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Fight Festive Food Waste: Leftovers Leftovers Leftovers

Tips to reduce your food waste throughout the festive season: what to do with your Christmas Day leftovers.

One of the joys of hosting at Christmas is the leftovers! Yet, a new survey has shown that 13% of Christmas food is thrown in the bin. Not only is perfectly good food getting thrown away, but also the resources used to grow it and the money you bought it with!

If you have lots of leftovers, it might be worth freezing some of it straight away, so you don’t get bored! Check out our previous blog post for freezing tips.

For the third instalment in our Fight Festive Food Waste blog series, Alex from 50 Ways to Cook and I have had fun creating some leftover recipe ideas for you!

Leftover Roast Potatoes → Bombay Roast Potatoes


  • 1 onion, sliced

  • A nob of ginger, grated

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 large green chilli, diced

  • ½ a tin of chopped tomatoes

  • Handful of coriander, stalks and leaves separated

  • A splash of vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • ½ tsp garam masala

  • A pinch of chilli powder

  • Leftover roast potatoes


  1. Add your onions, chilli, and finely sliced coriander stalks to a saucepan on medium heat and cook for 5 minutes until starting to soften. Then add your cumin and mustard seeds and toast for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

  2. Next add your ginger, garlic, and ground spices and fry on a low heat for another few minutes until fragrant.

  3. Then add your tinned tomatoes and stir well. Top up with water and let it simmer covered for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.

  4. Tip in the potatoes and cook for three to five minutes to absorb the flavours. Check the seasoning, stir in the chopped coriander and serve.

Leftover Potatoes → Gnocchi with Pesto

This is another great way to use up spare potatoes and flour and is great if you want a little break from Christmas food. It can also be really fun to make with kids. You can easily jazz these up with any herbs or greens you have lying around by making a simple pesto! The classics include basil, but I also love to use up broccoli stalks, carrot tops, leftover herbs and kale this way! Let the contents of your fridge guide you. Sauteed garlic mushrooms? Yes please!


  • 1kg floury potatoes, peeled

  • 100g plain flour


  1. Add the potatoes to salted boiling water for 10-15 minutes until soft (test with a knife).

  2. Strain the potatoes and mash them until they are lump-free

  3. Make a hollow in the potatoes and add some of the flour. Using a fork, combine the flour mix, adding more as necessary but as little as possible to keep the lovely flavour of the potatoes. Top tip: the less you work the dough, the lighter it’ll be!

  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into sausages about 2cm thick. Cut into slices about 3cm in length, then roll into an oval shape in your hand. This is your basic gnocchi.

  5. Now gently roll each piece down the back of a fork to add grooves, which will help your sauce to stick

  6. Cook in a pan of boiling salted water for 2 to 3 minutes – as soon as they float to the surface, they’re ready.

  7. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss with your sauce of choice.

Any Leftovers → Boxing Day Toasties

There’s nothing better than a deliciously oozy toastie on Boxing Day. I might even go as far as to say it's better than Christmas dinner itself. You can really cater to your own preferences here by using your imagination. Ideas are: turkey, cranberry sauce and cheese; or ham, chutney, bacon, tomato and mustard; or turkey, sprouts, stuffing and bread sauce! Fun extras to help you get creative include: chutney, cornichons, spring onions, chilli flakes, or even parsnip brings a delicious flavour!

The tricks to a fabulous toastie are:

  1. Lightly butter the outside of the bread, and add herbs like oregano if you're feeling adventurous!

  2. Allow your toastie maker to get up to temperature before putting the sandwich in

  3. Try not to open the toastie maker during cooking

  4. Don’t slice your bread too thin

Leftover Gravy → Stock Cubes

Gravy can be hard work to make, and it’s not easy to repurpose it into leftovers. So, don’t repurpose it! You can use it again in any future dishes, such as casseroles, stews or pies to add some extra flavour without any hassle! First, reduce your gravy by boiling on the stove until it's nice and concentrated. Once your gravy has cooled, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. These frozen cubes can then be used when you need them by adding them straight to your cooking!

Leftover Wine or Juice → Poached Pears

Poached pears feel really luxurious but are also a very simple yet healthy dessert - the perfect antidote to all that Christmas food! You can poach pears in vanilla syrup, wine, or even leftover fruit juice!


  • 4 pears, peeled, halved and cored

  • 20g greek yoghurt

  • Optional: chopped nuts, e.g. pistachios


  • 750ml pressed apple juice*

  • 1 cinnamon stick


  • 750ml orange juice*

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

*You can also do half juice and half white wine


1. Put the pears in a saucepan with the juice and other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and poach for 15 minutes.

2. Remove the pears. Then, boil the liquid for 8-10 minutes until thick and syrupy.

3. Mix 2 tbsp of the reduced liquor with the greek yoghurt, then serve with the pears.

4. Serve sprinkled with chopped nuts, and use more cooking liquor as a sauce.

Stale Mince Pies → Mince Pie Brownies

We can confirm this recipe, from BBC Good Food is GENIUS. Think gooey, indulgent brownies with bites of actual mince pie dotted throughout.

We hope you enjoy these recipes, and wish you a very Merry and Sustainable Christmas!!


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