantYou, a New York Times Bestselling cookbook author and self-taught plant-based chef, famous for her simple take on low-waste and vegan recipes. Boasting over seven million followers between her social channels, Carleigh has gripped social media with her simple and delicious low-waste recipes that make plants the star of the show.

Growing Food Waste Problem In The US

Carleigh highlights that 30% to 40% of the US food supply ends up in landfills, mainly from households. There are financial implications to this growing problem; hence, reducing our own food waste also saves us a lot of money. Drawing from Carleigh’s own experience as a plant-based eater focused on environmental reasons, she suggests practical strategies like meal planning and having a versatile repertoire of recipes to utilize meal ingredients efficiently. Contrary to the misconception that plant-based eating is expensive, there are options like whole foods such as beans and grains that can actually be more cost-effective than animal products, encouraging intentional and healthy eating habits to reduce environmental impact, promote health, and save money.

Strategically and Creatively Making A Meal Plan

Intentional planning to optimize kitchen setups for eco-friendliness and waste reduction is significant in starting this lifestyle. Carleigh recommends setting aside time with the family or even for yourself to create a meal plan for the week. Make sure to allow room for flexibility for a more realistic approach to your plan. Start with a meal plan to guide you with your grocery shopping. Check existing supplies before heading to the store to avoid overbuying. Utilizing online resources like Pinterest for quick and easy recipe ideas is suggested, especially for those starting from scratch. Also, there is value in freezer utilization to preserve food and reduce waste effectively.

Top Scrappy Cooking Recipes by Carleigh

Carleigh shares inventive recipes, which can be found in her book, that demonstrate how to minimize food waste while maximizing flavor and nutrition. Utilize often overlooked ingredients like broccoli stems, which can be transformed into delicious dishes such as broccoli stem summer rolls, a one-pot vegan mac n’ cheese, and chopped broccoli stems into stir-fries. Carleigh’s favorite recipe, Sunday’s Sauce, is a traditional bolognese ragu. It is important to empower home cooks to adapt recipes based on available ingredients to prevent unnecessary purchases and further reduce waste, fostering confidence and creativity in the kitchen.

Highlight Recipes in Carleigh’s Cookbook

Carleigh introduces aquafaba, the liquid from canned chickpeas, as a remarkable vegan egg white substitute capable of creating meringues and other baked goods.There’s also pickled juice as a marinade for tofu. Banana peels can be made into delicious banana peel bacon, but if you’re not into the idea of eating banana peel bacon, you can always try mushroom bacon. The #1 waste of food in the US is bread, because most people throw away their hard bread, not knowing its potential for other dishes to be made. Transform your stale bread into breadcrumbs or a vegan French toast casserole, which Carleigh loves.

The most “creative” dish you’ve ever created

  • Carleigh:  Buffalo cauliflower wings (wrapped in rice paper)
  • Jill: Leftover Pancakes
  • Jen: Mujadara

Bill Of The Week

Thank you Carleigh for sharing your bill about the maintenance man named Bill! He was the kindest gem of a human who could fix anything.

Thanks so Much for Listening!

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I started listening to FF when I was trying to pay off my student loans and did a call with Jen years ago. Debt gone. The membership was critical for me keeping focused and I loved all the challenges on the portal. I love all the podcasts but am generally catching up. [...] Just wanted to say thanks for all you do.

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