Low Waste Cooking Hacks with Sohla El-Waylly

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

We all love scrolling 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. While we still love the Food Network for a little company in the background, for the most part, the people we cook with step-by-step are the ones we follow online. One of our favorites? Sola El-Waley.

Like many of the culinary creatives 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 everyone.

Sohla is a culinary creator, writer, video producer and community advocate. She graced the cover of Cherry Bombe magazine (an issue titled “The Future of Food”) and just released one of the most anticipated cookbooks of the fall: “Start here: Instructions on how to become 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,” says Sola El-Waley. “They don’t tell you why, they don’t tell you how something works, and it’s very hard for me to work that way.” We feel the same way at HerMoney – we can advise people on how to budget and invest, but until we go broke why we do, or how it relates to our lives and the economy as a whole, these financial tips, tricks and steps just won’t stick.

El-Waylly also offers some of her favorite grocery store hacks—she says she always buys fruits and vegetables on sale. “Then you know it’s going to be perfect. You see a bag of apples for 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 about to go. If you’re going to cook it the same day, that’s fine, but often that’s not the way you shop.”

I’M LISTENING: Eat better, save more money on food

Her best tip for avoiding food waste is to use what you have on hand and be flexible. For example, she says a large waste area is with vegetables and herbs because they spoil so quickly. The solution? Be creative and replace the parsley with dill if you have it. The same goes for root crops. If the recipe calls for beets and you don’t have them on hand, you can use carrots. “So if I run out of soy, I can just reach for another salty thing like miso and I know I’ll be fine. Thinking about food in categories can make it easier to stock your pantry and use what you have.

Finally, on Mailbag, we hear from a listener wondering how to choose 529 accounts for her grandkids in different states, and someone wondering if her credit score will be affected by selling her house after a divorce. For our Money Tip of the Week, we look at the 28/36 rule and explain how to make sure a lender doesn’t turn you down when buying a home.


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