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7 recipes to use up vegetable scraps for low-waste cooking

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

When we cook, often a number of scraps are left behind. Onion and garlic skins, potato peels, the green, feathery tops of carrots and so much more. Some inevitably head to the compost, and if you don’t have compost, the trash.

But not all the scraps need to be thrown away, and some of the scraps that you can’t eat can have a rich second life.

Root to leaf and seed to skin: Cut waste and boost flavor with recipes that use the whole vegetable

Below, you’ll find recipes to help you use more of your veggies.

Seed-to-Skin Squash and Sage Pasta, pictured above. Squash recipes might have you keep the seeds — to use in another recipe. But this recipe has you use the crispy seeds right in the dish so you don’t need to remember to use them later. Edible squash skin, meanwhile, becomes little crispy shreds on top.

Herbs and Their Stems Salad. With soft herbs such as cilantro, parsley, dill and more, you can use the stems in so many ways! Blitz them into a dressing or sauce, use to infuse herbal flavors, or chop finely into this salad for a little crunch.

Scrappy Vegetable Broth. Tons of veggie odds and ends ranging from onion peels to carrot scraps can be used to make broth! I tend to save odds and ends from all alliums, carrot bits, mushroom stems and more. Brassica stems and the ends of green beans may not be great fits for broth, flavor-wise, but plenty of other veggies work; read the headnote of this recipe for a good starting list.

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Honey-Roasted Carrots With Carrot-Top Chimichurri. If you buy carrots with the feathery green tops, you can make a tasty chimichurri to spread atop sweet-earthy roasted carrots. You could use the chimichurri in other dishes, too.

Sauteed Swiss Chard. You can saute the stems as well as the leaves of chard! The stems have an almost beet-earthy taste and are a nice, different texture in this simple, pan-fried dish.

Don’t Peel Your Banana Bread. There are all kinds of banana peel usage tips from plant fertilizer to “bacon” (disclaimer: we tried and did not like banana peel bacon), but you could follow this recipe for delicious banana bread that does use the peel.

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Roasted Radishes With Green Goddess Butter. Roast radish leaves as well as radishes; while the radishes mellow and turn buttery-soft, the leaves turn crisp.