Does this sound familiar?
Sunday: This week, I’ll finally eat healthily! I’ve just done a grocery shop so, I’ll make delicious and nourishing dinners every night with fresh produce, create vegetable-filled lunches every day, and I know that I’ll feel amazing, have so much energy, and suddenly, my skin and life will be problem-free.
Real you on a Monday evening: It’s 8 pm. You’re tidying up the dinner you made, and the last thing you feel like doing is making a whole dish for lunch tomorrow.
Tuesday night: Takeaways it is.
If you ever have lovely intentions to cook and use all of the food you buy in a week, and then find it’s Friday night and you’ve had takeaway every night this week, you’re not alone.
But, let’s get one thing straight – cooking, eating healthily and not wasting produce doesn’t have to be so complicated, time wasting (or expensive).
Let's go through some tips to understand how to use and store leftovers. Trust me when I say that the future you will thank you!
- Plan your meals. I know it may sound a little dull or like it takes effort, but think about what you want to eat at the start of the week. Then, think about how you can use those leftovers. It’s a time and budget saver in the long run. For example, if you prepare double the vegetables you need for dinner; you’ll then be able to eat them for lunch the next day or cook them in a soup another night.
- Store food in clear glass containers. Using a glass storage container makes it easier to see what’s inside so, you’ll be more likely to use the food you already have.
- If you’re freezing foods, use a zip-lock bag and put the date on a piece of tape, so you know when it was made.
- Before you serve dinner, put some away in a container for lunch the next day. We often just eat what’s in front of us so, if you put some away beforehand, you’re more likely to be left with enough food for leftovers.
Here are my favourite ways to repurpose your foods.
- Homemade Stock
You know what they say – one man’s trash is another man’s vegetable stock. Instead of throwing away perfect vegetable scraps, like the ends of onions or a tomato core, stow them away for delicious homemade vegetable stock. Keep a stock container in the freezer and add to it whenever you cook something new to use in future recipes.
Here’s my delicious Best Ever Vegetable Stock recipe.
Soup is an excellent way to use up leftover vegetables. Whether you have leftover carrot, potato, tomato or greens, throw them all into your next soup.
- Baked Vegetable Bowl
While this one sounds a little fancy, it’s just a bowl filled with deliciously nourishing ingredients you have lying around. These flawless bowls are bouncing with whatever vegetables you have leftover, any protein you like, grains, greens, nuts and seeds. Everything and anything goes.
For inspiration, you can’t go past my Bohemian Baked Vegetable Bowl.
- Bone Broth
Have you ever cooked chicken for a family of four and accidentally cooked enough for a whole village? Same.
If you’ve roasted an entire chicken, turkey, pork, lamb or fish, and have too much leftover, why not cook it into a warming broth?
Whenever I have leftover chicken, I’ll throw it into my slow cooker with celery, carrots and spices to make a gut-healing broth.
Depending on the week, I’ll either portion it out into containers and keep it in the freezer or just store it away in the fridge and drink it as is. I love my Beef Pho Broth, and my Gut Healing Turmeric Chicken Broth is forever a winner.
- Family Pizza
If you’re looking to healthify your favourite food, why not turn your leftover eggplant, wrap, sliced sweet potato or mushroom top into a pizza base?
I love spreading tomato sauce over any of these vegetables, adding leftover veg, some cheese and protein and baking it in the oven for 10-12 minutes. If you want to make your own fancy base and add leftover vegetables on top instead, head over here for a pizza recipe the whole family will love. Or it's easy to buy a gluten free pizza base to use as well.
Whenever I make a stir-fry for dinner, I always tell myself to do it more often because it’s just so quick and easy. Making a stir-fry with leftovers is one of the simplest things you can do and is perfect for lazier nights.
If you're wondering about the cheats quick and easy version, all you need to do is just sauté whatever protein you have, leftover vegetables, ginger and spices in a pan with tamari, serve it with rice or quinoa, and you’re ready for a delicious meal in less than thirty minutes. If you want to diversi-fry you’re stir-fry, my Beef Stir-Fry with Peaches is one that’ll impress even the harshest of critics.
If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ll know that I love smoothies because of their chuck-in-abilities (I know that’s not a word, but just roll with me).
My favourite smoothies always happen when I just randomly throw fruit, leafy greens, chia seeds, water or milk and gut-healing powder (I’ve heard Love Your Gut powder or Golden Gut Blend is great ;)) into your blender and watch a smoothie swirl to life.
Right now, I’m loving this smoothie.
Okay, okay, maybe it’s time to wrap it up. I may not be the best rapper, but at least I’m a great wrapper.
To make a delicious homemade wrap, use either a leftover wrap, nori or lettuce leaf and fill it with leftover veggies, protein and a homemade sauce. Try my Vegetable Nori Wraps here.
- Banana Bread
This is a petition to stop throwing good, ripe bananas in the bin!
Ripe bananas are ideal for banana bread, and banana bread is ideal for everyone. When my bananas start to brown, I’ll either use them in this banana bread recipe.
Or I’ll peel and store them in a glass container in the freezer to use for future banana bread or banana-based smoothies like this one which is a great Gut Immunity Smoothie.
Do you know what I love about pesto? You can make it with literally any dark green vegetable or herb you have – coriander, kale, basil, or mint can all be turned into a scrumptious pesto. Just blend up your herbs, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and some salt and pepper. I use pesto as a dip or add it to my pasta, salad or protein of choice.
If you’re looking for a delightful new recipe to utilise your leftover vegetables, you can’t go past my Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato with Basil Pesto and Chopped Salad. It’s a perfectly adaptable recipe that shines excellently on its own.
While this one sounds a little fancy, it’s just a bowl filled with deliciously nourishing ingredients you have lying around. These flawless bowls are bouncing with whatever vegetables you have leftover, any protein you like, grains, greens, nuts and seeds. They remind of the amazing Veestro meals. Everything and anything goes.
Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato with Basil Pesto and Chopped Salad
- One sweet potato halved lengthwise
- 2 tbs olive oil plus extra for dressing salad (or use olive oil spray)
- Pinch sea salt
- 2 cups leafy greens
- 1 cucumber chopped into cubes
- Handful of cherry tomatoes halved
- 4 baby capsicum (optional) chopped into cubes
- Handful of seeds such as pepitas and sunflower seeds
Basil Pesto (makes one jar)
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice plus a small bit of zest
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp Celtic Sea Salt
- Heat oven to 185 degrees Celsius.
- Place sweet potato on the baking tray, spray with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place in the oven for 45 mins or until tender.
- Half way through cooking, use a fork to make grooves along the sweet potato.
- Place basil in food processor and process.
- Add nuts, garlic, lemon and nutritional yeast flakes and salt and pulse.
- Slowly drizzle in olive oil until consistency is as you like it.
- Add more olive oil if necessary.
- Place leafy greens in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, sprinkle with seeds and add a drizzle of olive oil and lemon if preferred.
Serve all together and store the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Why not give this recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments section below?