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How to Use Surplus Food

fresh panzanella salad

Unfortunately, not every night will be packed service in your restaurant. If it is - congratulations. But if not, then there is likely to be surplus of food which can drive up your cost and end up in the landfill. Reduce the waste and surplus in your restaurant by creating some smart ways to recycle scraps of food, as well as over ripe fruits and vegetables.

Panzanella salad is a great way to use up stale bread. This classic Italian salad is typically enjoyed in the summer but can be made all year long. Simple and satisfying, with just a few high quality ingredients. Make sure you use really great tomatoes in order to get the best results. Recipe below:


3/4 pound day-old crusty peasant-style whole-grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
2 large tomatoes (about 1 pound), trimmed and each cut into 8 wedges
3/4 cup sliced unwaxed cucumber
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
10 fresh basil leaves, shredded


In a serving bowl stir together the bread, the tomatoes, the cucumber, the onion, the oil, the vinegar, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste until the salad is combined well.

Soup of the day. There's a reason a soup of the day is a staple on many restaurant menus: it's simple and ingenious on several levels. It gives your menu variety, is seasonal, and of course, it's an ingenious way to use up surplus ingredients! Below is a recipe for a simple fall soup which can repurpose several extra ingredients from your kitchen:


Oil – 1 TBSP
Whole Cardamom – 2
Bay leaf – 1
Squash – diced – 2 cups
Barley, rinsed 1/2 cup
Red lentil, 1/4 cup
Coriander Powder 1 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Red Chili Powcer, 1 tsp
Ground Cumin 1/2 tsp
Ground Oregano 1 tsp
Ground pepper
Water – 3 cups
Fried onion – 1/2 cup


Place a pressure cooker over medium heat. Add oil.
Add whole cardamoms and bay leaf.
Add diced squash, saute for a few minutes.
Add barley and red lentil.
Add coriander powder, chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, dried basil, ground pepper and salt. Combine well.
Add water (or chicken stock), close the cooker and cook for 3 to 4 whistles.
After the pressure subsides, open the cooker.
Combine the cooked squash and barley.
If the soup is thick, add enough water to thin it down.
Add fried onion, combine well and cook for a few minutes.
Have a taste and add salt if needed.
Serve the soup warm and enjoy.

Street tacos. Street tacos (typically using small tortillas) are a fun, trendy way to get rid of leftover protein. Using small amounts of meat and vegetables and heavy spices, they are a great way to use up some surplus vegetables - plus tacos are always popular! Try them for Taco Tuesday, or add to your regular happy hour menu at a low cost your customers will, quite literally, eat up. Recipe below:


1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 garlic cloves
1 medium white onion
3 to 4 thyme sprigs
1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
Olive oil

2016-10-06 00:00:00
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