Skip the Skip! 30+ Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

vegetable fritters with dip

These vegan recipes for leftovers help you save money, resources – and tasty food!

By Lora O’Brien

We all want to live a more sustainable lifestyle, right? And that certainly involves wasting food less. But even the most eco conscious cooks often find themselves staring at a bowl of uneaten, soggy salad, wondering: ‘what on earth I do with that?’ And hard as we try to waste not want not, sometimes it seems there’s really no option but to feed the compost bin, or worse – the skip. But not if you have an arsenal of vegan recipes for leftovers!

It’s not just those uneaten leftovers (especially at Thanksgiving or Christmas) that get binned. Some of us can be damn-right frivolous when it comes to throwing away spoiled produce. We see a bruised peach or a spotty banana, and turn up our noses and reach for our purses, off on a journey to  the grocery store to buy some fresher options. But what’s the biggie, huh? It’s just  food. And even if it’s not that pretty, it’s still edible – deliciously edible, at that!

Food waste is really a disgrace. Though unwanted food could easily be composted, an eye-watering 95% of the food that we throw away ends up in landfills. That mass of food then produces large quantities of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, a more powerful gas than even carbon monoxide that has been linked to global warming.

Innovations In Eating

According to the Food Sustainability Index released at the end of last year, Greece leads the way in terms of minimum individual food waste with an average 44kg of food wasted per person each year. People in the United Kingdom waste an average of 74.7kg of food each year, which is less than South Korea (95kg) and France (106kg).

To tackle this issue, countries around the world are coming up with creative ways to deal with food waste, according to research conducted by kitchen specialists Magnet.

For example, apps are proving to helpful here. In the UK, Too Good To Go allows users to purchase surplus food from over 4,500 restaurants and cafes at a low price, and in Spain, the Yo No Desperdicio app (which means “I Don’t Waste”) allows its users to give away or trade unwanted food items with those living nearby.

In Greece, plans are in development to launch a smart food card in Heraklion. The initiative, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is a little bit creepy: it collects data from individual’s shopping trips and tells them when items in the fridge are about to expire.

If you’d prefer not to have the ERDF know what’s in your kitchen, no problem: there are plenty of other easier, low-tech ways you can reduce your food waste.

Planning & Preparing Pays Off

Planning meals is the key to wasting less food. We tend to typically go food shopping when we’re either hungry or in a rush, so we then choose foods on impulse, which can lead to waste later on when you’re thinking clearly. Instead, try these tips to help you waste less food:

  • Save a day to make a shopping list for the week ahead, ideally a Sunday. Plan all meals for the week ahead and make a shopping list so that you know exactly what you’ll need when you hit the stores.
  • Stick to a list. Only buy the foods you know you’ll need for the week and nothing more.
  • Have a snack before going shopping. Eating on a fuller stomach will make you think clearly, and you’ll be less likely to overbuy.
  • Clean out your fridge and check your cupboards before you go shopping. Be sure you don’t have any cans lurking at the back that you could use. Be sure that all of your fresh produce has been eaten before buying more.
  • Have fresh foods that don’t look so bright? They can still be used and will make excellent juices or soups to keep you going all week. Also, vegetable scraps you’d usually bin can be turned into stock.
  • Know your stuff when it comes to sell-by, use-by, best-by and expiration. You’d be surprised  to learn those dates are pretty much arbitrary and mean nothing.
  • Be mindful when eating out. Those leftovers still end up on the scrap heap! So only fill your plate with food that you’re realistically going to eat at buffet type places. Don’t be afraid to ask for a doggie bag for anything you’ve not eaten.

But if you do find your kitchen still full of leftovers at the end of the week, be it leftover produce or leftover food from a meal, there’s still some yummy ways to put them to good use to avoid throwing them.

Here, I’ve cast a net out into the world wide net and I’ve caught for you 30+ super vegan recipes for leftovers.

30+ Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

vegan leftover recipes
Recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, above, here.

1. Greens & Kiwi Smoothie

Spinach may be super good for us, but it can start to wilt pretty quickly. The best way to use up excess spinach that’s starting to get a bit slimy is to throw it into a juice or smoothie. It will give you a boost of greens whilst almost holding no impact when it comes to taste. Pair it with some cucumber, bananas and kiwi fruits like in this smoothie recipe and you have a refreshing, healthy drink.

Best for: Greens going bad

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

2. Warm Quinoa Breakfast

What can you do with leftover quinoa? Basically: everything! Okay, well maybe not everything everything, but there’s a lot that can be made, such as these quinoa breakfast bowls. They’re the perfect grain to get your morning off to a fueling start, and it’s a breakfast that will power you through to mid-lunch time.

Best for: Leftover quinoa

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

3. Juice Pulp Fruit & Veggie Mini Muffins

These muffins are a little on the sweet side, a little on the savory side – so they will satiate both cravings. They’re crisp on the outside but soft on the inside, just how they should be! And yeah, I’m just throwing ideas about here, but these would be even better with some vegan butter smeared on top of them . . . Anyway, back to business. If you have carrots, kale and apples on hand, you can use those, of course. But if you’ve just made a juice, you can simply save the pulp and make these from that. Either way – they’re going to be marvelous!

Best for: This is one of those vegan recipes for leftovers that can incorporate just about any leftover fruit or veg!

Get the recipe here.

4. Vegan French Toast

Weird fact: the French love stale bread. They use it in French onion soup, as croutons, and of course, in le tost francais. Which is not, I’m pretty sure what they actually call it, but whatevs. Get your stale bread working for you by transforming it into this delicious breakfast, which is also one of the easiest vegan recipes for leftovers.

Best for: Stale bread

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

5. Leftover Lentil Breakfast Flatbread

It’s easy to make more lentils than you need, so why not turn them into a breakfast flatbread? You can have it on the side or use it as a base for more recipes such as a tofu scramble, salad or hummus. One thing’s for sure: you’ll have more use for your leftover lentils other than the bin.

Best for: Leftover lentils

Get the recipe here.

6. Leftover Veggie Broth

You know those scraps you tip into the bin? Not anymore. Simply collect all kinds of veggie scraps from potato and carrot peel to leftover celery leaves and the skin of onions. Pop them into the freezer and wait until you have a few bag’s worth, and then use them to make wonderful, healing vegetable broth. Know your stuff beforehand though; vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are a no-no, as they’ll leave your broth with a bitter taste.

Best for: Again, this is one of those vegan recipes for leftovers that can use up any veggies you have on hand

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

7. Leftover Lettuce Soup

All wilted and a bit brown. How sad is a dressed salad the next day? Pretty unappetizing – unless it’s tossed into this delicious soup! The presence of added peas makes it a bit creamy. Yum!

Best for: Lettuce that’s looking limp.

Get the recipe here.

vegan lettuce soup

8. Almond Pulp Crackers

After you’ve made homemade almond milk, don’t wash the leftover pulp down the sink. Turn it into these crackers instead! They’re packed full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and will provide you with tasty snacks for the next week or so. Use them as makeshift dippers for a soup or chili, or simply top them with some vegan cream cheese. Not bad for pulp, huh?

Best for: Using up the pulp after making almond milk.

Get the recipe here.

9. Zero Waste Crisps

It’s so easy to make healthy crisps using vegetables. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, beetroot, parsnips and kale make the best options when looking for a savory treat. They’re heaps healthier for you than packets of crisps you’d find at the supermarket, and they hold a helluva lot more flavour! You could even use different vegetables depending on what you have on hand, and even play around with the seasonings to suit your taste preferences. Simple, yet incredibly addictive!

Best for: Using up root veggies

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

10. Simple Mashed Potato Waffles

Potatoes are something that are leftover in abundance in our homes. Somehow we just seem to cook too many, am I right? But I’ll never look at them and feel sorrow again, not when I know I can turn them into these super simple mashed potato waffles. Crispy on the outside and then warm and fluffy on the inside, you can serve these as a side with some vegan sour cream or salsa, or simply dive in and eat them on their own. Either way there’ll be no leftover potatoes lining the bottom of your bin ever again.

Best for: Using up potatoes

Get the recipe here.

11. Easy Quinoa Pizza Bowls

Got some leftover quinoa? Not keen on using it up in the sweeter vegan leftover recipes, like the one in number 2, above? Why not make some fun little pizza pots? They’re also a great way to use up any veggies you have lingering around such as mushrooms, peppers and onion. Plus you can even throw in some vegan mozzarella to make them all gooey.

Best for: Using up any veggies about to go off

Get the recipe here.

12. Leftovers-Loaded Sweet Potatoes

So, maybe you wanted some tacos, but went overboard making the beans. Or maybe you’ve got an avocado that’s getting a bit mushy looking. These sweet potato skins is the best of all the vegan leftovers recipes to solve those problems! The quick and easy creamy dressing here is made from avos. And you can use it for a few days, if you squeeze enough lemon in to preserve it.

Best for: Making use of an avo about to go brown

Get the recipe here.

13. Spiced Red Lentil, Tomato & Kale Soup

Sure, soup is one of the most obvious vegan leftovers recipes. But it’s also one of the tastiest! The fabulous thing is you can pretty much throw in whatever you have on hand. Tomato, lentils and kale? Sure. But you can also add any other greens such as spinach, or veggies, such as carrots, that you need to use up. Oh, and got lots of stale bread? Why not toast it up into croutons?

Best for: Making use of any veggies you’ve got on hand

Get the recipe here.

vegan leftovers recipes

14. Leftover Irish Colcannon Cakes

We Irish know what to do with a spud! Even leftovers are made tasty by mashing them into these wonderful veggie packed, classic potato cakes. Again, you can also use up other leftover veggies like cabbage, onion and carrots, if you wish.

Best for: Leftover mashed potato

Get the recipe here.

15. Quinoa Chili Recipe

When you’re eating a vegan plant-based diet you tend to end up with leftover bits of veggies and pulses. This is the perfect time to make vegan chili! Not only is it delicious, but it’s also such a great way to throw all those old vegetables into it, such as corn, peppers, tomatoes and even spinach if you really wanted. And your chili made from leftovers can then supply lunch for the next day or two. Bake up some sweet (or regular) potatoes and top them with the chili – easy peasy!

Best for: Again, this is one of those vegan leftovers recipes that can take up multiple foods you’ve got in the fridge!

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

16. Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

Leftover wine? I hear you saying. Is that a thing? Well, apparently it is, in some households! But never fear. It needn’t go vinegary. You can freeze it in the ice cube tray, and when you’re ready, it can easily go into this mushroom stroganoff recipe. Oh, and you can also use leftover noodles for this – let’s not get too persnickety about using only tagliatelle!

Best for: Saving wine before it turns to vinegar

Get the recipe here.

17. Leftover Veggie Curry

Peas? Broccoli? Cauliflower? Potatoes? Peppers? It hardly matters! Whatever veggies you have left over or wilting in the fridge will be gorgeous in this quick curry. The key here is the spices. And the best part? Having leftovers of this! It tastes even better the next day.

Best for: Well, this is yet another of the vegan leftovers recipes that can pretty much take on any veggies you want to use up. Love curry? See more vegan curry recipes here.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

18. Sweet Potato Burgers

Got some leftover sweet potatoes? Or normal potatoes, squash or even beetroot? Then do I have a recipe for you! Any root veggie will do for this easy burger. The beans add some protein and the avocado adds some creaminess, but if you have leftover guacamole, even better.

Best for: Using up cooked root veggies

Get the recipe here.

19. Leftover Vegan Fritters

Just had a feast at home, and stuck with loads of roasted potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes or squash? Turn it into these gorgeous fritters! This is one of those vegan leftovers recipes that’s happy with pretty much any veg. Onions, turnips and carrots will also make it turn out great. Oh, and who needs eggs?! Not for this recipe!

Best for: Using up any cooked winter vegetables

Get the recipe here.

vegan fritters recipe

20. Sprout & Tempeh Stir-Fry

Sometimes, it seems we just can’t force sprouts onto people’s plates, and during festive times such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, we’re often left with lots of the little green fellas left over. Many people claim to hate sprouts, but it may be because they haven’t tried them roasted or added into a stir-fry like this recipe. They become a little softer and tastier when they’re double-cooked!

Best for: Using up Brussels sprouts

Get the recipe here.

21. Easy Pizza Pasta Bake

Tortellini, linguini, spaghetti, or even just simple macaroni…whatever pasta you may have left over, it’s super easy to eat in a tasty meal the next day. Simply add whatever veggies you have on hand and some pizza-y spices, et voila!

Best for: Using up cooked pasta

Get the recipe here.

22. Vegan Frittata

Before I went vegan, a frittata was my go-to way to use up leftovers. I’d throw anything from greens and rice to potatoes into a skillet, crack a few eggs over it, and voila! But now that I’m off eggs, it’s not that easy. This recipe makes the ‘eggy’ part from tofu, and adds squash, potato and zucchini to the mix. But frankly, any veggie combo will do!

Best for: Using up veggies

Get the recipe here.

23. Leftover Veggie ‘Fish Finger’ Sarnies

Thank you, Jamie Oliver, for this great recipe! It basically takes any old veggies you have leftover and makes them into ‘fingers’ – which are then added to a bun. But of course, if you want to lower that carb intake, these are also yum on a bed of lettuce.

Best for: Yet again, this is one of those vegan leftover recipes that can use just about any old leftover veggies!

Get the recipe here.

24. Leftover Rice & Bean Burrito

I had to include this recipe because, you know, Mexican food is life, and the ingredients of Mexican food make the perfect basis for vegan recipes for leftovers. These are especially tasty if the rice and/or beans that are from a previous meal have been seasoned and spiced – even nicer the second day.

Best for: Using up cooked rice

Get the recipe here.

25. Last Night’s Long Pasta Stir Fry

You don’t need an official recipe for this – just take whatever long pasta you have left over – be it fettucini, tagliatelle, or spaghetti – just chop up some veggies, and throw some sesame oil in a pan. Add a crushed tooth of garlic and a knob of chopped ginger, throw in the noodles and veggies, and stir fry until the veggies are soft. Add a dash of soy sauce and top with a few nuts or sesame seeds, and you’re done!

Best for: Using up cooked pasta

26. Leftovers Pasta Salad

Yep, it’s another pasta dish – but it’s great, whether you’ve got leftover veggies, or leftover pasta, or both. And the thing I love most about this salad is that it can be served hot or cold – and lasts for days, too!

Best for: Using up cooked pasta, veggies or both.

Get the recipe here.

27. Veggie Croquettes

No matter what leftover veggies you may have on hand, they’re going to taste great in this vegan croquette recipe! Why? Because everything tastes better battered and fried, my friends! This is an easy vegan leftovers recipe that everyone should have on hand.

Get the recipe here.

28. Chocolate Chip Oat Hazelnut Cookies

Got leftover pumpkin puree, applesauce, or black bananas? Use them up with oats to make these cookies, and you’ll curb your sweet tooth all week long. Any of the abovementioned binders – or even tofu – can be used to make these babies. Store them in a lock tight container to keep them fresh. That is, if they manage to stick around that long!

Best for: Making use of mushy fruits before they go off

Get the recipe here.

29. Vegan Bread & Butter Pudding

Don’t just save the stale bread for the birds and ducks. Make a traditional bread and butter pudding. It’s such a go-to comfort food for so many, so give it a go when you have some bread going stale. It’s wonderfully crisp on the top whilst gooey and soft on the inside, with the added nutritional boost of lots of  apricots and sultanas.

Best for: Using up stale bread, but frankly – using panettone for this is a whole, next-level experience!

Get the recipe here.

30. Leftover Rice Pudding

Another comfort food for many, and definitely one of the easier vegan recipes for leftovers! This one, of course, subs in the usual cream or milk for coconut milk, which just gives it an even nicer, caramel kinda flavour, if you ask me.

Best for: Getting rid of cooked rice.

Get the recipe here.

31. Vegan Banana Bread

When life gives you mushy, black bananas, make banana bread! This is probably one of the most common vegan recipes for leftovers, and the easiest. And that rooftop of crunchy pecans is pretty much the perfect addition, both in terms of texture and taste.

Best for: Using up those black bananas!

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Recipes For Leftovers

Lora O'Brien
Latest posts by Lora O'Brien (see all)
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