Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Make Mealtime Magic with Leftovers


Pasta Frittata with Chard, Bacon and Goat Cheese

Fall is often linked with a return to routine. This can mean adopting time-and money-saving strategies or embracing healthier eating habits. In both cases, the Whole Story blog is here to help. Through mid-September we’re sharing our favorite pointers for mealtimes (including snacks!) from how to shop to how to prep, so you can get back on track with ease.

I have taste-bud fatigue at times, and no matter how delicious a meal was today, sometimes I’m not as excited to have the same thing tomorrow. (Curries are an exception. They are often even better the next day!)


Beef Taco Pizza

I certainly don’t want to waste good food, so I create a new delicious dish from those leftovers. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Roasted vegetables. Chop and use in a frittata or quiche. Or mix with cooked, cooled grains like barley, wheat berries or brown rice and toss with your favorite vinaigrette for a satisfying lunch or side dish.
  • Bread. Croutons, French toast and bruschetta are the best innovations since…sliced bread! Try your hand at panzanella (Italian bread salad) by tossing cubed day-old bread or rolls with lots of quartered grape tomatoes, diced red onion, baby greens, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Roasted potatoes. At breakfast, heat up last night’s roasted potatoes in a frying pan. Serve with scrambled eggs on top or make breakfast tacos by adding eggs, cheese and greens and wrapping in a tortilla.
  • Baked sweet potatoes. Make a quick sweet-potato bisque by puréeing peeled or mashed potatoes with stock and coconut milk. Stir in a little curry powder for an exotic touch, or add cooked rice and chopped turkey for a hearty main course.
  • Cooked rice. Fried rice! Add leftover veggies, chicken, pork and tofu too. Or stuff and roast tomatoes, make stuffed cabbage rolls or add it to a salad.
  • Sautéed greens. Serve with poached eggs, mix into grain salads, stir into soups or pastas, add to omelets or frittatas, layer in nachos, make into a dip…wow, I’m getting hungry just thinking about the possibilities.
  • Cooked pasta. Pasta Frittata with Chard, Bacon and Goat Cheese is a welcome addition to brunch or a satisfying main course at dinnertime. Cold pasta salads like this Black Bean and Roasted Corn Pasta Salad are a snap to prepare and package for brown bag lunches.
  • Roast chicken. This is a dish that keeps on giving. Use the leftovers from Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken to create any of these fast easy chicken dinners. (Even chicken nuggets can be reinvented like in this Quick Chicken and Chickpea Caesar Salad.)
  • Ground beef. Declare it Beef Taco Pizza night!
  • Steak. While my husband swears by leftover steak and eggs in the morning, I opt for a Thai-style steak salad for the lunchtime win. Try adding the leftovers to grain or pasta salads, wraps and tacos too.  
  • More!

I asked a handful of friends for their favorite leftover meals. Many of them revealed they put an egg on it! For example, when one friend makes enchiladas, she serves them for breakfast or brunch the next day with a fried egg on top. She does the same thing with leftover veggie burger patties like Southwest Veggie Burgers.


Creamy Spinach Dip

Here’s what else they recommend:

  • Pan-cooked or baked fish filets make great sandwiches the next day. Either flake into a tuna-salad type salad or serve with tartar sauce on a toasty bun.
  • Chicken Caesar salad can be turned into a wrap. Add bacon, if desired.
  • Roasted butternut squash for dinner becomes an add-in for whole grain hot cereal at breakfast.
  • Brisket makes amazing tacos the following day.

What are your favorite new meals to make from leftovers? Share your tips in the comments below.