MasterChef Mandy Hall’s waste-busters

13th August 2020 | Eativity editors

We’d all like to waste less food, and there are plenty of simple things you can do at home to cut down on the amount of unused food that ends up in your bin. But what about those vegie scraps – the ones that we all throw away, thinking that they’re not edible? Even these have plenty to offer, and can be used to make some really surprisingly delicious things. MasterChef contestant Mandy Hall is a big fan of making the most of every part of her fresh produce, and has joined forces with the Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre to help raise awareness of how we can all save money and resources by reducing food waste.

To get you started on your “waste not, want not” journey, Hall has shared two of her clever cooking ideas that use the parts of vegies that you’d normally throw away. First off, she recommends holding on to those leafy green carrot tops.

“Keep your carrot tops for super easy extras like this very quick version of a chimichurri,” she says. “You can use it on steak, chicken, fish, vegies – anything!”

Carrot top chimichurri by Mandy Hall
You’ll never look at a carrot in the same way again.

Carrot top chimichurri by Mandy Hall

You’ll need:

1½ cups of carrot tops, finely chopped
1 shallot finely chopped (if you don’t have that, use ¼ red onion or whatever onion you have
3 garlic cloves crushed, grated or chopped
1 red or green chilli, finely chopped, keep the veins and seeds in if you like it HOT
1 heaped tsp sea salt flakes
½ cup red wine vinegar (use white if you don’t have red)
2 tbsp dried oregano (or fresh if you have it)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cracked pepper to season


Add everything but the last two ingredients into a bowl and then, using a fork, whisk in the olive oil. Season to your taste and you’re done!

Garlic and onion salt by Mandy Hall
Those onion and garlic skins are packed with flavour.

Garlic and onion salt by Mandy Hall

Don’t toss your garlic and onion skins – you can throw them into broths, stocks or stews for some added flavour. Or try one of Hall’s absolute favourite ways to use them up.

“Pop the skins into the oven at 120 degrees for 15 minutes, blitz them in a grinder or by hand, and add your favourite sea salt,” she says.

Combine two parts of your onion and garlic skin powder with one part sea salt into a clean jar. Store in the pantry and you’ve got the tastiest addition to anything you’re cooking. 

“I keep a container on my bench and add the skins each time I’m using onion and garlic,” Hall says. “You make this, and put it in a jar with a lid, and every time you take the lid off, the smell is just beautiful. It really appeals to people.

“And it’s so easy. Onion and garlic salts that you buy can be so expensive, and most of the time they’ve also got caking agents and stuff in them. But this is just pure sea salt and your leftover skins. It couldn’t be easier!”

Garlic and onion salt by Mandy Hall
A surprisingly tasty seasoning – made from something you’d normally throw away.

Over the next three months, the Fight Food Waste social media campaign will provide tips and tricks on Facebook and Instagram to help you reduce food waste and save you money. You can also find more advice at the new Fight Food Waste CRC content hub. You can follow Mandy Hall on Instagram.