Recipe Ideas for Lunch Using Leftovers

2013 Apr 30 |  Written by:  | Tags: , ,

Recipe Ideas for Lunch Using Leftovers, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings meatBig dinners are always fun, but more than often than not, the host is left with many a plastic container of leftovers afterwards. It’s a waste to throw good food out when there are so many people who don’t get to eat in other parts of the world, so what to do with that half a chicken or cold slices of beef? Easy enough: turn leftovers into delicious, nutritious lunch options for you and the rest of the family.

Make sure to store leftovers quickly as cold temperatures help prevent bacteria growth. Use airtight, leak-proof clear containers or wraps and divide the leftovers in small, shallow containers before putting them in the refrigerator to allow them to cool faster. For poultry, remove stuffing to a separate container. Leftovers can be safely kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Thawing can be done either by moving frozen food to the refrigerator, running/soaking the container in cold water or using a microwave. When reheating, sauces, gravies and soups should be brought to a rolling boil while other leftovers should be thoroughly heated to 74C. If using a microwave to reheat, remove plastic wrap, foil, styrofoam or freezer containers, arrange the leftovers evenly in a microwave-safe dish and rotate when heating.

There are many great ideas for lunch recipes using leftovers – whether it’s red meat, poultry, fish, potatoes or vegetables. We’ve compiled a few easy-to-make recipe ideas using leftovers for lunch. You can make these ahead of time, such as the night before to avoid rushing in the morning, or in big batches to be divided among family members’ lunch boxes. Add a piece or two of fruit in and you’re set to go for the day!

Sandwiches and Wraps

Sandwiches are some of the easiest lunches you can put together using leftovers. They are versatile, too. You can use practically any kind of meat for filling, add in whatever vegetables you have and use bread that’s readily available in your kitchen. But for more gourmet options that you can use to make a tasty sandwich in no time, check these out!

Cheesy Meatloaf Sandwich
Pork and Slaw Sandwich
Chilli-Rubbed Flank Steak Wraps
Devilled Ham Salad On Rye Bread
Greek Lamb Baguette


Salads are perfect for the more health-conscious. Like sandwiches, salads are fairly easy to make and require minimal preparation. Simply shred or slice whatever cold cuts you have, toss together with some greens and dressing and pack in an airtight container. Salads also need no heating up, and make for good snacks as well as lunches. Here are a few creative ideas.

Steak Salad
Leftover Roast Beef Spicy Salad
Chicken and Mango Salad
Grilled Tenderloin and Fingerling Potato Salad
Moroccan Turkey Salad

Potatoes and Patties

Want to deviate from the usual sandwiches? Try making some fritters or patties using your leftovers – they require a bit more time to prepare, but make for very filling lunches. The good thing about these is that you can make them well ahead of time, refrigerate and then take to work or school in the next couple of days.

Chicken and Chickpea Fritters
Cheese, Leek and Potato Tortilla
Leftover Meatloaf Parmesan
German-Style Crisp Potato Pancakes
Leftover Stew Pasties

Pasta and Rice

fried rice
If it’s a hearty lunch you need, there’s nothing like pasta or rice to load you up. For leftover rice, just toss in whatever other leftovers you have in a wok and stir-fry. For pasta dishes, you’ll have to cook the pasta before adding in leftovers for the sauce, but as far as stomach-fillers go, these take the top spot.

Fast-Fix Fried Rice
Stir-Fried Rice with Chilli Tuna
Meatloaf Stuffed Shells
Chicken and Mushroom Fried Rice
Turkey Carbonara

We also have a great collection of nutritious, simple recipes for lunch at the office using this season’s vegetables. Let us know what you think in the comments section below and feel free to add your own contributions!

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