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Boston Bake - a meat free recipe using leftovers

Updated on September 26, 2016

Boston Bake - a vegetarian recipe to make the most of leftovers

This is a great and very adaptable comfort food recipe. Here's how it started life. Many years ago, I used to run a health food store and a specialty was simple vegetarian takeout lunches. The most popular were sandwiches and baked potatoes.

The sandwiches were all made on great wholewheat bread and the most popular toppings for the baked potatoes were baked beans, garlic butter and cheese. (Several customers used to order a baked potato with garlic butter before dental appointments - ha.)

My dilemma was this - I used to prepare these takeout lunches fresh every day but there were always leftovers. I hate waste. On the following day, how could I use yesterday's leftover sandwiches, baked potatoes, cheese, garlic butter and baked beans?

Boston Bake was born

Before long, this was incredibly popular. It was cut into squares (about four inches square) and sold at a great, low price. Students, seniors and other people on fixed incomes loved it because it was cheap and nutritious - especially when served with a green salad and with an apple or other piece of fruit for a quick and simple dessert. Ever since, I have made Boston Bake at home for the family regularly. Sometimes I use leftovers and sometimes I have to start from scratch. One of the things I love about this recipe is that you can add many different leftovers you might have lurking in the refrigerator.

Bread stuffing

If you have leftover cooked potatoes, you've already completed the first step! If not, cook potatoes by boiling or baking - boiling is quicker. How many? Well, that's one of the great things about this recipe - there are no exact quantities. You'll just need enough slices of potato to line your oven dish, although two layers are fine too. What sort of potatoes? Whatever you have! Large, small, it doesn't matter at all.

And if you have leftover sandwiches, that's step two nearly done. Just roughly chop them or whiz them in a blender or food processor. To start from scratch, take any bread and chop, grate or break into chunks. I usually just break it up with my fingers and use a cheese grater to break up any crusty bits. It doesn't have to be finely grated or chopped as you can see from the photograph.

Then have fun adding whatever you might have around. As you can see, I added lots of freshly-ground black pepper, a little sea salt, some chopped basil from the garden, some chopped (or pressed) garlic and just a little grated cheese. If I'm having one of those days when I don't care about calories, I add a little butter, cut into small pieces.

Here are a few ideas of other things you can add.

  • Leftover cooked mushrooms, chopped
  • Fresh scallions / spring onions, finely sliced
  • Chopped tomato
  • Any leftover cooked vegetables you may have - carrots, zucchini, broccoli - anything will work
  • Your favorite herbs or flavorings - whatever suits your family's tastes


Put the bread mixture to one side. The flavors will mingle whilst you're preparing the potato base. I grease the oven dish lightly with butter, but you could use a low-calorie spray or olive oil. Use whatever you have to hand. The whole idea of this recipe is that you can make it from ingredients you have in your pantry and fridge; you don't need to buy any special ingredients.

Simply slice the potatoes to line the dish. This can be one layer, two or more - it's up to you and depends on the size of your dish and the amount of potato you have. Notice that I don't peel the potatoes - I don't want to throw away that valuable fiber and the nutrients that are just below the skin. Because we love black pepper, I grind some on top. You can add your own flavorings and herbs. Mint is particularly good with potato.

The next layer

Just add your bread mixture on top of the potatoes and press down lightly. Notice that the bread I used was a mix. I used one large slice of wholewheat bread and a slice from a lovely olive loaf. You can probably see the black olives in the photograph. Any bread will do but the better quality it is, the better the eventual dish will be. Any bread products can be added - I remember once adding a slice of leftover pizza that I'd run through the food processor!

Now the beans

I use British Heinz Beans because they are our favorite. But again, anything will do. If you've made your own baked beans and have leftovers - fantastic! If they are a cheap brand that was on sale at the grocery store, no problem. Adaptability and flexibility is the key here. Just add the beans on top of the bread mixture.

Be sure to get all the sauce too as this will soak into the bread below. Because I'm truly tight-fisted, I add a little water to the empty can, swill it round to get all the sauce that's clinging to the side of the can, and pour that on top too. (Try the same trick with an 'empty' gin bottle. Add a little tonic, put the cap on the bottle and swill it round to make sure that you get the last remnants of gin - and a free but weak G & T!)

Finally the cheese

We love cheese so I cover the beans completely. But cheese is high in calories so you might have more restraint than I do! Again, it doesn't matter - just use whatever you have. You can use a mixture of cheeses - just grate them together.

Even hard lumps of cheese that have definitely seen better days can be added. Top with a little Parmesan? Why not? I often have just a little Parmesan left in the tub so that can go in too. Now put the whole thing into a pre-heated oven. I set mine to 350° but if you already have the oven on to cook another dish at another temperature, that's fine and is a good way to make the most of your oven space; it's a shame to use the electricity to heat just one dish so you can plan to make Boston Bake when you're cooking something else if you wish to be truly economical.

Temperature isn't critical here - all you need to do is leave the dish in the oven until the food is heated through and the cheese is melted. This is usually about 20 minutes. Sometimes, I broil the dish for the last couple of minutes to make the cheese golden.

Guess what? I add black pepper before serving! But you can garnish the dish in whatever way you want to.

You could use:

  • Sliced tomato and basil - as I did
  • Chopped parsley or parsley sprigs
  • Paprika
  • Black olives - sliced or whole
  • Chopped scallion / spring onion

Did you know that studies show that half - yes, half - the food produced in the world is thrown away? We owe it to the planet to make the most of leftover foods.

Part of the trick of using leftovers is to make sure that they have a different flavour and texture than the previous meal. When you learn more about this type of cooking, your family will never know that they are eating 'recycled' ingredients.

When I decided that I was no longer going to eat meat - and this comment really ages me - there were only a few vegetarian recipe books available. These had been written years previously and had pretty boring recipes for nut roasts and nut cutlets, lentil stews and dishes using textured soya protein. All were boring. Today, whatever sort of cookery ideas you're looking for, there'll be a book to help you and give you some great recipes and brilliant inspiration.


All photographs taken by me during the preparation of this dish.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

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    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Voted this up all the way. Great ideas for using leftovers, and I'm certainly going to experiment with it. I hate wasting food too, so this is right on the "money" for me. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Looks and sounds delicious. Must try it.

    • profile image

      gal3722 3 years ago

      the meal looks delicious,jlike you i hate waste, im going to this for dinner tonight. keep em coming

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @angelatvs: I think that anything in a sauce could be good! We like the beans because the tomato sauce soaks into the bread stuffing below it and flavors it but anything your family likes :)

    • profile image

      angelatvs 4 years ago

      This looks really great, I wish that I liked beans. I wonder what I could use in it's place.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: We love it - it's what we had for dinner last night :)

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Fun lens. It's making me hungry!

    • greg2biz2 profile image

      greg2biz2 4 years ago

      well well done. No comment.

    • chrisilouwho profile image

      chrisilouwho 4 years ago

      Yum! What a great way to use up leftovers, will definitely be trying this recipe soon!

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @JuneNash: I wonder if it would work using a vegan cheese?

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 4 years ago

      I love the idea of a leftover casserole. I wonder if it would work without the cheese. I have dairy allergies and cannot eat cheese. I think I'll try it anyway and figure out an alternative to the cheese. Thanks!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      You gave me an idea for using my leftovers. Thanks for sharing.

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 4 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      You gave me an idea for using my leftovers. Thanks for sharing.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @darkflowers: We won't have any other brand :) Thanks for dropping by!

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      I'm hungry now Brit and it's only 9 am here in Holland. We have those Heinz tomato beans too here in the Netherlands, I love them, they taste so delicious! Great Lens!

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Ben Reed: Thanks so much for visiting!

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      Wonderful recipes - thank you

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erin Mellor: Thank you - I got it from my mum :)

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      I love your frugal G&T recipe.

    • profile image

      yourlocalpt 4 years ago

      vegetarian recipe is always good

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @blestman lm: Thank you! I have lots of good veggie recipes - all tried and tested and I demand that they are easy to make :) More on the way too!

    • blestman lm profile image

      blestman lm 4 years ago

      I love vegetarian food so this will definitely go into my recipe folder. Thanks for having a great lens

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 4 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      What a delicious recipe , economical and healthy as well .

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I have to try this! I love anything that gets leftovers eaten. Added bonus in the extreme is that I could do this in one dish.

    • profile image

      Susan99 4 years ago

      The recipe looks very easy to cook !

    • KimDaphne LM profile image

      KimDaphne LM 4 years ago

      Great recipe! I'd love to try this one soon. I like the idea of baking something out of leftovers. Reading through your lens, I'm loving the idea that you are a fellow vegetarian who also knows how to conserve Mama nature's resources. Great lens that is fitting to have that purple star pinned. Congratulations. :)

    • TopReviews2u profile image

      TopReviews2u 4 years ago

      Congratulations on your Purple Star! Your Boston Bake recipes for vegetarian sound absolutely delicious.

    • howards522 profile image

      howards522 4 years ago

      Great recipe thanks!

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 4 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      That's a very cool way to use leftovers... I love creative ideas on what to do with bits and pieces, and this looks really good!

    • GKREW profile image

      GKREW 4 years ago

      interesting mix of ingredients.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @LauraHofman: I'm sure you'll enjoy it :)

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      I look forward to trying this...I'm sure we will have some leftovers from Easter dinner. We love cheese too! Thanks for the delicious idea,

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @The-Quirky-Banana: Thank you! I didn't realize it was featured on that page :)

    • profile image

      The-Quirky-Banana 4 years ago

      Woahhh... this is truly an awesome lens! A great personal little story. It's great how you utilise leftovers! BTW this was featured on a great day and Congrats for this Lens of the Day! :)

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @NibsyNell: Yes, it is. The ingredients are very inexpensive especially if you can get beans and cheese that are on offer at the grocery store. The bread doesn't have to be fresh so it's a good way to use up older bread. And it's quite nutritious too - protein, vitamins, calcium and more!

    • NibsyNell profile image

      NibsyNell 4 years ago

      Wow! This looks really filling, delicious and easy to make! Great for people on low incomes too. :)

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @NejaLovely: Thank you! The combination of the beans, potato and cheese is very tasty and I love the way it can be made with leftovers. I like to be a frugal cook :)

    • NejaLovely profile image

      NejaLovely 4 years ago

      Great recipe!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      interesting! im always looking for new things and experiment on food.. this is new for me. thanks for

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      interesting! im always looking for new things and experiment on food.. this is new for me. thanks for

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @RhondaAlbom: Thank you so much! Kids do love this dish.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      I am always looking for new things for the kids lunch - especially my vegetarian child! This is awesome. I am pinning it to my recipe file, and we are going to give it a bake! Blessed.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Gypzeerose: Thank you so much! I also received your message - I have an old email address here. I need to change it!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      amazing! interesting.. I look for such article along time..Thank you for your

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow such great ideas to treat

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Really enjoyed your flexible, hearty and CHEAP hot dish. This is something almost everyone would make and enjoy, and it could be different depending on the spices, breads, types of cheese, etc. You could add some grated carrot and chopped celery - I am sure there are thousands of ways that you could fancy it up. Pinned to my vegetarian board and blessed.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      I love this idea -- what a great way to use up leftovers! And I agree whole-heartedly with your sentence, "Adaptability and flexibility is the key here."

    • michalk lm profile image

      michalk lm 4 years ago

      YUMMM - can't wait ti start cooking

    • agagata lm profile image

      agagata lm 4 years ago

      I'm on a diet and this sounds so delicious. I will definitely give it a go after Easter :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Congratulations, and thanks for the great recipe.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks for the recipe. I am going to Pin it so I can make it next time we have leftover potatoes or want a baked bean side dish. Oh, BTW. Congrats on LOTD! Hers's a *Squid Blessing* for you too. Hugs!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hey, thanks for sharing this yummy recipe, I'd love to try this :)

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Congrats on LOTD (I know I am a little late) I would just about eat this dish, but not with all that cheese on it.

    • pshinde2109 lm profile image

      pshinde2109 lm 4 years ago

      Very nice....

    • tuliprose lm profile image

      tuliprose lm 4 years ago

      This looks like something kids would really love - I shall be giving it a try.

    • profile image

      dotcomdiva 4 years ago

      My daughter is vegetarian, so I'm sending her this link...but really, it looks yummy enough for this meat-and-potatoes girl too!

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 4 years ago from Johanesburg

      Looks yummy , I would like to try it. What a way to recycle left over food

    • fbcivcoming profile image

      fbcivcoming 4 years ago

      looks tasty!

    • profile image

      francisli 4 years ago

      wow~~dear so nice

    • profile image

      Auriel 4 years ago

      interesting recipe tips..

    • CoolFool83 profile image

      CoolFool83 4 years ago

      This looks like an awesome recipe!

    • Joanne Reid profile image

      Joanne Reid 4 years ago from Prince Edward Island/Arizona

      I LOVEEEE this recipe. Brilliant. And it appeals to my health-conscious and frugal mind.

    • daisychainsaw lm profile image

      daisychainsaw lm 4 years ago

      Hello from the UK! This sounds like a great recipe; will definitely be trying this!

    • profile image

      getupandgrow 4 years ago

      I'm definitely going to make this-it has "quick and tasty supper" written all over it-thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      hmommers 4 years ago

      I am getting hungry. It looks good! Thnx

    • profile image

      dukedeed 4 years ago

      this is a good recipe! i will try it soon. looks so yummy :D

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 4 years ago

      This is wonderful - and I'm sure a new family favorite! Thank you!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      That looks like a good dinner!

    • CornellMarCom LM profile image

      CornellMarCom LM 4 years ago

      great lens. I'm starving and as soon as I finish here I'm trying the recipe.

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 4 years ago

      Super Lens and now I'm hungry! Great ideas for leftovers. Sounds like good comfort food too. Thanks for sharing!Last but not least....Congrats on LOTD!!!

    • GrimRascal profile image

      GrimRascal 4 years ago from Overlord's Castle

      Made me hungry *drool

    • charlesunderwoo1 profile image

      charlesunderwoo1 4 years ago

      oh my god that looks so good! great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I was delighted (but not surprised) when I logged into Squidoo today and saw that one of your lenses was LotD. I am happy for you! This is a super lens and I can't wait to try some Boston Bake.

    • karen-stephens profile image

      karen-stephens 4 years ago

      looks yummy...but with all that cheese not a cheap giveaway for a restaurant!

    • graphite75 profile image

      Tom 4 years ago

      That looks really good! Congrats on LotD!

    • susanholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      This looks delicious. I love the layering and using leftovers! :-)

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 4 years ago

      I must remember your tip about the gin! Like you, I am all about hating waste so this idea is a superb use of leftovers. You page is quite fun to read, too. All sorts of hidden tips are baked into this tasty dish of a page.

    • profile image

      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Thanks you for the great ideas.

    • profile image

      MiaMusement 4 years ago

      What a fabulous recipe for using leftovers to create a hearty vegetarian meal! I had a feeling you were going to use the British Heinz Beans... :)

    • profile image

      micvert 4 years ago

      Yummmm- Yummmmm I just love those re-heated left-overs @ la Boston Pie ! Merci beaucoup britflorida !!

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Sounds yummy!! I love putting together leftovers and making concoctions. Sometimes, mine end up "hogslop." THis recipe looks great, though.

    • profile image

      soaringsis 4 years ago

      This is really unique and looks like it is pretty tasty. What a great idea for leftovers. blessed:)

    • profile image

      greytdogz 4 years ago

      Sounds deish, but unfortunately we are wheat and gluten free here. I may have to make a few changes for something similar. We are always looking for great ways to use up leftovers. Thanks.

    • Find-Online profile image

      Find-Online 4 years ago

      I am definitely going to try this recipe. So easy and yet it looks like it would be very delicious.

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 4 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      What an interesting and easy way to use leftovers. And, if you're not a vegetarian like me, you don't have to use just veggies. :-)TonyB

    • profile image

      DebMartin 4 years ago

      Now this is a recipe I could get on board with. Boston bake will be my newest one-dish camp recipe. Thanks.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      This sounds really interesting and I bet it is tasty! I love to use up leftovers and rarely ever through away food. Great idea!!

    • TheLittleCardShop profile image

      Malu Couttolenc 4 years ago

      Your vegetarian Boston bake recipe made out with left overs sounds delicious! It is also a wonderful way to use what you already have. Congrats on your well deserved LOTD :)

    • profile image

      webmavern 4 years ago

      A great way to use up left overs. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • MrAusAdventure profile image

      Bill 4 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Well done on being awarded LOTD. Great to see some vegetarian Lenses getting the nod. This looks pretty delicious, however I am not a fan of cheese, so I would leave that out if I were to make it.

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      poutine 4 years ago

      It certainly is easy to make and looks totally delicious.

    • sharonbellis profile image

      Sharon Bellissimo 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      This is a great! Simple and I have all the ingredients. I'm going to make this tonight.

    • fyrdragon350 profile image

      fyrdragon350 4 years ago

      thanks for sharing this easy and delicious looking meal. i'm gonna try it soon :)

    • fyrdragon350 profile image

      fyrdragon350 4 years ago

      thanks for sharing this easy and delicious looking meal. i'm gonna try it soon :)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      What a great idea. You don't need it, but I'm blessing it anyway.

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 4 years ago from Michigan

      This recipe is very creative. It looks delicious. I can see that many other ingredients could be used and that your imagination is the key. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      DanatheScribe 4 years ago

      This looks sounds interesting and looks good! Will definitely have to try it out...

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 4 years ago

      It looks delicious and it made me very, very hungry.....thank you for sharing this great recipe!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      Sounds de-lish! Congrats on lotd ;)