When it comes to saving the planet, there’s no such thing as food scraps. From using those mushy bananas to those gorgeous carrot tops, we’ve rounded up plenty of recipes that prove there’s a use for all those leftovers. Keep reading to see our favorite ways to repurpose food into interesting meals the whole family will love.
Turkey Noodle Soup
Don't toss that leftover turkey carcass or dark meat! Leftover turkey noodle soup is the perfect way to use all those leftovers without getting sick of the same thing every day. Fresh veggies and egg noodles come together in a simple recipe. We like this one from Dinner Then Dessert.
Easy Soup Bases & Purees
Does your little one hate that baby food puree you made from scratch? Don't toss your hard work! Instead, you can freeze or use the baby food to mix into soups, muffins and casseroles. We love all the ideas over at Family Food on the Table.
Vegetable Scrap Stock
Don’t throw out those veggie scraps! With a little simmering magic, they’re perfect for making this homemade stock from Blue Apron. You can use nearly any kind of leftover vegetable, there’s no fancy recipe to follow, and you can even freeze your stock for future in-a-pinch weekday meals. Learn more here.
Carrot Top Pesto
Ah, those poor leafy carrot tops. They often get tossed out instead of fulfilling their true tasty potential. Take this carrot top pesto, from Don’t Waste the Crumbs. It’s simple, versatile, and turns an overlooked ingredient into a spreadable treat. Learn more here.
Leftover Mashed Potato Cakes with Spinach
How do you give leftover mashed potatoes a new lease on life? Take a cue from Little Broken and turn ‘em into golden, spinach-filled cakes. The prep is easy and you likely have all the ingredients you need on hand. Learn more here.
Waffle Iron Leftover Pizza
Have you introduced your leftover pizza to your waffle iron? Trust us, it’s a match made in cheesy heaven. Sheri Silver is the genius behind this particular pizza hack and it’s as easy (and delicious) as it seems. Learn more here.
Roasted Potato Peelings
Psst! When you save your potato peels instead of throwing them out, you have the makings for a snack that’s a close cousin to both potato chips and French fries. The Kitchn has the scoop (which involves roasting with a drizzle of olive oil and your preferred seasoning). Learn more here.
Leftover Ham and Bean Soup
Whether you have a heap of leftover ham from Easter or a big family gathering, Jojo Cooks can help you out. This hearty soup revamps that ham with the help of beans, veggies, and spices—and it’s guaranteed to fill your house with good smells. Learn more here.
Candied Citrus Peel
According to these candied citrus peels taste like spring. If that’s not a sunny enough reason to give them a try, just think about how you’ll be repurposing those peels instead of throwing them away. Nibble this candied delight, add to cookies or scones, or package some up to give as gifts. Learn more here.
Pineapple Fried Rice
Think of this fried rice from Damn Delicious as a clean-out-the-fridge kind of meal that’s also a great way to use leftover rice. With whatever veggies you have handy, sesame oil, and minimal cook time you’re all set for an easy weeknight dinner. Get the recipe here.
Broccoli Stem Fries
Your cutie connoisseur probably knows it as the “trunk” of the broccoli—and it’s often ignored and thrown away. But broccoli stems are just as edible and tasty as the rest of the green veggie, especially if you turn them into (baked) fries. It’s easy, thanks to What’s Cooking Good Looking and just a few ingredients. Learn more here.
Strata with Sausage and Greens
Stratas are always “everything but the kitchen sink” meals and this idea from Food 52 is no exception. It’s a great solution for stale bread and you can customize to include other use-it-or-lose-it ingredients like wilted greens or cheese nubs. You can also assemble it the night before and then bake it on the quick. Learn more here.
— Abigail Matsumoto & Karly Wood