I believe that in every household leftovers are a fact of everyday life. It so happens that you cooked a big pot of your favourite meal, but now it’s the third day and you crave something different for dinner but you wouldn’t want to waste all that leftover food.
I get it, I’ve been there too.
At first, I too had a hard time coming up with new ways of transforming leftovers into a new delicious dish. But now, the years of experience I’ve got while cooking for my boys have helped me become something of a “leftover master”.
If you’re wondering now if you can do that too, even if you don’t have much cooking experience or if you’re cooking just for yourself, I’m here to tell you this: cooking with leftovers is all about simple recipes.
There should be no fuss when it comes to leftovers. That’s why I’ve rounded up my favourite ways of using leftovers to create a yummy dish in no time and I will share them with you today.
Let’s get started.
How to cook with leftovers
The first step is to see what you’re working with, what leftovers you have in your fridge. Here’s what I usually have around in my kitchen and how I give them a new purpose:
❏ Leftover Vegetables
Leftover vegetables can be easily turned into a pureed soup regardless of whether we’re talking about leftover tomatoes, broccoli, celery, potatoes, zucchini or carrots. Even cauliflower, if you have some left.
One recipe that I usually use in this case is cauliflower and celery soup. If you have some cauliflower in the fridge, you probably have everything else you will need for this healthy vegetarian dish. It will take you no more than half an hour and it will be the quickest lunch meal you’ve ever made. You can top it with crusty bread or roasted cauliflower crisps.
Another great suggestion for you is that if you also have some leftover rice, you can go ahead and prepare some vegetable fried rice. You can eat it on its own or add it as a garnish to your lunch/dinner.
❏ Leftover Pasta
You had one of those Italian cozy dinners with your friends last night and now you don’t know what you’re going to do with all this pasta that you have left in the pan. And there’s not enough sauce either.
No worries! You can use the leftover cooked pasta for a delicious and easy to make pasta salad. Add a quick homemade garlic zesty dressing and you’ve got yourself the perfect side dish for a barbecue or your go-to vegetarian brunch/ lunch.
❏ Leftover Eggs
Have you got a lot of eggs in your fridge from the cake you baked a few days ago and you’re struggling to use them up while they’re fresh?
I’ve got you! You have to try this caramelised onion quiche recipe for your lunch. This sweet and savoury dish is simply delicious thanks to the caramelised onions which go great with the sharp cheddar. (Did I also mention it’s vegetarian-friendly?).
Moreover, you can freeze it for about 3 months. To do this, cool the baked quiche completely, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer.
❏ Leftover Hummus
These dinner rolls are great to serve at a party (or your kids’ sleepover) and will surely be enjoyed by everyone. Not to mention, they’re super easy to make—just 3 steps to follow and you’re done.
Another way to repurpose your leftover hummus would be hummus bruschetta—the perfect choice for a light and healthy breakfast. My favourite combination is hummus topped with fresh herbs and toasted pine nuts for extra flavour.
❏ Leftover Labneh
Leftover labneh is also a versatile ingredient to work with. For once, you can make these labneh dinner rolls which are just perfect for any gatherings you have coming up. Also, they’re great for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea as they are light and filled with fresh healthy vegetables.
The other idea would be to spice things up and transform the simple dip into a beetroot labneh. Garnished with some pistachio, this can be a great exotic dip to impress your guests with.
❏ Leftover Roast Lamb
Turn lamb roast into lamb burgers for your movie night with this simple recipe:
- Slightly toast your burger buns.
- Shred the lamb and place over some fresh rocket.
- Add a slice of cheese on top. (optional)
- Drizzle the burgers with a simple chilli sauce.
❏ Leftover Avocado
Don’t let your avocado turn brown and mushy, turn it into a delicious chunky dip.
Chop the avocado and mix it with chopped spring/red onions, chopped red chilli, finely chopped tomatoes, a splash of lemon juice, and a bit of coriander.
If you love avocado as much as I do, you won’t regret giving this recipe a try.
What do you do when your bananas start turning brown? You have two options: either you toss it into a blender together with other fruits you have around the kitchen and make yourself a smoothie or you roll up your sleeves and you bake a loaf of delicious banana bread.
I usually go with the second option—this way you have something to drink your tea or coffee with.
❏ Leftover Sponge Cake
Do you have some leftover sponge cake in the freezer?
Take it out and treat yourself with this easy chocolate & vanilla trifle. Trust me, it tastes even better than it looks.
❏ Leftover Cheese
Your latest gathering was a success but you still have around some leftover cheese from your grazing board.
Save your leftovers
As you have seen, sometimes all you need to do is just look at a leftover with a fresh perspective and consider what else it can become.
So make sure you keep your leftovers around for a while rather than throw them out. A new recipe idea is always just around the corner.
What’s your favourite leftover recipe?