Leftover Lovers mezze plate with Sri Lankan-style curry

How to Turn Leftovers into a Hero Meal

Do you have a build-up of vegetables and fruits in the fridge and are not sure what incredible combinations to cook up? Here are our go-to classic curry and stir-fry recipes, plus plating tips to make your leftovers the star of the family dinner table.

Learn more tips on reducing your food costs and waste at Jessie’s root-to-stem cooking workshop.

What to do with leftovers by Leftover Lovers

Sri Lankan-Style Curry

Ready in 25 minutes | Serves 4-6

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, finely sliced
  • 1 green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled, halved, and finely sliced
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 4 cloves of garlic, roughly crushed
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp tamarind juice
  • 2 medium bananas, optional
  • 600g vegetables and fruit
  • 1 ½ tomato, roughly chopped
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • ½ tsp fine black pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash the fruit and vegetables and set aside. There is no need to completely dry the vegetables after washing, a little water is fine.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they are fragrant and are popping in the oil, around 2 minutes. Add in 5 of the curry leaves, the green chilli and onion and cook for 10 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently.
  3. Tumble in one of the tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Now add the turmeric, chilli powder, ground coriander, garlic and salt and stir to coat. Add the bananas, if using, and pour in the tamarind juice allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, 400ml of water along with the washed fruit and vegetables, pepper, remaining tomato and curry leaves.
  5. Stir to combine, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and the curry has thickened. Season to taste. Transfer curry to a deep serving dish and serve with rice.

Tips

  • Rockmelon, bananas would work well alongside capsicum, eggplant and root vegetables. Cut to 4cm pieces
  • Tamarind juice can be substituted with lime juice and sugar
How to use leftover lettuce and greens by Leftover Lovers
Did you know that lettuce and leafy greens are the most common food waste items in home kitchens?

Simple Stir-Fry

After something simpler during the week? You cannot beat our everyday simple stir-fry recipe. And it works just as perfectly with lettuce and other leafy greens. Use this recipe for every one cup of any greens, brassicas, or leftover meals.

Ingredients

  • ½ zest of one lemon
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp garlic oil

Instructions

  1. Add the oil, zest and chilli flakes to your pan. Increase the heat to high and add your vegetables and leftovers. Add more water instead of oil if the pan becomes dry.
  2. Vegetables will just need a quick saute in the pan, meats will need to be brought to a high temperature, continue to stir the pan when cooking.
  3. Add this as a side to any dish, or have simply as the main fair with cooked grains and a poached egg.

Finally, fresh herbs always help jazz things up. Vietnamese mint, thyme, and parsley are hardy herbs that can be grown easily year round. Or track down your nearest community verge garden for handfuls of fresh local herbs.

Plating your leftovers for a feast

Have a few more things left in the fridge that won’t quite make it into a curry? Mezze plate dinners allow you to create a mountain of flavours on the one plate. These dinners look great, utilise your leftovers, and let you experiment, even in small ways, with different cooking styles and flavour combinations.

Leftover Lovers mezze plate with Sri Lankan-style curry

Jessie Alice

Jessie Alice is a cook and artist hailing from Melbourne. She helps people re-envision the value of food waste through Leftover Lovers. What started in January 2016 as a weekly public event focused on sharing meals and discussing food waste, Leftover Lovers has since turned into a full-time project through which Jessie holds workshops, appears on cooking shows, and consults for local food businesses.

One thought on “How to Turn Leftovers into a Hero Meal

  1. Love your work Jessie, can’t bear wasting food.
    I had a scabby apple and two very bruised pears, peeled them, mixed them with sugar, cinnamon, star anise and a little water and poached them. I served them with pork for dinner and I’ll finish them with yoghurt for brekky.

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