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You Can Make Dinner Using Only Leftovers + Pantry Staples

No matter how much you try to stay on top of your weekly grocery routine, there inevitably comes a time when you just don’t have the energy to go to the store. We’ve been there, and we get it (read: we started Plated, you should try it).

We also understand that the urge to just give up and order take out seems pretty appealing at these times, but try to resist! There are a ton of great dishes that you can make with ingredients you definitely already have in your kitchen. Roll up your sleeves, get creative, and make use of leftovers and pantry staples—and, of course, we’re here to help.

Loaded frittata

If you find yourself with a fridge full of assorted leftover veggies after a dinner party (cooked or raw), throwing together a big frittata should be your move. This easy dish comes together in less than 30 minutes and is totally adaptable to whatever vegetables, spices, and cheeses you happen to have lying around. This recipe includes some roasted garlic potatoes for a little something extra, but feel free to omit if you’re in a time crunch, and just want to get food on the table.


1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 medium red onion, diced
3 cups spinach
1/2 cup chopped leftover roasted vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, peppers, etc).
1 tomato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, toss potatoes and garlic with 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast on middle rack until potatoes are golden and crisp, about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sour cream and season with salt and pepper. In a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add leftover vegetables, spinach, and tomato, and season with salt and pepper. Add egg mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle with Parmesan and cook, undisturbed, until edge is set, about 2 minutes.

Transfer skillet to upper rack in oven and bake until slightly puffed and almost set, about 8 minutes.

Heat broiler and broil until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 1 minute. Run a rubber spatula around edge of frittata and transfer to a plate. Cut into wedges and serve with potatoes and garlic.

Veggie chili

Chili is the perfect pantry-raiding meal because the bulk of the ingredients are shelf-stable items that you likely have stocked in your cupboards already. Feel free to sub in vegetables that you may already have on hand instead of the zucchini and peppers we specify below. You can also use dried herbs instead of fresh, but make sure to adjust the amounts—dried herbs are much more concentrated and potent than their fresh counterparts.


2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup mixed peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
1⁄4 cup fresh cilantro minced
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
Black Pepper


In a large pot, heat the three tablespoons of olive oil. Add the zucchini, onion, peppers and garlic, and sauté until tender and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in all remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30–45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with additional salt, pepper, and spices to taste.

Fried Rice

Here at Plated, we’re obsessed with fried rice because it makes such good use of any and all leftovers. Containers of cooked rice, chicken, fish, and vegetables are maybe a little sad on their own, but throw them together in a wok or cast iron pan with some peanut oil, soy sauce, and other aromatics you may have on hand (garlic, ginger, spices, etc.) and you can create something totally glorious.

Pro tip: this is also a great dish to use up extra greens you may have that aren’t quite fresh enough for a salad. They’ll add some color and texture.


1/4 cup peanut or sesame oil, divided
1 large shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 cups leftover jasmine or brown rice
3/4 pound leftover protein (such as chicken or fish), cut into large cubes
1 small fresh chile (optional), minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 cups greens, such as slivered napa cabbage, halved baby bok choy, or roughly cut spinach
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 lime, juiced
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems discarded
1 scallion, sliced
1/4 cup toasted peanuts (optional)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


In a wok or large cast-iron pan, heat the oil over high heat.

Add the shallots and garlic and let color on one side. Flip over, then add the rice. Pour in 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to steam up and reheat the rice. Let the rice cook uncovered so that it crisps up on the bottom. When warmed and browned, remove from the pan and reserve.

Add 2 more tablespoons vegetable oil to the pan and fry the chile, if using, and ginger. Then add the greens and whatever leftover protein you have and heat. Season with a little salt.

When cooked, add the rice back in and toss everything together. Transfer to a bowl and pour the soy sauce, vinegar, and lime juice and mix to combine. Add in cilantro, scallions, and, if using, peanuts. Garnish with sesame seeds. Serve hot.


This dish may sound fancy, (and, therefore, complicated) but in reality, it’s very simple. All you need are a can of tomatoes, an onion, and some eggs—anything other flavors (cheese, hummus, herbs) that you add in are a bonus!

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