This Hot Pot Is the Ultimate Zero-Waste Feast

A weekend hot pot feast is the ultimate zero-waste feast, allowing you to use any leftover kitchen scraps, while customizing your dinner exactly how you want it.
Photo shows a vegan hot pot made with lots of noodles and mushrooms
Make the most of your leftovers by turning them into a zero-waste hot pot. | Ivy for LIVEKINDLY
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If you think hot pot is a big project, you’re not wrong—but that’s what makes it worth trying. The coolest thing about hot pot, though, is that you can use up all the leftovers from your fridge—whether veggies or vegan meats, almost everything simmers to deliciousness in the forgiving broth. The broth in hot pot is so tasty, it flavors everything with its savoriness—that’s why hot pot is our zero waste superstar.

The history of hot pot is fascinating—and contested. Common legend has it that it was a Mongolian food, but when the province of Anhui claimed it was the home of hot pot, it sparked a controversy. 

What we do know is that from Yunnan to Guangdong to Sichuan, this style of feasting is all about the experience of gathering around a bubbling pot and cooking various ingredients in one or more broths. That’s pretty much where the similarities end though, since broths can be as mild as miso, or as spicy as the fiery broths at Sichuan-founded chain Haidilao.

If your fridge has leftovers, there’s no need to hit the store for anything expect the broth ingredients—and even some of those can be substituted. In other words, don’t hesitate to swap in the veggies or noodles in this recipe, since baby bellas are just as succulent as brown beech mushrooms in this broth, and pretty much any kind of noodle works. Vegan meats also cook up just as flavorfully as the tofu in the recipe. This is the perfect way to zero-waste your fridge, so use up all those leftovers in a big hot pot party.

Happy feasting!

Photo shows a vegan hot pot made with lots of noodles and mushrooms
Hot pot is the ultimate customizable, crowd-pleasing dinner. | Ivy for LIVEKINDLY

Vegan Hot Pot

By LIVEKINDLY

30 mins to prep
2 hours to cook

Ingredients

Mild Broth

  • 1.4 gallons filtered water  
  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 dried kelp, about the size of your hand

Spicy Broth

  • 2 medium white onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup plant-based butter
  • 2 large carrots, sliced in large pieces
  • 5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons  vegan bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang

Hot Pot Ingredients

  • 3.5 ounces thin white enoki mushrooms, washed and trimmed of roots
  • ½ cup kimchi
  • 4.5 ounces udon noodles  
  • 3.5 ounces white beech mushrooms (bunapi shimeji), washed and trimmed of roots
  • 3.5 ounces brown beech mushrooms (buna shimeji), washed and trimmed of roots
  • 1 bok choy head, washed and trimmed of its end
  • 3 king oyster mushrooms, washed and trimmed of roots
  • 1 to 2 cups baby spinach or Chinese broccoli, washed
  • 1 nori sheet, cut into half-inch slices
  • 8 ounces medium firm tofu, sliced into half-inch thick slices (about half a standard 16 ounce package)
  • 3.5 ounces fried tofu cubes
  • 2 packages ramen noodles
  • 1 serving sweet potato starch noodle (see package for serving size)

Stir-Fried Kelp

  • cooked kelp from the first broth, sliced into one-inch slices  
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoons salt

Preparation

    Mild Broth

    • 1
      Add all ingredients for the first broth into a large pot.
    • 2
      Set the stove to medium-high heat and close the lid. Let the broth cook for 30 minutes.
    • 3
      When the broth is done, take out kelp and shiitake mushrooms and reserve them. Put them on a plate and set them aside.
    • 4
      Transfer the broth into a large bowl and set aside.

    Spicy Broth

    • 1
      Take the same pot and place it on the stove again.
    • 2
      Add the onion, butter and garlic. Sautée on medium heat until they become tender, about five minutes.
    • 3
      Now take the mild broth and add it to the onion-garlic pot.
    • 4
      Add the rest of the ingredients for the second broth and set to medium-high heat. Cook for 45 minutes with an open lid.
    • 5
      In the meantime, add the sweet potato starch noodles to a large bowl of water and let them soak.

    Stir-Fried Kelp

    • 1
      Cut the kelp from the first broth into one-inch slices.
    • 2
      Add the kelp and the rest of the ingredients to a small frying pan. On medium heat, stir-fry until the liquid is gone. Then set aside and add it to the hot pot later.

    Hot Pot

    • 1
      In a hot pot or a large deep pan add all of the ingredients for the hot pot under the section “Hot pot ingredients” above, including the soaked sweet potato starch noodles (drained). Assemble the ingredients as you’d like, but for inspiration, see the photos above. Cut the cooked shiitake mushrooms into slices and add them and the fried kelp to the pot.
    • 2
      When the broth has cooked for 45 minutes, simply pour it over the ingredients in the hot pot. Set the hot pot (with all the assembled ingredients) to medium-high heat and let cook uncovered until all of the ingredients are done, about 25 minutes.
    • 3
      After cooling, you can store the hot pot in your fridge for up to four days in an airtight container. Reheat in a pot or in a microwave.
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