How to use up leftovers
Make the most of seasonal produce with our smart leftover ideas, from chard baked eggs and walnut pesto to spiced butternut soup, pear salsa and more
Stuck on what to make with leftovers? Want to cut down on waste? Take a look at our ideas on how to reinvent your seasonal leftovers, whether that's turning roast lamb into hummus, spring onions into a flavoured butter or whipping up a pot of nutty walnut pesto. Not only do these recipes allow you to get creative, they're cost-saving and will help reduce your food waste, too.
Left-over vegetable recipes
Spiced rhubarb compote (makes 1 jar)
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Add 400g trimmed and chopped forced rhubarb and toss with 150g of golden caster sugar, the zest and juice of 1 orange, 1 split and scraped vanilla pod, 2 crushed cardamom pods, 1 star anise and 2 tsp of finely grated ginger. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 20-25 mins or until the rhubarb is tender and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool, remove the cardamom, vanilla pods and the star anise, and mix everything together. Transfer to a jar. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Check out more rhubarb recipes.
Honey and rosemary roasted swede wedges (serves 4)
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Peel and chop 1 large swede into chunky wedges. Toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of rosemary leaves. Season and arrange on a lined baking tray. Bake for 30 mins, turning halfway through, until golden. Remove from the oven and drizzle over 2 tbsp of runny honey. Toss together and return to the oven for 10 mins until golden.
Sage, leek and pecan stuffing (serves 4)
Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a large frying pan. Cook 3 finely chopped leeks until softened, then leave to cool. Put 400g of sausagemeat, 100g of finely chopped pecans, 100g of breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp of finely chopped sage and the leeks in a bowl. Season, then shape into balls and transfer to a baking tray. Spray with oil then bake for 20 mins at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 until golden. Discover more leek recipes.
Purple sprouting broccoli
Purple sprouting broccoli with anchovies and a poached egg (serves 2)
Put 230g of purple sprouting broccoli in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tsp of olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Cook in a hot griddle pan for 4-6 mins or until charred and just tender. Meanwhile, put 1 tbsp of olive oil in another frying pan over a medium heat and, once hot, add a drained 50g tin of anchovies. Cook, stirring often, until the anchovies have melted, then stir in a good squeeze of lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper. Arrange the broccoli on two plates then drizzle with the anchovy oil, a poached (or fried) egg and more freshly ground black pepper. Check out more purple sprouting broccoli recipes.
Harissa sweet potato soup (serves 4)
Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Poke 3-4 sweet potatoes (about 600g) with a fork, wrap in foil and bake for 1 hr. Cool to room temperature. Once cool, halve the sweet potatoes, scrape out the flesh and set aside. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 1 finely chopped onion, carrot and celery stick, along with 2 minced garlic cloves, and fry for 5 mins until softened. Add 2 tbsp of harissa paste and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the sweet potato along with 700ml of vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins. Remove from the heat, blitz, then stir in a squeeze of lemon juice, season and garnish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Here's more sweet potato recipes.
Cauliflower pizzas (serves 2)
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put 4 cauliflower steaks, each about 11/2cm thick, on a large baking tray. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil, season and roast for 25 mins, turning halfway. Heat the grill to medium-high. Spread 1 tbsp of tomato purée over one side of each cauliflower steak and add a few slices of mozzarella. Sprinkle with dried oregano and top with a few pepperoni slices. Transfer to the grill and cook for 2-3 mins or until the cheese melts and the pepperoni begins to crisp. Garnish with basil leaves and serve. Discover more cauliflower recipes.
Grilled Savoy slaw (serves 4)
Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Discard the outer leaves of a small Savoy cabbage and cut through the core into wedges. Toss in 1 tbsp of olive oil, then griddle for a few mins on each side until charred on the outside but still raw inside. Remove, cool, then finely slice, discarding the core, and put in a large bowl. Add 2 julienned carrots, 1 finely sliced red onion and a small handful each of finely chopped dill and flat-leaf parsley. Combine 50g of mayonnaise, 50g of soured cream, 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar and 1⁄2 tsp of sugar in a small bowl, and toss through the vegetables, seasoning to taste. Here's more cabbage recipes.
Carrot, orange and cumin soup
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan and add 1 roughly chopped onion and two minced garlic cloves, frying over a medium-low heat for 6-8 mins or until softened. Add 1⁄2 tsp of ground cumin and continue to cook for a further minute. Add 700g of peeled and chopped carrots and 1 litre of vegetable stock, and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 20-25 mins or until the carrots are tender. Use a stick blender to whizz until smooth – if it’s too smooth, add a splash more water. Stir in 100ml of freshly squeezed orange juice. Season to taste, divide among bowls and top with a dollop of yogurt and toasted cumin seeds. Check out more carrot recipes.
Beetroot and blueberry smoothie
Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Peel and chop a beetroot into chunks and put into a colander. Put the colander over the water, reduce to a simmer and cover, steaming for 20 mins or until very tender. Leave to cool. Add to a blender with 100g of frozen blueberries, 10g of peeled and chopped ginger and the juice of 1 orange, topping up with just enough water to blend until smooth. Discover more beetroot recipes.
Spiced celeriac soup (serves 4)
Fry 1 finely chopped onion, 4 finely chopped garlic cloves and a finely chopped knob of ginger in 75g of butter in a large pan over a medium heat for 10 mins until softened. Add 1 tbsp of cumin seeds, 1 tbsp of black mustard seeds, 1 tsp of dried chilli flakes and cook for 1 min. Add 1 peeled and diced celeriac along with a 400ml tin of coconut milk and 200ml of water. Cook for 20 mins until the celeriac is really soft, then blend with a stick blender until smooth. Season and squeeze in the juice of 1⁄2 a lime. Spoon into bowls and scatter over a few coriander leaves. Check out more celeriac recipes.
Sprout spaghetti (serves 2)
Heat 3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over a low-medium heat and fry 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves for 2 mins to gently soften, then add 100g of shredded brussels sprouts. Cook gently for 10 mins until softened. Meanwhile, cook 200g of spaghetti in a pan of salted water until al dente. Use tongs to transfer the spaghetti to the sprout pan along with a little of the pasta cooking water. Add 1⁄2 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper and 50g of finely grated parmesan, and toss to combine. Divide between two plates and top with more grated parmesan. Find more sprout recipes.
Spiced pickled shallots
Soak 500g of round shallots in a bowl of just-boiled water, leave to cool, then drain, trim the bases and peel, taking away the first layer. Put the shallots in a bowl, sprinkle with 50g of salt and leave for 6-7 hrs, stirring occasionally. Rinse the shallots and dry with some kitchen paper. Put 200ml of malt vinegar, 200ml of white wine vinegar, 50g of caster sugar, 1½ tsp of yellow mustard seeds, 1½ tsp of whole black peppercorns, 3 cloves and ½ tsp of dried chilli flakes in a pan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Leave to cool slightly. Pack the shallots into two 500ml sterilised jars and add two bay leaves to each. Pour the hot vinegar over the shallots and seal immediately. Leave to sit for at least a week before eating.
Spiced butternut soup
Dice 1 peeled and deseeded butternut squash and tip onto a large roasting tray with 1 tbsp of cumin seeds and 2 tsp of dried chilli flakes, 3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Roast in the oven at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 40 mins, tossing halfway, until cooked through and caramelised. Meanwhile, fry 1 finely chopped onion, 4 garlic cloves and a thumb-sized piece of finely chopped ginger in a pan with 1 tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt for 10 mins until soft. Tip in the cooked butternut, 750ml of chicken stock and use a stick blender to whizz until smooth. Spoon into bowls and top with coriander. Check out more butternut squash recipes.
Tip 200g of chopped kale into a large bowl and squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon with some seasoning. Massage the kale with clean hands and leave for 20 mins. Meanwhile whizz 50g of finely grated parmesan, 4 anchovy fillets, 3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 tsp of crushed black peppercorns and 75ml of water in a high-powered blender. Tip into the kale, toss well and top with more parmesan. Take a look at more kale recipes.
Fresh tomato curry
Sizzle 1 tsp each of cumin and fennel seeds in a little vegetable oil, then add 2 tsp of garlic and ginger paste. Add 1 tsp each of ground coriander, ground turmeric and garam masala. Fry for a few mins before adding 500g of mixed tomatoes, cut into wedges if large, or kept whole if small. Simmer until the tomatoes start breaking down, adding a splash of water if it gets too dry. Add a 400g tin of coconut milk and simmer for 20 mins until thickened. Season and add a little lemon juice. Serve with roti and a dollop of natural yogurt. For more ideas check out our best tomato recipes.
Chard baked eggs
Fry a few handfuls of sliced chard in a little olive oil in a frying pan until wilted. Add 1 crushed garlic clove and fry for 1 min more. Stir in 3 tbsp of soft cheese, a grating of nutmeg and a splash of water to make a creamy sauce. Make two holes in the chard and crack in 2 eggs. Cover with a lid and cook slowly for 6-8 mins or until the whites are cooked. Serve with buttered toast. We have more chard recipes for you to discover.
Lettuce salsa verde
Put any left-over lettuce in a food processor along with capers, lemon zest and juice, flat-leaf parsley, dijon mustard, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and some seasoning, and whizz until smooth. Serve with roast lamb. Find more lettuce recipes.
Peeled courgette salad
Use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to peel several courgettes into long, thin strips. Whisk together a few tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a small crushed garlic clove, finely chopped red chilli and a little seasoning. Mix the dressing with the courgettes and serve on a platter with a handful of mint leaves scattered over. See more courgette recipes here.
Smoked spring onion and chilli butter
Toss a few whole spring onions in a drizzle of oil and season. Char on the BBQ or in a griddle pan for 10-15 mins or until charred and tender. Finely chop, then stir through softened unsalted butter along with a few pinches of smoked paprika, 1 tsp of chipotle chilli paste and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Smother over soda bread, crumpets or savoury pancakes. Check out more ways to use up spring onion with our spring onion recipes.
Watercress and walnut pesto
Whizz a handful of watercress in a food processor with a small handful of toasted walnuts, 1 garlic clove, a squeeze of lemon juice and a chunk of parmesan, grated. Slowly drizzle in enough olive oil while pulsing to form a thick paste, then season well. Stir into cooked pasta, toss with boiled baby new potatoes or spoon over natural yogurt for a quick dip. Find more watercress recipes here, then check out more of our pesto recipes.
Toss quartered strawberries with a little caster sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of finely chopped tarragon. Toss well and leave to macerate for 20 mins, then serve with cream or ice cream.
Left-over fruit recipes
Pistachio and orange energy balls (makes 24)
Briefly blitz 150g of shelled pistachio nuts and 100g of blanched almonds in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add 10 medjool dates, 50g of runny honey, the zest of 1 orange, 1⁄4 tsp of ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Blitz again until everything is finely broken down. Using damp hands, roll tablespoons of the mixture into 24 balls. Keeps in the fridge in an airtight container between sheets of baking paper for up to a week.
Cinnamon apple crisps (serves 1-2)
Heat the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Thinly slice 1 apple, preferably Braeburn, into rounds. Toss with 1⁄2 tsp of ground cinnamon. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the apples slices in a single layer – use two trays if necessary. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40 mins until crisp.
Apple and peanut butter
Cut 1 apple into quarters, remove the core then cut each quarter in half lengthways. Spoon 1 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter onto a plate, and spread each piece of apple with the peanut butter for a delicious snack. Take a look at more apple recipes.
Pear, walnut and blue cheese salad (serves 2)
Toss 2 pears, cut into slim wedges with 50g of watercress and a squeeze of lemon juice. Divide between two plates. Top with a handful of chopped toasted walnuts and 50g of crumbled stilton. Whisk together 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar with 1⁄4 tsp of dijon mustard and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle over the salad and serve.
Remove the core from 1 pear and cut into 1cm dice. Toss with 1 finely chopped chilli, 1 finely chopped shallot, the juice of 1 lime, a handful of chopped coriander and a little seasoning. Great with a pork chop. Here are more pear recipes.
Peel, core and chop 2 quinces and tip into a pan with 200ml of water, 100g of sugar, the juice and zest of 1 lemon and a cinnamon stick. Put on a lid and cook gently for 45 mins or until the quinces are very soft. Find more quince recipes.
Spiced pear and pomegranate bircher
Mix 200g of porridge oats, 400ml of oat milk, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and a 1⁄4 tsp of ground cinnamon in a large bowl and stir. Cover and chill overnight. When ready to eat, coarsely grate two peeled and cored pears into the oats. Stir in 150g of dairy-free yogurt. Spoon into bowls, scatter with 40g of pomegranate seeds, 40g of chopped pecans and drizzle with runny honey. Here are more pomegranate recipes.
Clementine and burrata salad (serves 2)
Peel 2 clementines and then slice them horizontally and arrange on a platter. Tear over 2 balls of burrata and scatter over a 90g bag of rocket. Whisk together 1 tsp of dijon mustard, 1 finely chopped shallot, 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar. Spoon onto the salad and serve. Find more clementine recipes.
Roasted figs with mascarpone
Cut 4 figs in half lengthways and lay cut-side up on a baking tray. Scatter over 2 tbsp of demerara sugar and grill for 2-3 mins or until caramelised. Whisk 100ml of double cream, 1 tbsp of icing sugar and 100g of mascarpone until stiff, and serve with the figs. Take a look at more fig recipes.
Stone and roughly chop 10-12 plums. Tip into a baking dish with 2 tbsp of caster sugar, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp of cornflour, and mix well. In a bowl, rub 100g of plain flour with 50g of unsalted butter and 1 tbsp of caster sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top of the plums. Bake in the oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 35-40 mins or until golden on top and bubbling. Check out more plum recipes.
Put 500g of prepared watermelon, 500g of chopped fresh tomatoes, 1 piece of torn white bread, 2 garlic cloves and 1 small chopped onion into a blender, and whizz until smooth. Add 100ml of olive oil, season, and add 1-2 tbsp of red wine vinegar to taste. Chill, then pour into bowls, top with toasted almonds, basil and a drizzle more olive oil. Take a look at more of our watermelon recipes.
Blackberry and goat’s cheese salad
Muddle a handful of blackberries into a jam jar with the end of a rolling pin, then add 3 tbsp of red wine vinegar, 6 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of dijon mustard. Put on the lid and shake well. Pile spinach leaves, beetroot wedges, cucumber slices and a crumbling of soft goat’s cheese onto plates with more blackberries, and spoon over the dressing with a few chopped mint, tarragon and basil leaves to serve. Discover more blackberry recipes.
Toss some chopped nectarines with a thinly sliced long shallot, diced red chilli, plenty of chopped coriander and a few juiced limes. Serve with a steak, corn on the cob and chips, if you like. Find more nectarine recipes.
Left-over nut recipes
Whizz together a 180g vacuum pack of cooked whole chestnuts, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp of tahini, 2 garlic cloves, 40ml of olive oil and enough hot water to create a thick, silky dip. Season to taste. Put in a bowl and serve with crudités. If you want to make this with fresh chestnuts, roast 360g-400g of chestnuts, which should give you the equivalent amount once shelled. Discover more chestnut recipes.
Left-over fish recipes
Miso cod with stir-fry veg (serves 2)
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Combine 1 tbsp of white miso paste, 1⁄2 tbsp of honey, 1⁄2 tbsp of mirin, 1 minced garlic clove and 1 tbsp of soy sauce in large bowl until smooth. Put 2 cod loins on a large baking tray and smear over the paste. Bake for 10-12 mins or until just cooked through. Meanwhile, heat 1⁄2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok over a medium-high heat. Once hot, fry 300g of vegetable stir-fry mixture of your choice following pack instructions. Divide between two plates, top with the cod and garnish with finely sliced spring onions.
Mackerel coronation salad
Make a dressing with equal parts mayonnaise and natural yogurt, a pinch of curry powder, mango chutney and a squeeze of lemon juice. Fold in chunks of cooked, deboned mackerel, sliced celery, sultanas and sliced cucumber. Season. Serve in lettuce cups or a jacket potato. Top with toasted almonds. Find more mackerel recipes.
Left-over meat recipes
Pork belly fried rice (serves 2)
Fry 150g of diced left-over cooked pork belly in a little vegetable oil in a frying pan until really crisp. Scoop out onto a plate with a slotted spoon. Add a 250g rice pouch to the pan along with 1 thinly sliced pepper and 1 thinly sliced carrot. Fry for 3-4 mins or until crisping, then push everything to the side of the pan and crack in 2 eggs. Leave to cook for 1 minute, then scramble them. Add in 75g of frozen peas along with the cooked pork and mix. Add 1 tbsp of chiu chow chilli oil, 2 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of caster sugar, and mix well. Serve topped with thinly sliced springonion. Find more pork belly recipes.
Crispy lamb and pomegranate hummus
Shred left-over lamb shawarma or cooked lamb, then bake in a hot oven until crisp at the edges. Spoon over a bowl of hummus, then top with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, a pinch of toasted cumin seeds and chopped coriander. For more ideas check out our best lamb recipes.
Steak with herby lemon butter (serves 2)
Mix 100g of softened butter with the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tbsp of chopped herbs (go for a mixture of thyme, parsley, tarragon or chives) and a minced garlic clove. Season, roll into a cylinder, then wrap in clingfilm. Transfer to the fridge to firm up. Rub 2 thin-cut steaks with a little oil and some seasoning, then griddle on a high heat for 1 min on each side. Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving with steamed veg and a thick slice of the lemonbutter. We have more steak recipes, too.