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Leftover Veggies

Leftover veggies make great meals in minutes. Here are some quick and simply delicious ideas for how to use them up.

Leftover Veggie Soups

Cooked leftover veggies: Put all your leftover veggies in a blender or food processor with a teaspoon of onion granules or dried onion, a good pinch of dried mixed herbs and enough vegetable or chicken stock to cover by about 5cm. Whiz until smooth and season to taste. Heat in a saucepan and serve piping hot with some grated cheese on top, if liked, for added richness, add a couple of heaped tablespoons of dried milk powder before whizzing. For added flavour, add a teaspoon of harissa paste or some ground cumin (especially good with root vegetables).

Raw tired fridge veggies: Wash, then scrub or peel them if absolutely necessary. Trim and cut in small, even sized pieces. Outer leaves of cabbage or leeks can go in too – anything that’s not good enough to prepare and cook as a veggie in its own right. Cover with vegetable or chicken stock and add a bay leaf or bouquet garni and some seasoning. Add a couple of handfuls of red lentils. Bring to the boil stir, part-cover, reduce the heat and simmer until everything is tender (or put in the pressure cooker, bring up to pressure and cook for 5 minutes). Discard herbs. Blend. Taste, re-season and serve hot.

Leftover Veggies in the Frying Pan

Vegetable Frittata: Heat enough olive oil to cover the base of a non-stick frying pan. Add diced or sliced cooked potatoes, chopped, cooked greens, diced cooked carrots and a can of drained sweet corn. Add a good pinch of dried oregano and some salt and pepper. Fry stirring for 2-3 minutes.  Beat 2 eggs per person with a splash of milk. Pour over. Lift and stir gently until beginning to set around the edges over a medium heat. Sprinkle with grated cheese or crumbled pieces of cheese, if liked (or leave plain). Cover with a lid and cook until golden underneath and just set. Place the pan under the grill to brown the top. Serve cut in wedges.

Vegetable Curry: Brown a diced onion in a little oil. Add a crushed garlic clove (or a teaspoon of garlic paste) and a good spoonful of Madras curry paste. Cook for about 30 seconds until everything is really fragrant. Stir in about 300ml water and a good spoonful of tomato purée anda spoonful of mango chutney. Bring to the boil, stirring. Add 1/2 block coconut cream and heat gently, stirring until melted and thickened. Fold through any cooked veggies you have, cut into pieces, if necessary (but not too small). Add a drained can of brown or green lentils and season to taste. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, stirring gently occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Serve with basmati rice or popadoms, mango chutney and a good dollop of plain yogurt on top.

Baked Leftover Veggies

Vegetable Filo Pie: Brush a shallow, oblong baking dish with melted butter or oil. Line with a sheet of filo pastry. Brush with more butter or oil and add another sheet. Repeat with a third sheet. Dice any cooked vegetables you have. Add a teaspoon ground cinnamon, a can of chopped tomatoes, a can of chick peas, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and some seasoning. Spoon into the dish and scatter a little crumbled Feta cheese over and some sliced, stoned olives. Fold the edges of the pastry over and cover with 3 more layers of filo, brushing with oil or butter between each layer and on top. Bake on a baking sheet in a pre-heated eoven at 200oC/Gas 6 for about 30 minutes or until golden, crisp and piping hot. Serve with a green salad.

Vegetable and Cannellini Lasagne: Mix cooked, diced veggies with a can of chopped tomatoes, a good spoonful of tomato purée, a pinch of caster sugar and about 10 torn basil leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon of dried if necessary). Season well and stir in a drained and rinsed can of cannellini beans. Spoon a little of the mixture in the base of a shallow, oblong baking dish. Add a layer of no-need-to-precook lasagne sheets. Add half the vegetable mix, then another layer of lasagne sheets, then repeat these layers. Make a thick white sauce and stir in a good handful grated Parmesan cheese. Season to taste. Spoon over, then bake in the oven at 190oC/Gas 5 for about 40 minutes until the lasagne is tender. Alternatively, maicrowave on HIGH for about 15 minutes and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

For more great recipes, many using letovers, check out my books.

Carolyn Humphries

I have been a food writer and editor for many years and have written over 60 books. I believe food should be easy to make, look good, taste good and do you good. I am passionate about creating delicious dishes that anyone can cook. I care about where our food comes from too: buying locally grown produce where possible and supporting ethical trading by purchasing Fairtrade imports when home-grown aren’t available.