Reducing Food Waste with Refreshed Leftovers

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Leftovers Pasta SaladRepurposing your leftovers is a helpful way to waste less in the kitchen. Bonus: these recipes are quick and simple.

40 million tons of food are wasted each year in this country. That’s 30-40% of our entire food supply. Making the most out of your ingredients is one of many ways to reduce waste at home.

The common misconception with leftovers is that you’re stuck eating the same thing for meals on end. If that sounds appealing to you, great – this should be a breeze for you! If it sounds a bit monotonous, you’re in the right place. Our friend and founder of Meal Prep Chef, Alyssa Gagarin created a few simple recipes to showcase how to transform leftovers with the addition of just a few fresh ingredients: a few leaves of Butterhead, a dash of Green Goddess or a sprinkle of fresh basil.

Use these recipes as a roadmap and experiment with different recipe combinations. You’re already on your way to becoming a more waste-conscious cook.

Leftovers Pasta Salad Leftovers Pasta Salad

Ingredient Suggestions

  • Leftover pasta or other grains (barley, rice, farro, etc.)
  • Older, or leftover veggies
  • Leftover protein 
  • Gotham Greens Dressing
  • Optional add-ons: olives, capers, roasted red pepper, nuts or seeds, lemon, lettuce, herbs
  1. Gather leftover components to combine.

    • Pasta or other grain
    • Veggies
    • Protein
    • Gotham Greens Dressing 
    • Try to think in terms of texture too. For example, if your protein and pasta and soft, try and find some crunchy leftover veggies. 
  2. Mix pasta, veggies and protein with Gotham Greens Dressing.
  3. Add some bonus pantry or freezer items to level up: olives, capers, roasted red pepper, nuts, etc.
  4. Add something fresh to liven and brighten.
    • Citrus juice or zest
    • A bed of greens
    • Chopped, fresh herbs

Check out Alyssa’s version of Leftovers Pasta Salad!

Leftovers Loaded Sweet Potato

Ingredient Suggestions

  • Sweet potatoes (or any kind of potato)
  • Leftover anything! A few combination ideas to inspire you:
    • Beans and corn
    • Carrots and peas
    • Broccoli and cheese
    • Shredded chicken
    • Tomato, pesto and mozzarella
  • Gotham Greens Dressing or Pesto

    Leftovers Sweet Potato

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  2. Use a fork to puncture potatoes on all sides. Drizzle with olive oil and coat potato. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Bake in oven for 40-60 min depending on the size of your potato. When it’s ready, you should be able to easy poke a fork in.
  4. Slice potato in half and scoop out a little to mash. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Chop leftovers accordingly.
  6. Add dressing or pesto to potato mash and add in leftovers. Mix up filling and season to taste.
  7. Stuff filling back into potato.
  8. Drizzle with dressing or pesto.
  9. Finish with fresh toppings to add some life: citrus zest, chopped herbs, jalapenos, pickled veg etc.

Check out Alyssa’s version of Leftovers Loaded Sweet Potatoes.  

Leftovers Lettuce Wraps

Leftovers Lettuce Wraps Alyssa

Ingredient Suggestions

  1. Make the filling: Place hearty veggies in a food processor with nuts/seeds. Pulse a few times to chop and combine.
    • If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender, or finely chop ingredients and mix in a bowl. 
  2. Season with salt and Gotham Greens Dressing. Set filling aside.
  3. Layout Butterhead leaves on a plate (Alyssa uses two leaves per wrap for reinforcement). Place larger toppings, like tomatoes, on wraps.
  4. Heat up veggie filling (or leave it cold) and scoop onto lettuce wrap.
  5. Add finishing toppings, like sliced avocado or pickled onion on top.
  6. Finish with a drizzle of dressing.

Check out Alyssa’s version of Leftovers Lettuce Wraps.  

Alyssa Gagarin is the founder & owner of Meal Prep Chef and on-camera personality. Check out Alyssa’s YouTube Channel or cook along with her on the Food Network Kitchen App.


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