Nobody likes leftovers, especially after hosting a large dinner party that could have you and your family eating the same menu for days. Luckily, vegetarian ingredients are often best when incorporated into leftover recipes. Whether you’ve made too much pasta or found yourself with a fridge full of vegetables that need to go, these vegetarian leftover recipes will have you celebrating a reimagined meal.
Bruschetta (find a recipe here) is always a hit at a dinner party, but it may not seem as appetizing after a few days in the fridge. That is, however, when the flavors are at their peak. Breathe new life into day-old tomatoes by heating them with some fresh spaghetti for a quick meal any night of the week. Top the final dish with any leftover Parmesan cheese to enjoy classic Italian flavors and an empty fridge.
Quick Noodle Salad
A noodle salad is a great way to get rid of excess pasta (from bruschetta spaghetti), tofu (from a breakfast scramble), and vegetables (from anything). This leftover recipe is fantastic because it doesn’t require any additional cooking.
Here’s what you need:
- 2 cups leftover spaghetti
- 1 cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 cups cabbage, shredded
- 5 carrots, shredded
- 5 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup (approximately) leftover tofu
Place the leftover pasta into a bowl with your preferred store-bought teriyaki sauce, and toss it well. Continue to add the shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and chopped green onions (toss it after each addition). Reserve a few carrot and onion pieces for garnish. Add the leftover tofu to the salad, and toss gently as to not break up the tofu. Top with the reserved carrots and green onions, and now you’re ready to serve.
Polenta fries are one of the most delicious snacks in the vegetarian arsenal, but, when made from scratch, they take hours to set up. That’s why I love to use this recipe as a leftover. When you make polenta—for a scramble, an Italian meal, or as a side dish—simply double the amount you’re planning for the original meal (four parts liquid to one part polenta), and you’re all set with the base for this delicious french fry alternative.
Marinara Pizza Sauce
Marinara sauce is a staple in my home, but I always make more than I need. Leftover marinara can easily be transformed into a delicious homemade pizza sauce. Simply add one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and half of a teaspoon of dried oregano to every two cups of leftover marinara, and you have a zippy sauce for a make-your-own pizza night or to use as a dip for polenta fries. Below is my recipe for homemade marinara to get you started.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 3 cups canned tomatoes
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup fresh basil
Place the olive oil, chopped garlic, and chopped onions in a cold saucepan, and turn the heat to medium. Then, bring these ingredients to a sizzle and cook for two more minutes. Stir in the canned tomatoes. Cook this for about five minutes or until the sauce is simmering. Finally, add the tomato paste, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer this for 10 more minutes. Add the fresh basil at the last minute, and you’re ready to serve over your favorite pasta.
Reusing leftovers helps you reduce food waste, save money, and nourish your family with home-cooked meals. Do you have any secrets for incorporating leftovers into new recipes? Let us know on Twitter!
Image sources: Laurie Fanelli | Wikimedia Commons
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