Zero waste DIY: Naan, all-purpose rub and taco seasoning

When I asked on Facebook recently about what you’re struggling with in your own zero waste journeys, one answer was finding recipes for homemade equivalents of prepackaged store products.

You guys, I can do that! I have to make a lot of stuff from scratch anyway because of my food sensitivities. (Good times.) And I’m always on the lookout for new ideas – homemade mustard is on my list, although that day is not today.

To start, here are three staples in the Walker household. I thought we’d begin with these because none of require huge time commitments, but the payoffs are big. My kind of recipe!


Naan is flatbread, and it is delicious. I like to make a quadruple batch of this stuff – I get five batches to a quart of buttermilk – and freeze the dough for later. I make a double batch at a time in my KitchenAide mixer and store it individually in (plastic, well, we’ve had these for awhile and I’m still working on alternatives) containers. I don’t bother with rising time because I figure when it’s sitting out on my counter all day thawing, it has plenty of time to rise all it wants. It’s my go-to pizza crust.

My notes in parenthesis.

Joy of Cooking, 1999 edition

Makes 4 individual or 1 pizza crust

Combine in a mixing bowl:

2 cups all purpose flour (or whatevs)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoon yeast


2 tablespoons melted butter

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of water as needed (I generally do not)

Frozen naan!

Frozen naan!

Mix by hand (um, no, that’s what the KitchenAide is for) until a soft ball is formed, then knead 10 minutes with mixer (now you’re talking) with dough hook attachment on low speed until dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl (oops, I generally forget that part) and turn over once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap (boo! Use a kitchen towel!) and let rise 1 1/2 hours at room temperature.

(Or just place it in a container and freeze. Done!)

Punch down dough and divide into four pieces. Roll into balls, cover, and let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place baking stone in oven and preheat to 475º. Roll out each ball into an oval 8- to 10-inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Brush tops with:

1-2 tablespoons melted butter (nope, never bother)

Place dough, butter side up (duh), directly on stone – as many as will fit without touching – and bake until each oval gets puffy and just begins to turn golden, 6 to 7 minutes (more like 20 to 25 minutes for a pizza with toppings). Remove from oven (because at this point you’re kind of committed) and bake remaining ovals.

Fold Naan in half and place in cloth-lined basket. Keep covered and serve warm.

(Buttermilk container isn’t zero waste, but the yeast comes in a glass jar that can be reused, and I buy butter wrapped in paper, which can be composted. Flour and salt are pretty common bulk finds. Partial credit?)

All-Purpose Rub

Taco seasoning, left, and all-purpose rub, right.

Taco seasoning, left, and all-purpose rub, right.

Here’s something I’ve been making literally since 2009. It’s ALWAYS in my cupboard. It’s great because you can use it on fish, chicken, pork or beef, to season hamburgers, on homemade fries, on roasted veggies … it’s just good stuff. I’ve adapted it from an issue of the now defunct Everyday Food (original recipe HERE) because it called for waaaaay too much salt and also I like dumping in random herbs.

1 tablespoon coarse salt (original recipe calls for 1/3 cup. Holy $%^&!)

1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)

1/4 cup paprika

1-2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

(P.S. if you’re missing some of these herbs, just add more of something you have. Trust me, it will work out just fine.)

Place all of that in a jar and blend well. Store in airtight container away from heat and light, up to six months. (Like it’ll last that long.)

To use: Rub whatever it is you’re cooking with oil, then sprinkle with seasoning, then rub it into the meat (or not) and then grill. Or bake. Or broil. Or roast. Or pan fry. You can’t lose.

(This is totally zero waste because I can get all of this in bulk.)

Taco seasoning

This is another zero waste dream. You gotta love bulk herbs and spices.


1 tablespoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon red pepper

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon paprika

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon sea salt (I use a half teaspoon)

1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix in a small, airtight container.

What’s something that you make at home that you used to buy packaged at the store?

Next up: I finally got my zero waste car kit sorted out. We’ll talk about that.

5 Responses to Zero waste DIY: Naan, all-purpose rub and taco seasoning

  1. Pingback: Rethinking old habits | The Simple Year

    • Luckily, WordPress tells me when people comment. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the link — that looks like a very simple, very doable, very zero waste option. Fun!

  2. Pingback: Starting the year with a meal plan | The Simple Year

  3. Pingback: Hell Yeah! – Minimally

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