Did you know that you can actually reuse your meals' leftovers in a variety of clever ways? It's true! By reusing leftovers, you can help reduce food waste, save money on groceries, and get creative in the kitchen. Here are seven of our favorite ways to reuse leftovers.
1. Reheating frozen leftover
Cover with a lid and use low heat (on stove, oven, or microwave).
When hydrating your goods, put a lid or foil on top; that way, it will simmer and hydrate everything harmoniously.
To re-hydrate vegetables, place them in a bowl or on the stove in a pan of water or just put them right into a simmering soup.
Add a little amount of Water for Hydration. It is probably the easiest way to reuse your meals' leftovers.
Re-hydrate. Don’t worry; freeze-dried goods will soak up the right amount of moisture–you can’t over-hydrate.
Most fruit is delicious without being re-hydrated, but re-hydrated fruits like apples and berries are great for pies, smoothies, and so much more. Or, put fruits right into your vegan yogurt and oatmeal on your breakfast fruit bowl, and they’ll rehydrate on their own.
Entrees like dried lasagna can be rehydrated with steam if you want them to retain their shape. It will taste the same as before you freeze-dried it; it just might not look as pretty.
When re-hydrating side dishes such as soup, stuffing, or mashed potatoes, add hot water little by little until you have the desired consistency.
Remember, everyone does things just a little differently, so there’s no right or wrong way to rehydrate your freeze-dried food.
3. Add some extra Spices, oil, and/or salt
Pretty straightforward, sometimes this helps, mainly because you may not have the same components of a dish. For example, maybe you have the rice leftovers and not the beans.
I love adding olive oil, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of garlic powder to my leftover white rice. Quick snack! This Rice Cauliflower is a good example.
4. Make stews and soups in batches
5. Hard bread
Grind and make Croutons, breaded eggplants or make bread pudding. Ground hard bread is needed to make the delicious Muhammara, a delicious Middle-Eastern roasted bell pepper spread. It is sort of the Hummus cousin.
6. Leftover or ugly veggies
Make a delicious vegetable stock for your next Risotto instead of using a chemical flavor enhancer cube.
And…Save while Reducing Waste!
7. Stems and rinds
Another way to reuse meal leftovers is using vegetable stems such as Kale for your juices like this green juice. They pack a lot of nutrients, and you can extract that value.
After making a watermelon smoothie or eating it, we use the rinds to make a watermelon rind gazpacho. We also use pineapple peels to make traditional "Agua de Piña" (Pineapple Water, a hydrating, zero-calorie, and delicious drink) or Pineapple Horchata with rice.
When using the broccoli or cauliflower florets for a given recipe, like Cauli Wings, you can save the stems and add them to vegetable curry or a vegan chickpea avocado and broccoli salad, chopped into cubes. They have a lot of nutrients and flavor.
Your curry won't look as beautiful so I wouldn't do it for dinner with friends, but we use the stems for our regular lunch curries.
If you like making the best out of your food and no-waste cooking, you have a check at our Carrot Greens Pesto, also on this site.
More Cooking Tips?
More ways to reduce food waste.
So, what can you do to reduce your food waste? Here are a few tips: plan ahead, make a grocery list and stick to it, cook simple meals with leftovers in mind, use your ugly veggies in stews and pestos, and compost your organic waste. These small steps will help you reduce your food waste and save money on groceries. What other tips can you share for reducing food waste during the holidays?