Zero Waste Avocado Toast

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I’m a millennial, therefore, I love a good avocado toast. However, as I am a millennial, I am also very aware of the farming issues which are currently related to avocado production.

I’ve been in such an ethical pickle with this one that I actually considered not posting this recipe. I then reflected on the reasons why I purchased avocados, and realised that it was because they’re a very bountiful fruit at the market, which I buy in a large quantity, before it goes off to avoid food waste and this blog is all about reducing that kind of waste.

So, after a lot of pondering, I decided I would post this blog, risk feeling like a hypocrite as I am using avocados in my recipe, but also use this as a platform to share the ethical issues which surround the avocado.

As with any super-fruit such as blueberries or, pomegranates, our love for these fruits puts a huge strain on farmers and it is often a lot more profitable for them to swap to this super-fruit. Those which don’t lose out on wages, and those who do have to keep up with what could be a fickle passing trend.

Unfortunately, growing avocados in large quantities to ensure there are enough at our supermarkets and market stalls means that the Mexicans, who are typically farming these crops, have to cut down the rainforest for space, use nasty fertilisers and pesticides to grow the crop. It also takes about 272 litres to grow about 2 or 3 medium avocados!

It doesn’t just stop with the environmental issues either. As this crop is very profitable, it’s increasing trade is controlled by the Mexican drugs cartels. Whilst switching to avocados which aren’t produced in Mexico may seem like the best way to clear our conscience, it is highly likely that the same issues are happening world wide.

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My take on this information is that I will still have the occasional avocado, but that I’d prefer to get the fats and nutrients I would receive from the avocado through other fruit and vegetable sources.

If all that hasn’t put you off what is a super yummy meal, here is our avocado toast recipe. We made our own bread for this recipe, and we also wrote a guide about buying good bread if you can’t or don’t want to make your own.

Low Waste Avocado Toast

Didn’t feel right calling this one Zero Waste, given all the back issues I’ve discussed above.

Author: A Zero Waste Life
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 slices
Dietary information: GF (choose a GF bread), DF, vegan

Category: Breakfast, lunch, dinner- whenever you want to eat it!

EQUIPMENT

  • Knife

  • Chopping board

  • Toaster

  • Fork

  • Bowl

INGREDIENTS

  • Either one very large, two medium or three small avocados

  • Two slices of bread, which we decided to toast

  • Topping of your choice. We used half a red onion, chilli flakes and

    pistachios

  • Olive oil

    *Note: other toppings could be lemon juice, black ground pepper, sea salt, other

    nuts or seeds- it’s up to you!

If you're nowhere near a bulk shop, our friends at Plastic Free Pantry have kindly given you guys a discount code! Just type zerowastelife10 at the checkout.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and chop your avocados. Put all the seeds, skins and bad parts into the compost.

  2. Put all the yummy avocado into a bowl. Mash with your fork. Leave on the side

  3. Chop up your toppings

  4. Toast the bread, if you want

  5. Put the toast onto a plate, add the avocado and toppings and drizzle all with olive oil.

  6. Marvel at your creation

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #azerowastelife!

 

Overnight Oats

Zero waste living has the tendency to be super duper time consuming. We go though this mini check list each time we leave the house:

  • Phone, keys, wallet (the standard trinity!)
  • Fork (or spork!)
  • Metal water bottle
  • Reusable straw
  • Tupperware box (to either carry food round in or collect compost from snacks)
  • Tote bag
  • Coffee cup
  • Snacks/meals

Meal prepping can seem like a long, boring time consuming task. But, what if meal planning could be complete in under THREE MINUTES. Thats right, three minutes! Now that would be a game changer! 

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Well, this one takes only three minutes. Yep, we timed it. Yep, we had nothing better to do. 

So, making this either the night before each time you want this, or doing a five day batch of them, you can feel super smug knowing that your breakfast:

  1. Saved you money
  2. Saved the planet from excess packaging
  3. Saved you binging on empty calories if you were to pop into McDonalds (yet again!) because you forgot your brekkie and want a sausage and egg McMuffin. (Talking of McMuffins, I should make a zero waste version of that!)

The basic recipe for this is the easiest thing ever, however, you can spruce it up anywhich way you like (we have put our favourite combos at the bottom).

The flavours seem to intensify overnight and the oats taste super creamy!

EQUIPMENT:

  • Clean jar. A cute swing top or standard jam jar will do. Heck, you could even use a jam jar that still has some jam in it to skip out the first step!
  • Um, that's it. Well except from spoons/knives to make the oats with, but we figured you'd already have them.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of milk, of your choosing. Dairy or otherwise. If you are interested in making your own, we have a pretty badass almond milk recipe
  • 1 cup of oats. I prefer rolled oats (the bigger ones) to steel cut, as I like the texture, but just go for what you like.
  • Roughly 3 tbsp of topping. Some topping ideas are; jam, peanut butter, Nutella, fruit, honey, dried fruit. You can create your own combination of these.
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt. This is to make to oats more creamy. It works fine without but does give a lovely thickness. If you're vegan, I'd recommend mashing a banana up in the place of yoghurt and mixing it through – it gives a creamy texture too!

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix your oats, milk and yoghurt (or mashed banana) together in a bowl or the jam jar you're going to use. 
  2. This step is recommended if you're trying to make an Instagram worthy brekkie. Layer one of your toppings such as jam or peanut butter, along the bottom of your jar. Then put the oats on, then top it off with another topping or two!
  3. If you're not going for the likes with this breakfast, just whack it all in the jar. Give it a little shakey shake, and leave it in the fridge until you want to eat it.
  4. You can either heat this up for two minutes or eat cold.

Note: Nuts and seeds are great added to this, but tend to go a little soft overnight. I prefer not adding them until the morning.

Anna's go to combo

Anna adds honey and banana to her oats and sprinkles dried fruits on after heating it up in the morning.

Charlotte's favourite combo

Charlotte puts a layer of peanut butter along the bottom, mixes the yoghurt, milk and oats with half a tsp of cinnamon and tops the jar with some chocolate chips. Charlotte eats hers cold. 

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #azerowastelife!

Snoop around a Zero Waste Kitchen

The beautiful Charlotte (said by Anna) 

The beautiful Charlotte (said by Anna) 

I LOVE cooking from scratch, which means I spend a lot of me evenings in the kitchen.

My kitchen, unsurprisingly, is part of an actual house, which is on one of the main roads in Birmingham. I live near the park and access to the town centre is easy – it's a decent location.

As mentioned before, I live in Birmingham, which is in the top 10 of the worst UK cities for recycling, Since taking on the zero waste lifestyle, I've learnt to focus on what I can do to improve this, rather than blaming waste produced on the city I live in.

So, how has my kitchen changed, since I adopted the zero waste lifestyle?

Zero wasters can seem like aliens from the outside, but as with anything, you can adapt to it in time. Here's what I do to eradicate kitchen waste all together...

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I compost the waste

Luckily, my rented property has a compost heap. In true zero waste style, we didn’t buy a caddie for this, we just switch between containers with lids and put the contents into the compost bin as necessary.

Before I was living with my partner, I'd freeze the compost in a designated bowl as I was worried about it getting in my previous housemate's way – this meant it didn’t smell and wasn’t visible on the counter like it now is.

Freezing compost is a good way to get around the issue of not having a compost heap in your garden. The frozen compost can be put into a wipe clean bag and taken to a market, community centre or allotment and put onto their compost heap (just ask first!).

Another option for composting when you don’t have the proper bin is to blend it. Sounds weird, I know, but this makes it into a state which you can put straight onto your garden plants or flowers, without having obvious vegetable peelings showing.

Working on reducing food waste in general is a great way to have less compost to deal with in the first place.

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I have a super fancy kitchen gadget

I saved up and asked for cash for my birthday last year. I purchased a Thermomix last summer and it's wonderful.

I never want people to feel like we are influencing them into purchasing products in order to live the zero waste life, but if you can afford to, and would like to, I personally think the Thermomix is a very worthwhile purchase.

Why? Because I can grind spices, coffee beans and grains to powders. I can make jams, peanut butter and tomato ketchup. I can chop onions, grated carrots or make vegetable stock. I can prep bread, cakes and other bakes, whilst being certain what I make is gluten and dairy free. I can cook a full, three-course meal, and the Thermomix will ensure the food is cooking at a regulated heat.

This is all in one gadget which is easy to use and has a super long warranty. It may not work for your lifestyle, but for mine (I work full time, and run the blog in my spare time) this is a dream.

I am certainly not saying you have to have one of these to be zero waste – I didn’t for the first seven months of my journey. Anna doesn’t have one and gets on just fine. If you think it could work for you, take a look at their website.

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Tupperware boxes (not foil, clingfilm or plastic bags...)

I'm never too far from a Tupperware box. I usually have a couple in my bag, for my lunch and food waste, with multiple in my fridge and freezer. Without these, a zero waste life would be near impossible. I’ve inherited some from my Mum and Grandparents. Before I fully committed to the zero waste lifestyle I purchased glass Tupperware. I'd recommend them to anyone as two years on they are still going strong (one did break but that's just because I’m clumsy).

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I have less in the fridge

To keep down the waste I buy only what I need. I typically go to the markets twice a week.

There's no packaging in my fridge, which means everything is as fresh as possible. I buy way more fresh fruits and veggies than I used to. I wash these and put them in the fridge with any cut foods put into boxes, along with soft fruits and vegetables like mushrooms.

I have heaps more in the freezer

If I end up with more fruit and veg than I can eat before it goes off, I will freeze it. I also freeze meals including things like homemade beany burgers, so I can use these when I need a quick and simple dinner.

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We store dry food up like a squirrel

Nuts, seeds, flours, spices, lentils, rice and other dried goods are stored in old coffee jars.

Bristol and London are the closest cities to me which have decent waste free shops where I can put the foods straight into the jars. I can buy certain things like nuts and seeds from The Nut Centre in the Bullring markets.  If I've run out of some foods, I often have to buy them from supermarkets and select products in recyclable packaging.

This will change when The Clean Kilo arrives, and I can get there in 15 minutes!

Jarred and canned foods

I buy foods in glass jars and cans. I do still recycle. I know that this can be a wasteful process in terms of resources used during recycling, but I still choose to buy some of these items, often due to convenience.

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Milks

My dairy milk comes delivered to my door twice a week, which is ordered through Milk & More.

I also make nut milks. Almond milk works really well, but you can use any nut you like or oats if you prefer. 

Fresh eggs, cheeses and meats

I'm a 'reducatarian' meaning I try and limit the amount of meat I eat each week.

I have researched veganism a lot, and, call this an excuse if you wish, but I have intolerances which would make veganism difficult. It's therefore not the best decision for me right now. I know zero waste living would be easier without eating meat as the industry is awful at producing waste.

However, when I buy these products, I try my best to limit the waste they are sold to me in. 

I take my own egg boxes back to be refilled with fresh eggs each week at the market. When I buy meats and cheeses I take a large Tupperware box, which they're placed straight into.

I'd love to know about your kitchens? Do you have similar storage habits to me?