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What To Do With Leftover Vegetables: Ideas for Meatless Meals

Updated on October 26, 2014

Too Hot To Cook

When the weather warms up, I don't feel like cooking. Other times I'm just plain lazy. It's probably more the latter than the former.

You can still have tasty meals without fussing. Got some leftover veggies? There's lots that you can do with them without having to put a lot of effort into it.

I know. Many people don't like leftovers. But, I find using leftovers in new meals puts a little spin on them. It's not like you are eating the same thing over and over.

I'm giving you some options plus a recipe to try. None of them are complicated at all. These quick meal ideas should keep your stomach happy when it's too hot to cook or whenever you're too lazy to make a real meal.


Do you like leftovers?

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Mix Them With Pasta

One of my favorite meals is plain pasta with vegetables. I like elbow macaroni, vermicelli, rotini...well, pretty much any type of pasta. You can use any you have on hand. Vermicelli broken into small pieces works great with vegetables.

Cook the pasta as normal. Heat the leftover vegetables in the microwave.

Mix the pasta and veggies and you've got a meal! You can add sauce if you want, but I like it plain.

Make An Easy Meal

When I'm really lazy, I microwave a frozen burrito. I cut it in half and save the other half for another day. Then I put about a half cup of vegetables on the plate and reheat it. I mix the burrito and the vegetables and I've got an instant mini casserole.


Throw Them Into a Tortilla

Tortillas are a versatile wrap. Yes, they're great for burritos, tacos, and all sorts of Mexican dishes. But, you can use them for pretty much anything you like. A bunch of broccoli and spinach wrapped up in a warm tortilla really hits the spot.

Fill a tortilla with last nights cauliflower, carrots, and peas. Put in some beans if you have them around. Roll it up like a burrito. Then, heat it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.

Keep those vegetables fresh

Once you've cooked your vegetables, you want them to stay fresh in the fridge. Nothing beats a good set of bowls!

This container set comes in a variety of sizes. What I like most is the lock-it lids. You know how some lids are difficult to get on after a few uses and then sometimes you can't get them off. These lock in place with side flaps. And, opening them is a breeze.

Whether it's too hot to cook or it's been a hard day, some times we just don't feel like cooking. What's your favorite quick and easy meal?

Toss 'Em In A Salad

What better way to use leftover vegetables than in a salad!

If you like, take a couple of cloves of garlic and rub them against the inside of the bowl. If you have any chunks left, chop them up and put them in the bowl.

Tear some lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens into bite sized chunks. Add them to the garlic.

Throw in a ton of vegetables. Then mix it all together. You can add some cooked pasta if you want to make it more of a meal.

Wants some more variations? Build your salad on a potato. My Baked Potato Salad recipe is a good way use up your extra veggies. All you need is a potato.

Another way to dress up a salad is to make it in an edible tortilla bowl. Bake or microwave the tortilla in the shape of a bowl, then fill it with greens, vegetables, and whatever else you've got. You can chip off the tortilla as you go to replace croutons. It's really easy to make them, just follow these instructions.

There's no reason your salads have to be boring!

Bowls Especially Made For Tortillas

If you like crispy tortilla salad bowls, you like these molds. Perfect for use in the oven!

Chicago Metallic Non-Stick Large Tortilla Shell Pans, Set of 2
Chicago Metallic Non-Stick Large Tortilla Shell Pans, Set of 2

I love using tortillas for salad bowls. Makes the meal a little more filling. These shell pans are perfect for warming up tortillas.


Quick Way To Make Tortilla Bowls

If you're short on time or don't want to turn on the oven, you can make these bowls in the microwave. It's really easy to do if you follow these instructions. You can skip the part about the beans and go straight to the bowls.

Add Life To Cream Soup!

Do you have a box of cream soup? Some days don't you feel like having just a little more? Take those leftover vegetables and add them to your cream soup. Now you've got a meal!

Make A Sandwich

Leftover steamed vegetables make a great sandwich, though not many people believe me!

Pile on the veggies. Top with lettuce or other greens (I like friese, spinach, and butter lettuce). You can add a slice or two of tomato on top.

Use your favorite condiment, or, mash up a half an avocado and spread that on your bread. Avocado and vegetables go great together!

I like mine warm, but you can use them cold, too.


Another Way to Make a Sandwich

Pita pockets or pita bread are a nice change every now and then. You can fill them with all sorts of stuff.

Steamed vegetables go great with pita bread. You can make this into a salad or a sandwich. Well, it's a little bit of both, isn't it? Add some shredded lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, tofu, and your favorite condiment for something different. Served warm or cold, it's a pleasant deviation from sandwiches.

I hope I've given you some ideas for those leftover veggies. The possibilities are only limited by your own imagination...and your pantry. You can do so many things with vegetables. Try one my ideas or tell us about your own!

© 2011 Melody Lassalle

What's Your Favorite Easy Meal?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Mixed veggie soup with udon noodles. Just a cube of veggie bouillon, an onion, some veggies (whatever's in the fridge), the noodles, and some spices and herbs. 15 minutes max. Yum.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Anything I can throw in a juicer or blender

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I like a taco salad that I make often in the summer. Don't think I've made a lens yet with the recipe, but think I've saved pictures to do one. Any cooking on hot days (like today!) is done on the grill or in the morning when it's cool.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Um.. I think chicken, potatoes, and carrots in an oven bag! :)

    • aliciamaggie54 profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for your tips. A nice quick meal is tortillas and tacos.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      8 years ago from Houston

      Great ideas. Good for you! I grab a tostada, slap some store-bought queso on it, throw down a jalepeno slice and microwave it for 25 seconds. Dinner. If I'm feeling really ambitious, I'll add a spoon of chopped tomatoes, a handful of cut lettuce and maybe some sliced chicken breast pieces (all done ahead and stored). That's IF.


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