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7 Creative Ways To Use Food Leftovers So They Don't Go To Waste

Are you constantly cooking for six when there’s only 4 of you? Or ordering too much takeout when there’s only two of you at home?

You’re not alone, and you’re probably left with more food leftovers than you can imagine. But don’t worry – you don’t have to subject yourself to having the same, boring leftovers for the rest of the week. 

And no, the solution isn’t to throw it out.

Much like how you love your IKEA hacks and furniture upcycling ideas, food leftovers can also be upcycled into different and equally as delicious meals. 

As long as you store your leftovers the right way – think freezer meals – it’s easier than you think to get creative in the kitchen with your food leftovers. And finally, if you find that your food leftovers have gone bad, there are always sustainable ways to deal with it, such as composting

But before you go down the composting route, let’s explore some creative ways for you to make a new meal out of your leftovers.

1. Toss It Into A Salad

Making a salad out of your leftover dishes is easy, especially when you have extra cuts of chicken, potatoes, and other items perfect to be made into a salad. Just cut them into smaller, bite-sized cubes and you’re good to go. 

Always remember to reheat your leftovers properly even though you’ll be putting it into a salad, because you want to kill any existing bacteria on it.

2. Stuff It Into A Sandwich

Leftover pulled meat always makes a good sandwich the day after, because of all the extra flavour that has been absorbed into it. Even if you have leftover meatball pasta, it’ll make for a delicious filling for your sandwich. 

After all, having a sandwich lunch the following day is always an easy, convenient option.

3. Make It A Pasta Topping

Italian grandmothers might roll in their graves, but you don’t have to feel too guilty about making a pasta topping out of your food leftovers.

This might even inspire you to get creative with more leftovers and forgotten food items in the fridge (remember those wilting herbs?). 

Not sure how to begin? Start with leftover vegetables that don’t have much sauce or gravy on them to begin with, pulse them in a food processor and mix it into bolognese sauce – it’ll give you the vegetable boost you need. 

Got extra chilli? Mix it in with some pasta and you’ll have a new dish to serve! Leftover meat also goes well with a standard tomato sauce pasta dish.

4. Turn It Into A Casserole

The beauty of making a casserole is that you never really get the exact same dish each time, and that’s okay.

It’s the perfect dish to make out of your mishmash of food leftovers with a guarantee that it’ll turn out good. 

Any combination of ingredients works for a casserole. You can go classic with tuna and peas or chicken with rice and mushrooms. Just be sure to have one main ingredient, a secondary ingredient with a contrasting texture, a starchy ingredient such as rice or potatoes, and a binding ingredient such as cream soup or white sauce. 

Throw in some other flavourful condiments such as olives or almonds to take your casserole to the next level, and you’ll have yourself a brand new dish made from leftovers.

5. Fill It Into A Wrap Or Burrito

Much like a sandwich, turning your food leftovers into a wrap or burrito is an easy yet delicious way to repurpose your food.

Burritos are great if you have leftover rice that you need to use before it goes stale, to go with whatever leftovers you have sitting around in the fridge

With a wrap, it’s your food leftovers minus the rice. It’s so easy to throw together because anything goes – it can be a vegetarian-based wrap with all your leftover veggies or a meaty one with chicken, pork, and beef. You can’t go wrong here.

6. Make A Frittata Out Of It

Similar to a casserole, you can toss in just about anything among your hodgepodge of leftovers into a frittata and it’ll still taste great. A frittata is also great if you have eggs that you need to cook before its best-by date, making it a great combination with your food leftovers. 

Simply cut your leftovers into smaller cubed sizes, stir in beaten eggs and cream, and you’ll have yourself a nice, warm frittata for your next meal. 

Don’t forget that making new dishes out of your food leftovers means you’re living a more sustainable, zero-waste life. If you’re packing these for lunch the next day, keep the zero-waste effort going by wrapping them up in a nice DIY bento bag made out of cloth scraps. 

For instructions on how to make them, we’ve got the perfect tutorial right here: