It’s the end of the week and you have a refrigerator full of multiple containers of leftover roasted vegetables.
Don’t throw them out!
There are many ways to use cooked veggies in other meals. Reducing food waste is not only good for the environment, but it can also be a great way to save money. And having part of the meal already prepared is a time saver.
Roasting is a dry heat method that caramelizes vegetables, bringing out their natural sweetness and depth of flavor. Vegetables retain their firmness better with dry cooking methods, so they are more versatile in various meals, including adding them to soups, omelets, or sandwiches.
This article explores creative ways to repurpose leftover roasted vegetables. With these tips, you can turn food headed to the trash into delicious, tasty, and sustainable meals.
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1. Add Extra Flavor
Leftover vegetables add flavor, nutrients, and a little color to recipes like meatloaf and veggie burgers. All you have to do is mash, chop or puree the leftover veggies and mix them into ground meat or veggie burger mixture. Veggies add moisture and help bind the mixture together, making it easier to form into patties or a loaf.
For meatloaf, mushrooms or roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots work particularly well. And for veggie burgers, you can mix in roasted bell peppers, zucchini, and onions.
2. Make Casserole or Quiche
Some recipes call for cooked or sauteed vegetables like quiches and casseroles. You can skip that step when you have leftovers to throw into the mix. Anything goes for casseroles, so add whatever vegetables you have to the other ingredients, like cooked rice, beans, or cheese. First, chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces so it’s easier to enjoy a forkful of casserole.
Change your quiche with different veggie combinations depending on what’s in the refrigerator. For example, roasted broccoli, mushrooms, peppers or zucchini are great in a vegetable quiche. Mix chopped roasted vegetables into an egg and milk custard along with cheese, herbs, and flavorings. If you have extra fresh herbs, chop them up and add them to the mix for extra flavor.
3. Make Flavored Hummus
Whether you make homemade hummus or want to dress up store-bought hummus, mix in pureed roasted vegetables to make a flavorful and nutritious dip. Vegetables mixed into plain hummus add a burst of color and extra nutrients and fiber. You can experiment with different combinations of roasted vegetables, such as eggplant or red peppers.
To get the same smooth consistency as hummus, puree the roasted vegetables in a food processor or NutriBullet. Then, adjust the amount of hummus and roasted vegetables until you reach your desired consistency and flavor.
Adding roasted vegetables to hummus is a great way to repurpose leftovers and add variety to your snacks and meals. Serve it with pita chips or raw veggies or as a spread in sandwiches or wraps instead of mayo.
4. Pizza Topping
Instead of making a veggie side dish or skipping vegetables, top homemade or take-out pizza with leftover vegetables for a complete meal.
Chop the roasted vegetables into bite-sized pieces and scatter them over your favorite pizza crust, tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Roasted peppers, mushrooms, and onions pair well with cheese pizza.
If you’re making pizza at home, add the vegetables before baking. Otherwise, heat up leftover vegetables and add them to take-out pizza. Make using up leftovers more enticing by setting up a pizza topping bar and letting everyone mix and match their pizza toppings.
5. Add to Cold Salad
Many cooked vegetables make great snacks right from the refrigerator. Caramelized roasted vegetables are sweet and tasty at room temperature. Dress up a mixed salad by tossing roasted vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, roasted peppers and Brussels sprouts with spinach, arugula, kale or romaine lettuce.
Don’t stop there. Check your refrigerator and pantry for other leftovers. Add crumbled cheese, nuts, or dried fruit for a satisfying meal. Bring all the flavors together with a simple vinaigrette made from olive oil and vinegar.
6. Make Vegetable Lasagna
Vegetable lasagna is a great way to add more veggies to your diet while enjoying comfort food. Layer roasted vegetables between lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Or, skip the noodles and use sliced roasted eggplants as low-carb lasagna layers.
7. Use as a Substitute
Most cooked vegetables are versatile and you can them as a substitute for vegetables in recipes. For example, you can use leftover roasted butternut squash instead of pumpkin puree in baked goods such as muffins, cakes, and bread. Or, substitute fresh vegetables with roasted vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and eggplants in various pasta dishes, stir-fries, and soups.
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!