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5 Summer Dinners that Make the Most of Leftovers

By Tami Weiser
July 21, 2021
Photo Credit: Taste

If you have leftovers, a healthy summer meal is likely within reach. From salads and grain bowls to burgers and enchiladas, here’s how to repurpose your leftovers into something that’s even better than your O.G. meal.

1. If you have leftover chicken…

If you have leftover chicken from your summer barbecue and a box of pasta, you can have chicken pasta salad on the table in less than 20 minutes. With so many types of pasta available, there’s one to fit almost every nutritional need and taste.

Get a recipe: Healthy Chicken Pasta Salad from Taste

Leftover Summer dinners

Photo Credit: Cookie and Kate

2. If you have leftover bread…

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 they’re falling apart a little bit, you’ve found the perfect tomatoes. Panzanella recipes are more of a template than a “formal” recipe, and this one is a terrific place to start.

Get a recipe: Panzanella Salad from Cookie and Kate

Quinoa spinach turkey burgers WIth Leftovers

Photo Credit: The Real Food Dietitians

3. If you have leftover quinoa…

If you made a big batch of quinoa for the week and find yourself with leftovers at the end of the week, make turkey burgers! This recipe combines cooked quinoa, with ground turkey, spinach, and cheese for a newfangled twist that feels altogether fresh.

Get a recipe: Quinoa Spinach Turkey Burgers With Goat Cheese from The Real Food Dietitians

Lentil salad

Photo Credit: Faith Durand / Kitchn

4. If you have leftover lentils and/or rice…

Leftover lentils (or widely available precooked lentils) and leftover rice pair incredibly well with walnuts and just a pinch of pomegranate molasses. This is a reliable, sustaining, and light recipe, making it a great option for lunch. Because the lentils and rice are already made, it comes together in a flash.

Get a recipe: Colorful Lentil Salad With Walnuts & Herbs from Kitchn

leftover enchiladas

Photo Credit: Lex Eats

5. If you have leftover pulled pork, hamburgers, or bean salad…

Enchiladas are a leftover-loving recipe. As blogger Lex Eats notes, this recipe will work with pretty much any leftover protein, like pulled pork or hamburger patties. But you can also make it vegetarian with your leftover black bean salad.

Get a recipe: Leftover Enchiladas from Lex Eats


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