A 2020 study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics found that the average U.S. household wasted 31.9% of its food. The total annual cost of the wasted food was estimated to be $1,866 per household.

With a little planning and creativity you can turn your leftover produce into tasty appetizers or your leftover cooked meats into new creations. For example, I often have part of a cucumber left in the fridge, so I made a delicious sauce to top a sandwich with (you’ll find the Pork Pita Pockets with Cucumber Sauce in my Zero Waste Cooking For Dummies® book). Simply slice your leftover meat super thin (or you can do 1/2-inch chunks), then fill a pita and top with this Tzatziki sauce and chopped tomatoes. Yum.

Cucumber Nutrition Facts

Cucumbers are super low in calories and provide some important vitamins and minerals. A 1-cup serving of cucumber slices provides about 160 milligrams of potassium,  vitamin K, and about 10% of the Daily Value for Vitamin C.  Their water content can help keep you hydrated. In addition, a slice of cucumber can brighten up a glass of boring ice water. Tastier water leads to staying better hydrated. They also contain a substance called cucurbitacins, which may help reduce inflammation in the body.

Sliced cucumbers make a great dipper for hummus. You can also make a simple tomato-cucumber salad with them. Or, you can try this cucumber yogurt sauce.

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Tzatziki is a traditional Greek sauce made with yogurt, cucumbers and dill. I always have plain Greek yogurt in the refrigerator, so it’s an easy sauce to make when there’s some leftover cucumber as well. I also like adding mint to mine. It’s a great way to use up the ends of a cucumber. In addition to topping a sandwich, you can also serve it with baked chicken.

Leftover pork tenderloin stuffed into a pita, topped with feta cheese and tzatziki sauce.

5 from 1 vote


Author Rosanne Rust MS RDN, www.rustnutrition.com


  • 1/2 cup Plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, seeded cucumber I prefer English
  • Juice from half a lemon or 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TB chopped mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • Pinch Salt


  • Simply mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate for an hour or more. Use it for sandwiches or to top chicken or fish.