A Day of Zero Waste: Roast Squash with Hummus + Salsa Verde

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In recent office discussions about how we’re individually striving towards being more eco-friendly, zero waste shopping/cooking definitely stood out as an area we could all improve. When you’re time poor, trying to move towards zero waste seems like far too much of a task to take on, and it’s quite easy to keep putting it off. So we set ourselves a challenge; to cook an entire day of meals without creating any waste, or at least as little as possible. We also wanted it to be affordable, align with our usual free-from’s, and not require any hard-to-find ingredients. Here’s how it went:

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Serves 2
Time: 2 hours


  • 2 cups dried chickpeas

  • 1 butternut squash

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 3 tbsp Himalayan salt

  • 2 tbsp harissa spice

  • 7 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 lemon

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 1 bunch mint

  • 1 bunch parsley

  • 1 bunch coriander

  • 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 bunch rocket


  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight, or skip this step (if you’re unorganised like us) and add them to a large pan with boiling water and 1tsp salt. Cook for about 1 hour, or until soft.

  2. Meanwhile cut the squash into large chunks, removing the seeds and setting them aside to use later. Place the squash on a baking tray with 1 tbsp oil and 1tbsp salt, and roast for 45-50mins. Add the garlic cloves to the oven to roast.

  3. Add 1.5 cups chickpeas, the juice of 1 lemon, tahini, 2 tbsp salt, 3 tbsp oil and the roast garlic to a food processor. Blitz until smooth, adding water if necessary.

  4. Wash and dry the squash seeds, then mix with the leftover chickpeas, 1 tbsp oil and Harissa spice. Spread on a baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes or until crispy.

  5. Add the herbs, vinegar and remaining oil and salt to the food processor. Blitz until finely chopped.

  6. Add the hummus to each plate, and top it with the rocket, roast squash and herbs. Sprinkle the roast seeds and chickpeas on top and serve.

    Where did we get our ingredients?

    • The chickpeas were from a bulk store, but can also be bought online - again, supermarket options are always in plastic.

      The squash was loose from Tesco, as was the lemon and garlic.

    • The herbs and rocket came from our local grocers as supermarket options were plastic heavy. If we didn’t have this nearby, fresh leaves/herbs would definitely be hard unless you grow them yourself.

    • The balsamic came from the same refill station as the olive oil, but can always be purchased in glass. The tahini was from a glass jar but if you happen to be near a Whole Foods, you would be able to get refill tahini (unfortunately we had no options other than a glass jar).

    • As with the cinnamon fiasco, we purchased Harissa spice in a tin jar, but you could also get paste in a glass jar. Not perfect, but we’d find it hard to sacrifice flavour.

How was the ZERO WASTE experience?

Hummus is the best fast food going - add carrot sticks and it’s instant fuel. Making your own, including soaking and cooking your chickpeas is definitely more time consuming, but way more tasty and easy enough to prep ahead (hummus can be frozen and defrosted without affecting the flavour or texture). Using the squash seeds helped to avoid food waste, and all in all it was a really easy meal. The only real difference to our usual cooking is the swap from tinned to dried chickpeas, but with a little bit of pre-prep you could have this on the table in under one hour.

What did we need in addition to the ingredients?

  1. Reusable baking sheets

  2. A food processor

Any unavoidable waste?

A sticker on our squash and a metal tin from the Harissa spice.


Price of the meal for two: approx £5
Making your own hummus is definitely cheaper than buying it pre made, and other than that, all this meal really requires is some herbs and a squash. Easy, affordable and quite quick to throw together.

pollen + grace