10 Ways to Use Up Leftover Roasted Vegetables

It’s the end of the week and you’re refrigerator full of miscellaneous containers of leftover roasted vegetables.

Don’t throw them out!

Reducing food waste is not only good for the environment, but it can also save you money on food. And having part of the meal already prepared is also a time saver. Roasted vegetables are especially versatile and flavorful in meals.

Roasting is a dry heat cooking method that helps vegetables retain some firmness while losing most of their water. So roasted veggies are more versatile and can be added to different meals. They’re also more flavorful compared to steamed or boiled vegetables.

Why do roasted vegetables taste so good?

Caramelization.

During roasting, the vegetables release their natural sugar which caramelizes and crisps the outside of the veggie.

Yum!

Even though I love to snack on roasted vegetables straight from the fridge, in this article I share meal ideas to repurpose leftover roasted vegetables and tips on which vegetables are best for roasting.

With these tips, you can turn food headed to the trash into more delicious, tasty, and sustainable meals.

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How to Repurpose Leftover Roasted Vegetables

1. Add color to bean burgers

Vegetables add nutrients and extra bulk to meatloaf and veggie burgers. Just give them a quick mash, chop, or blitz in a food process or blender, and mix them right into your ground meat or veggie patty mix.

For meatloaf–mushrooms, sweet potatoes, or carrots add depth of flavor. For veggie burgers, toss chopped roasted bell peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, mushrooms or onions with drained and mashed beans, an egg, breadcrumb and seasonings (cook on both sides like a burger to ensure the egg is thoroughly cooked).

2. Mix into casseroles

Anything goes for casseroles, so mix any chopped vegetables in the house with other staples. Cooked rice makes a hearty base, beans for added protein, ground meat or leftover shredded chicken for a meaty bite, and a layer of cheese for melty, gooey goodness.

Slice of vegetable quiche on a plate.

3. Whip up hummus

Make homemade or dress up store-bought hummus by blending in pureed roasted vegetables to make a flavorful dip or sandwich spread. Vegetables mixed into plain hummus add color, extra nutrients and even more fiber.

Roasted pepper hummus is one of my favorite hummus and veggie combinations but you can experiment with different roasted vegetables.

Puree the vegetables in a food processor until smooth and combine them with plain store-bought hummus. Serve it with pita chips, raw veggies or as a spread in sandwiches or wraps instead of mayo.

4. Upgrade convenience foods

Instead of skipping vegetables or having an unappealing side of plain veggies with packaged food, find ways to incorporate leftover vegetables.

Here are a few ideas to bulk up the nutrients and flavor of pantry and freezer staples:

  • Cheese pizza – top with bite-sized roasted peppers, mushrooms or onions.
  • Mac and cheese – stir in tomatoes or broccoli after combining the mac and cheese.
  • Enchiladas, burritos or wraps – stuff with zucchini or any leftover vegetables you like.
  • Jarred pasta sauce – eggplant or zucchini.
  • Instant Ramen or Noodle Soups – mushrooms.
  • Quinoa or Rice Pilafs – roasted tomatoes or onions.

Add fresh vegetables to canned soups. Creamy or broth-based soups go well with certain vegetables. Here are a few ideas:

  • Carrots: complement both creamy and broth-based soups.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Adds a hearty, caramelized flavor that holds up in chicken or beef soup.
  • Red Peppers: Pairs well with tomato-based, lentil and chicken soups.
  • Zucchini: Add a hint of sweetness and soft texture to vegetable or chicken soups.
  • Onions: Compliments the base flavor of almost any broth-based soup but don’t overdo it.
  • Butternut Squash: Pairs well with broth-based soups like sweet potatoes.
  • Cauliflower: Adds a nutty, almost buttery, flavor to creamy soups or complements the flavors in chicken and vegetable soups.
  • Mushrooms: The meaty texture and deep umami flavor work with hearty cream-based, beef or vegetable soups.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Add a layer of fresh flavor to minestrone, vegetable or chicken rice soups.

5.  Toss cooked veggies into cold salads

Caramelized roasted vegetables are even sweet and tasty cold or at room temperature. Dress up a mixed salad or grain bowl by tossing roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, roasted peppers and Brussels sprouts with spinach, arugula, kale or romaine lettuce.

Check your refrigerator and pantry for crumbled cheese, nuts, seeds or dried fruit and tie everything together with a simple vinaigrette made from olive oil and vinegar.

6. Level up pasta

Layer roasted vegetables between lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Or skip the noodles and use butternut squash as a lasagna layer. If you’re substituting cooked vegetables for pasta, adjust the cooking time so the vegetables don’t overcook.

Lasagna isn’t the only kind of pasta that you can bake.

Baked penne with roasted mushrooms, onions, zucchini and peppers is a favorite in my house. I add roasted cherry tomatoes and use red onions instead of yellow.

Brussels sprouts and butter squash are classic fall flavors that go well together. Layer the leftover roasted vegetables with uncooked pasta, tofu ricotta and tomato sauce for an easy and comforting baked spaghetti dinner.

For an easy pantry meal toss leftover broccoli with pasta, olive oil, chicken or chickpeas and parmesan cheese.

7. Morph into a gratin or quiche

Turning your veggies into a gratin is a simple way to use them up. Puree cauliflower, add cheesy topping and bake until warm and bubbly. Another winning flavor combination is pureed butternut squash layered with pesto and parmesan cheese and baked.

There’s the classic mix of flavors–broccoli and potato combined with cheese and a few ingredients to make a gratin.

For quiche? All you need is a refrigerated pie crust, leftover vegetables eggs and cheese. Use different veggie combinations depending on what’s in the refrigerator. Roasted vegetables are ideal for quiches since they won’t release too much water during cooking.

Roasted broccoli, mushrooms, peppers or zucchini are flavorful additions to quiche. Mix chopped roasted vegetables into an egg and milk custard with cheese, herbs, and flavorings. If you have extra fresh herbs, chop them up and add them to the mix for another layer of flavor.

8. Add texture (and fiber!) to eggs

Mix up an omelet, scramble some eggs, or bake a quiche, by tossing in some veggies. It’s not just about the extra nutrients and fiber. The veggies add a nice crunch and variety to plain eggs. Enjoy it as a balanced breakfast or a light but filling lunch.

On the nights I need a quick dinner when I don’t have anything prepped, veggie omelets or frittatas are on our last-minute “breakfast for dinner” menu.

9. Change up sandwiches and wraps

Add extra crunch to sandwiches by layering in roasted peppers, sweet caramelized onions, or eggplant or zucchini slices. Don’t forget the protein! Add hummus or cheese to make a hearty vegetarian sandwich.

10. Add flavor soups

Toss some veggies into your soup for a more filling and satisfying meal. Roasted vegetables add sweetness and depth to broth-based soups and mushrooms add a meaty texture and a layer of umami, the savory flavor known as the “fifth taste group”.

For leftover roasted carrots and butternut squash, puree and combine with broth and a dash of cream for a thick and creamy soup.

A variety of roasted vegetables.

Best Vegetables for Roasting

Certain vegetables are better for roasting due to their natural sugar content, moisture levels, and density. Ideal candidates for roasting have higher natural sugars for caramelization (like carrots), low moisture levels to avoid sogginess (like winter squash), and a dense texture to hold up to high heat without getting mushy (like potatoes).

Veggies with a higher water content like mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes have a shorter roasting time than other vegetables. These types of vegetables need less time in the oven or they’ll burn. I recommend using separate pans with vegetables grouped by estimated cooking times.

Tips for roasting

Don’t overcrowd the pan or the vegetables will steam, not roast.
Dry thoroughly before adding oil and seasonings before roasting.
Cut into bite size pieces to expose more surface area and enjoy more of the caramelized outside.

Asparagus

Flavor (roasted) – Reduced bitterness with a grassy, slightly sweet flavor and crispy.
Roasting tips – Trim woody ends and roast whole for a tender yet crisp texture.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, omelet, pasta primavera.

Beets

Flavor (roasted) – Intensified earthy and sweet flavor.
Roasting tips – Wrap beets in foil to retain moisture and make peeling easier after roasting.
Ideas to use leftovers – Beet and goat cheese salad, green salad, cold beet and cucumber soup.

Broccoli

Flavor (roasted) – Sweet and crispy.
Roasting tips – Cut into uniform florets.
Ideas to use leftovers – Stir fry, frittata, quiche, omelet, pasta primavera, grain bowls, pizza topping, creamy broccoli soup.

Brussel sprouts

Flavor (roasted) – Less bitter, sweet, soft but not mushy.
Roasting tips – Halve or quarter for even caramelization and crisp edges.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, grain bowl, salad, Alfredo pasta, breakfast hash with eggs.

Carrots

Flavor (roasted) – The natural sweetness is enhanced.
Roasting tips – Slice into even sticks or rounds so that it cooks evenly.
Ideas to use leftovers – Shepherd’s pie, vegetable curry, mashed root vegetables, pureed into soup, grain bowls, beef stew.

Cauliflower

Flavor (roasted) – Sweet, crunchy, mild nutty flavor.
Roasting tips – Break into even florets and add spices before roasting for extra flavor.
Ideas to use leftovers – Grain bowl, “riced” cauliflower, curry dishes, mashed cauliflower, Shepherd’s pie topping.

Cherry tomatoes

Flavor (roasted) – Roasting concentrates their sweetness.
Roasting tips – Roast whole.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, omelet, ratatouille, pasta primavera, mix into mac and cheese, bruschetta, warm barley salad.

Eggplant

Flavor (roasted) – Creamy texture and rich, smoky flavor.
Roasting tips – Slice into rounds or cubes and salt lightly before roasting to draw out moisture. Peeling is optional.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, omelet, grain bowls, pizza topping, ratatouille, panini, wrap/sandwich, eggplant caponata, Greek eggplant dip.

Mushrooms

Flavor (roasted) – Deep umami flavor and a meaty texture.
Roasting tips – Keep whole or slice thickly and roast with herbs for flavor.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, omelet, pizza topping, panini, wrap/sandwich, stir fry, burger topping, risotto, creamy pasta sauce

Parsnips

Flavor (roasted) – Sweet, nutty flavor.
Roasting tips – Cut into uniform pieces and mix with other root vegetables for a varied side dish.
Ideas to use leftovers – Shepherd’s pie, vegetable curry, mashed with potatoes, grain bowls, beef stew.

Peppers

Flavor (roasted) – Sweet and slightly smokey. Red peppers are especially sweet after roasting.
Roasting tips – Slice into strips or roast whole to char the skin, then peel off.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, omelet, ratatouille, pasta primavera, hummus, pizza topping, panini, wrap/sandwich, burger topping, stir fry.

Red onions

Flavor (roasted) – Roasting softens their sharpness into a mellow sweetness.
Roasting tips – Cut into wedges or thick slices to retain structure during roasting.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, omelet, grain bowls, pizza topping, fajitas, Greek salad, couscous.

Sweet potatoes

Flavor (roasted) – Caramel-like sweetness.
Roasting tips – Cube or slice into wedges (don’t overcrowd the pan for a crispier texture).
Ideas to use leftovers – Green salad, grain bowl, mashed, vegetable curry, chili.

Turnips

Flavor (roasted) – Mellow flavor, subtle sweetness and complements the flavor of carrots or sweet potatoes.
Roasting tips – Peel and cut into cubes.
Ideas to use leftovers – Chicken pot pie, pureed or mashed, corned beef hash.

Winter squashes  (e.g., Butternut, Acorn)

Flavor (roasted) – Nutty sweetness and soft flesh.
Roasting tips – Cube, slice into wedges or cut in half (remove seeds before roasting).
Ideas to use leftovers – Stew, vegetable lasagna, kale and grain salad, pureed into soup, Moroccan tagine with chickpeas and spices.

Zucchini

Flavor (roasted) – Roasting reduces moisture, concentrating flavor and adding a slight sweetness.
Roasting tips – Slice into rounds or half-moons and avoid overcrowding to prevent fogginess. Leave the peel on to retain some of the zucchini’s firmness and crunch.
Ideas to use leftovers – Frittata, quiche, enchilada, pasta primavera, vegetable lasagna, ratatouille, minestrone soup, panini, wrap/sandwich.

What’s your favorite way to use up leftover roasted vegetables? Let me know in the comments below.

About Jennifer Messineo, MS, RD

I’m a food loving Registered Dietitian. I help families plan meals, reduce food waste and save money on food!

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