5 Summer Dinners that Make the Most of Leftovers

Summer dinners with leftovers
Photo Credit: Cookie and Kate

Updated Sep 20, 2020 @ 11:08 pm

By Tami Weiser

Whether elevating leftovers into a whole new creation or repurposing them into a salad, sandwich, bowl or soup, a seriously healthy meal may well be in your reach this minute, with components already safely tucked in the fridge from odds and ends using the scraps from yesterday’s (or the day before yesterday’s) meals.

Panzanella Salad by CookieandKate.com

The glory of summer tomatoes makes the very best of leftover crusty bread.  Panzanella is a salad comprised of toasted bread cubes and plenty of juicy tomatoes — any color or type, but the riper the better. If you’ve got that re falling apart a little bit, you found the perfect tomatoes for panzanella. Panzanella recipes are more of a template than a “formal” recipe, and this recipe is a terrific place to start.

Quinoa Spinach Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese by therealfoodrd.com

This recipe uses leftover, cooked quinoa, along with spinach and cheese for a newfangled twist on a turkey burger that feels altogether new and fresh.

Healthy Chicken Pasta Salad by taste.com.au

Don’t discount how reliable a good pasta is for a quick leftover dinner. With so many types of pasta available, there is one to fit almost everyone’s nutritional needs and tastes. This recipe is geared to chickpea or buckwheat pasta from the get-go making this a gluten-free winner.

Chicken Enchiladas by Gimmesomeoven.com

Chicken enchiladas are a kitchen comfort classic that hits all the taste notes you expect, but best of all, it’s a leftover loving recipe. You can make a variety of fillings based upon what you have. One can be filled with chicken, another with pork, and yet another with beans or —  whatever you have in the house — is ready for rolling and eating. The homemade enchilada sauce, which can be made up to a week ahead, and refrigerated, sets this version apart, with a real punch of flavor.

Colorful Lentil Salad with Walnuts & Herbs by thekitchn.com

Leftover lentils (or precooked lentils, which are widely available) and leftover rice pair incredibly well with walnuts and just a pinch of pomegranate molasses. This is a reliable and sustaining recipe that still feels light making it a great option for lunch. You can skip the directions about cooking the lentils and rice, since it’s leftovers, and making this recipe ready in a flash.

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