What shall I do with leftover vegetables?
Kate, Leeds University Food Science Undergraduate, shares her top tips for making vegetables great again with these leftovers tips and a recipe to go with it. A regular occurrence at University can involve opening the fridge door with great anticipation, excited to cook up all of the delights inside, but instead being greeted with half a green pepper, a sad looking carrot and a courgette that’s gone a bit soft around the edges… Due to their short shelf life, vegetables are commonly wasted in the UK. On average, 1.2 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables are thrown away yearly from UK households – a scary thought! (1) I hate the idea of throwing food away that’s perfectly usable, so I’ve come up with a go-to recipe that stops those poor vegetables destined for the bin into a 5-star meal (or edible and tasty, at least!)
A super easy way to use up left over vegetables is to make a huge vegetable sauce which can then be eaten with rice, pasta or a jacket potato or added to some tofu or veggie sausages to boost the protein content to make a filling and balanced meal. It’s a super cheap and delicious way of using up leftovers and barely takes any time at all.
Below is my go-to recipe with some example ingredients that you may commonly have in, but you really can use anything you have leftover. Make your vegetables great again!
Kate’s loveable left-over vegetables’ sauce:
Kate's Loveable Leftover Sauce
Cost per serving: free! (Dependent on leftover veggies!)
- Whatever leftover veggies you have in the fridge, chopped up
- Pantry amenities: oil, onions, can of chopped tomatoes, garlic and your choice of seasonings.
- Step 1 Finely chop an onion and add to a large pan with a glug of oil and heat on a low temperature until the onions begin to soften.
- Step 2 If you’re using any other vegetables that take a long time to cook (butternut squash, sweet potato or carrots) add these to the pan with the onions too.
- Step 3 Once the vegetables have softened, add some chopped garlic and increase to medium heat, stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Step 4 Now add whichever leftover vegetables you have to hand. Stir well.
- Step 5 After around 5 minutes and the vegetables have all begun to go soft, add two cans of chopped tomatoes, some salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 6 Add some other seasoning at the point if you wish: oregano, mixed herbs, basil.
- Step 7 Allow the sauce to simmer on a low-medium heat for around 15 minutes to allow it to thicken.
- Step 8 Serve it with paste, rice or a jacket potato and a meat-free protein like lentils, beans or tofu!
- Step 9 More leftovers? Any leftover sauce can simply be frozen. Allow the sauce to cool before portion into zip-lock bags or Tupperware and freeze until your next empty fridge moment!