Using Leftover Vegetables

Category Vegetables
If you have vegetables left over from other meal prep or you just have extra, find other meals to use them up to minimize food waste. This is a page about using leftover vegetables.


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My family loves coleslaw and salads and I make them often BUT not with mayo or salad cream. I dress them with a little oil and vinegar and then serve them up. If they prefer, they can add mayo or salad dressing to their portion on their plates.

Whatever is left in the serving bowl, whether it is coleslaw or salad, is stir fried with a little soy sauce and whatever leftover meat I happen to have, like chopped ham, bits of bacon, any leftover (cooked) chicken or beef. Sometimes I fry a sliced onion before I put in the coleslaw or salad for extra flavour. Serve it over noodles, leftover pasta or rice. Add a dash of tabasco to spice it up, if you wish. Nothing is wasted and my family enjoys another meal the next day for LITERALLY pennies! I know it sounds odd, but it is delicious.

By Cettina from Malta, Europe

Comment Was this helpful? 3

This is so frugal and easy!

Put a big plastic container in the freezer and every night after dinner put the tiny bit of leftover veggies and/or potatoes that you usually throw in the garbage in the container, juice and all. When the container is full, dump it in a pot and add a can of tomatoes and maybe some rice if you like.


Add some chopped celery, onions, and garlic if you want. Throw in some basil and thyme and any other spices you like and you have the best cheapest soup ever. Best of all the kids will eat all those veggies they claim they hate.

If you do add rice, chopped celery, onion or garlic make sure to cook them first in the tomatoes before you add all those already cooked veggies from your freezer container.

Servings: 6-10
Time:+/-20 Minutes Preparation Time
+/- 30 Minutes Cooking Time

By Barbara from Rouses Point, NY

Comment Was this helpful? 11

Know how we chop off ends of veggies or ditch salads or refrigerator veggies that are less than fresh looking but still good? Well, if you don't freeze them for future soup, consider juicing them now in your food processor or blender.


They are great for breakfasts! Add an apple, banana, yogurt, OJ or any other juice or soy milk you may have and you have a healthy breakfast that is easy to make and drink up plus you get your veggies in you first thing in the morning!

Great for those of us who don't eat breakfast too since we are more apt to drink something in the morning anyway.

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Whenever I have leftover vegetables, especially when it is only a small amount, I put them in a 2 pint plastic container with a lid. I always keep this container on a shelf in my freezer, so it is very convenient.

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When you have a variety of vegetables on their last legs but not enough of any one to make a full dish, chop them all up, throw them in a roaster, coat with a light layer of oil and seasoning.

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When I have just a small amount of vegetables or gravy left over, I put them in a container and freeze them. When I make soups or stews, I add this container (or containers).


I do the same thing with some leftover juices like V8 or tomato juice, makes for a hardier stew.

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If I have less than one serving of cooked vegetables left, they go into an omelette. When I have 1-2 cups left over, they get minced and added to meat loaf, burgers, or poultry stuffing.

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When you have small amounts of soft veggies left over (squash, potatoes, etc.), add them to an egg and cornmeal, make into patties and fry in skillet.

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April 22, 2001

Extra cooked squash can be frozen in ice cube trays, then added to soups and stews for additional nutrition.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 30, 2013

I seem to have vegetables go rotten in my fridge before I can eat them. I usually purchase broccoli, carrots, onions (not in the fridge), green peppers, and celery. Does anyone have a recipe that I can use all of these in and maybe suggestions for more veggies that will last in my fridge for at least three days? I am trying to lose weight and would like to have this for lunch if possible.


By Elizabeth C


October 2, 20130 found this helpful

Chop whatever veggies you have, add a can of diced tomatoes, some beef or chicken broth garlic and onion powder, sweet and low to taste, and if you wish, some rice or ramen noodles. Cook until veggies (rice) are tender. If you use ramen noodles, add for the last few minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Hints: I always use zucchini in my soup, and will add chopped chicken or browned, drained ground beef, which I keep in my freezer. If I use beef broth, I add a can of beans for fiber.

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October 2, 20130 found this helpful

Any stir-fry can use those veggies, all together or in any combination, and it's a healthy option. Heat your wok or large skillet and add a tiny bit of oil - just enough to help the veggies get that golden brown tone. Chop them into pieces that are about the same size (grate/shred the carrots), toss them in the hot pan and stir until they are crisp-tender.


You can add a little chicken or other meat, as well as your favorite sauce, or just season them with a little salt & pepper, garlic/onion powder, or your favorite spice. You can also toss in leftover rice and, at the last minute, stir in a beaten egg and some soy sauce for fried rice.

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October 5, 20130 found this helpful

I had the same problem until I purchased Debbie Meyers Green bags they really work! I also started breaking up the large bundles of veggies at the store taking half the amount and leaving the rest. Once home I wash them, dry them & put them in the Green Bags - they last almost two weeks. The Dollar General in my area now carry Green Containers that are supposed to do the same thing but I haven't tried them. Good Luck!

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Answer this Question...

August 20, 2018

Pureed and frozen veggies can be added to future recipes, adding nutrients, flavor, and sometimes a bit of color. They can also sometimes be used to replace some of the liquid called for in a recipe. This is a page about puree and freeze excess vegetables.

Pureed vegetables in an ice tray.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 5, 2010

Hate throwing away those leftover veggies? Don't! Start a container in the freezer and freeze any leftovers. I buy a package of stew meat and once the container in the freezer gets full, I put the meat and all the frozen leftover veggies in the crock pot and we have a great supper! - Marsha

What do you do with leftover veggies? Post your ideas below:


Leftover Veggies

I also save my leftover vegetables in a bag in the freezer. When full, I add cubed meat (chicken, beef or whatever) and make a piecrust(top and bottom works best). Voila! Homemade potpie! Sometimes with the beef/vegetable filling I put them in individual oven-proof crocks and top with mashed potatoes,that makes them shepherd's pies. My husband loves my frugal cooking! (01/15/2001)

By Kathy, Northfield, VT

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May 27, 2010

I receive a lot of praise over my varied and really good "homemade" vegetable soup. The way I get the ingredients for my soup is after each meal, instead of putting my left over vegetables (even if it is only a tablespoon) in the refrigerator, I do this.

I pour most of the liquid out (only reserving a small amount) and then pour all into a plastic container that I keep in my freezer for this purpose. I use a large see through container so that I can see through at a glance what vegetable are stacking up but any would serve the purpose. This also helps me make sure that I'm not stuck in a rut of serving the same old vegetables too often.

When my container is full, I will thaw and put all into a crock pot to simmer on low. I normally don't have to add anything but maybe some tomatoes.

Source: Too cheap to throw out and not enough to serve another meal.

By Meemaw


Using Your Leftover Vegetables

I do this, too. I add any leftover mashed potatoes which tends to thicken the soup a little. Also if I want some meat in there I will often just make meat balls, for the flavor. A pan of cornbread and we're all set for a meal that is almost free! (10/01/2009)

By Sally Cramer

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October 1, 2009

When I have a tablespoon of vegetables left at the end of a meal. I freeze in a whipped topping bowl in the freezer part of the refrigerator. I add daily whatever is leftover. (i.e. rice, pasta, or broth from other recipes). When the bowl is full, I add a can or bag of mixed vegetables, and serve with hot corn bread or rolls.

My children love "Mom's Red Soup" as mine usually had a tomato base. They can also be added to casseroles. Thanks.

By Becky from Addison, AL

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May 15, 2009

I found a great way to use leftover cooked vegetables. I liquefy them in the blender and then add them to my tomato sauce. It adds vitamins, but does not change the flavor. Also, if you have a very young one who is now on table food, and you are left with several jars of pureed vegetables, these too can be added to tomato sauce. These are two ways to use all the food you've paid for.

By Marie from West Dundee, IL


Using Your Leftover Vegetables

Make use of your leftover vegetables! I keep a container in the freezer for saving leftover vegetables for soup. Each time we have green beans, peas, carrots, corn (you get the idea) leftover from a meal, I combine them together and put them in the freezer container. When the container gets full, I make a large roast for one meal and then use the leftover meat and my freezer container of vegetables for a pot of soup.

By Sherri

Using Your Leftover Vegetables

Sherri, awesome way to make good use of veggie leftovers. Thanks for sharing!


By ~ Wendola ~

Using Your Leftover Vegetables

I do the same thing, Sherri. You just keep a freezer container in the freezer labeled "soup veggies" and then pile on layer after layer of leftover veggies on top. This is a great way to use up all those last little tidbits of leftover veggies from the dinner table to enhance homemade soup. Once you fill up the container, just dump the frozen lump into your next soup pot! Works fantastic. (10/11/2006)

By Mary

Using Your Leftover Vegetables

You can also add mash potato to greens, carrots, etc. then mash together and put in pan with little oil and fry both sides till brown then serve with any meat you like. (04/09/2009)

By shirley

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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