Cooking for Compost: Breakfast


You’ve done your shopping at the local farmers’ market, and you’re about to make yourself a fresh meal. But before you pat yourself on the back for your healthy and environmentally correct choice, think about all of those food scraps you’ll be tossing in the trash.

A meal that’s good for you with lots of fresh fruits and veggies can create a lot of waste. It’s a great example of an eco intention gone wrong.

It has been estimated that Americans toss out 27 percent of edible food — that’s nearly 100 billion pounds, 11 billion pounds of which are fruits and veggies that can easily be composted.

With some foresight, you can compost those scraps and create a meal that’s healthy for both you and the planet.

Composting Is Easy

Composting can be done in a number of different ways. Industrial composting is used for items like biodegradable plastics. Traditional household composting is for food scraps. For the Cooking For Compost series, we’re talking about household compost.

If you have a yard, you can easily start your own compost. If you’re living in a smaller space or don’t want to start your own compost, you can store your scraps before taking them to a local compost. Try a small compost pail with a carbon filter for the smell, or even throw your scraps in the freezer. It’s easier than you may think to compost in the city.

When it’s time to take in your scraps, check if local farms, community gardens or even an organization at your farmers’ market collects scraps for composting. You’d be surprised what a hot commodity your trash is! Everyone wants a piece of it.

Prepping for Breakfast

On to the fun part — the cooking! In the first installment of our Cooking for Compost series, we’ll start with the beginning of our day: breakfast.

Did you know that the uneaten remnants of a savory breakfast — vegetable scraps, egg shells and coffee grinds — are all compostable?

Many egg-based dishes like scrambles, omelets and frittatas can be combined with any assortment of veggies you have on hand. So, they are perfect for a waste-free meal.

Are those onions about to go bad? Throw them in. Leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner work well, too. Egg dishes allow for creativity and experimentation. You’ll use everything in your fridge, and you’ll be shopping less. Also, by limiting what goes into your dish you can cater to picky eaters of all sorts.

Recipe: Italian Frittata

If you need a guide to get started on your cooking for compost breakfast, here’s a delicious recipe for an Italian Frittata. Remember other veggies can always be added. Also, get creative with your eggs!

Your farmers’ market list

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small bunch basil (bonus points for getting it from your windowsill garden)
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tomato


  • Mozzarella cheese: Note that many experts don’t recommend composting dairy because it can cause odor and pest problems, but really, why would you throw away cheese anyway?

How to make it

  1. Heat broiler. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom.
  2. Add chopped garlic then red peppers to skillet.
  3. Sauté red peppers and garlic until slightly brown.
  4. Whisk eggs, add salt and pepper and chopped basil to eggs.
  5. Add egg mixture to skillet, shake pan to evenly distribute ingredients. Add tomato slices on top. Cook for 5 minutes, or until set on bottom and edges.
  6. Place skillet under broiler for 2-5 minutes, or until frittata is firm.
  7. Add grated mozzarella cheese and basil leaves (optional).
  8. Save vegetable scraps for compost.

Other great cooking for compost EGGcelent recipe ideas

Sides and drinks

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Feature image by Nemoel Nemo from Pixabay

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  1. This is a great article however are there any food scraps that we shouldn’t be putting into compost?

    At this point I’m presuming that anything you eat and toss out can be used as compost.

  2. @Creeping critter
    You shouldn’t home-compost cooked foods (leftovers), meats or fats/oils, since these attract vermin. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with municipal composting, they might accept those items.

    You can also compost paper coffee filters along with the grounds, if you use paper filters. Same with tea bags.

  3. This is something that people can easily do in their apartments, no matter how small. I used to compost in my small NYC apartment. No pests, no smells and it all went back to into my garden.

    Though I did just get a crazy fruit fly infestation. It might very well be because of what Rob said about composting cooked veggies. That makes sense!

  4. Just about anything you eat can be composted,I won’t put meat or chicken in my pile but just about everything else can go in the pile,just don’t forget the worms,worms are the best thing you can have in the pile besides the billion of microscopic bugs that are always eating.

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