Enjoy Food

Low Waste Cooking Hacks With Sohla El-Waylly

Haley Paskalides  |  November 1, 2023

Chef Sohla El-Waylly wants us to break free of old cooking rules and get creative with what we have on hand.

We all love to scroll through Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok for cute dog videos and the latest viral trends, but we’re also increasingly turning to social media to discover our favorite recipes and culinary creators. Although we still love the Food Network for a little company in the background, for the most part, the folks we cook step-by-step with are those we follow online. One of our favorites? Sohla El-Waylly.

Like many of the culinary creators we follow, Sohla El-Waylly is known for whipping things up in her home kitchen, using the ingredients she has on hand, and making cooking accessible to all. 

Sohla is a culinary creator, writer, video producer, and community advocate. She made the cover of Cherry Bombe magazine (an issue titled “The Future of Food”) and she just put out one of the most anticipated cookbooks of the fall: “Start Here: Instructions for Becoming A Better Cook.”

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“​​In my culinary journey, whether I was in a professional kitchen or just following a recipe, a lot of times someone just tells you to do something,” Sohla El-Waylly says. “They don’t tell you why, they don’t tell you how something works, and I find it very hard to work that way.” We feel the same way at HerMoney — we can advise people on how to budget and invest, but until we break down why we’re doing it, or how it relates to our lives and the broader economy, those financial tips and tricks and steps just aren’t going to stick. 

El-Waylly also offers some of her favorite grocery store hacks — she says she always buys fruits and veggies on sale. “That’s when you know it’s going to be perfect. You see a bag of apples that are on sale, you know they’re going to be super sweet,” she says. On the other hand, she advises avoiding buying meat on sale because “if a package of chicken is on sale, that means it’s on its way out. If you’re going to cook it that same day, that’s okay — but oftentimes that’s not how you end up shopping.”

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Her best advice for avoiding food waste is to use what you have on hand and be flexible. For example, she says a big area for waste is with greens and herbs because they go bad so quickly. The solution? Get creative and swap parsley for dill if that’s what you have. The same thing goes for root vegetables. If the recipe calls for a beet and you don’t have it on hand, you can use a carrot. “So if I’m out of soy, I can just reach for another salty thing like miso, and I know I’ll be okay. Thinking about food in categories can make it easier for you to stock your pantry, and use what you have.” 

Lastly, in Mailbag,  we hear from a listener who’s wondering how to choose 529 accounts for her grandchildren in different states, and someone who’s wondering if her credit score will be affected by selling her house after a divorce. For our money tip of the week, we go over the 28/36 rule, and explain how to make sure you don’t get denied by a lender when you’re buying a home. 


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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