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Win, don't bin - leftovers recipes

By Halls 22 Mar 2023

This food waste action week, make your food go further.

From Catering at LSE Halls of Residence, we take Food Waste very seriously, we plan our menus in cycles to organise our ordering, we always reuse leftovers transforming them into delicious new recipes and encourage residents to take part in our fight to tackle food waste taking only what they plan to eat. 

We are excited to take part in Food Waste Action Week, the UK’s biggest annual food waste reduction campaign, which runs from 6th - 12th March with the theme: Win, don’t bin. This week aims to bring the nation together to save time and money by making the food we already have go further.

This year our Assistant Chef Manager at Bankside House, Tamas Noll, has put some nice recipes together to get the best from our leftovers, taking our food waste at halls as reference. The most common food waste in the halls of residences is grain (mainly rice, as it is a common side dish on our menus) and vegetables. So here is how to put both to better use.

How to use your rice leftovers

It’s critical to cool it down and store it properly as rice is more dangerous than you would think. If the rice is not cooked to the right temperature (over 75 Celsius degrees for us in professional kitchens) or cooled down as soon as possible, ideally within an hour, you can risk serious food poisoning. 

Tip: If you have leftover rice put your pot in cold water (even better if you can pour some ice in the water) It helps to cool down the rice faster. When the rice is cold enough cover it and put it in the fridge. In professional kitchens, chefs very often use blast chillers to ensure the rice is cooled down fast so it is safe to reuse it.

Rice is one of the best ingredients to create delicious leftover dishes. Here are some examples:

Fried rice

It is one of the most common ways to use up our leftover rice. What it’s even better, is that you can make it with a lot of other leftovers too! It is good to use cooked cold rice so your leftovers are perfect for it.

  1. Heat up some vegetable oil to a high temperature
  2. Put in some onions and vegetables like carrots, peas, celery, and even mushrooms, you can also use leftover meat.
  3. Bang in your rice and fry them together. When is hot enough season it with some soya sauce. For egg fried rice use some scrambled egg. Top it with sliced spring onion and fresh coriander.

TipShred your meat into small pieces so they heat up faster. 

Tip: You can be creative with spices so why not give a kick with some ginger and chilli? Make it a hit with some lime zest or lemon grass.

Arancini (Italian rice balls)

You can use leftover rice or risotto for this recipe. 

Ingredients: Onion/Shallots, Celery, garlic, salt and pepper by taste, leftover rice or risotto, parmesan cheese, mozzarella, flour, egg, breadcrumbs and oil for frying.

  1. Heat some oil in a saucepan and fry your onion, celery and garlic on medium heat for 5 minutes. 
  2. Mix it together with your leftover rice and some parmesan cheese and season it. You should get a sticky mixture.
  3. Cut your mozzarella into 2 cm pieces and make a ball from the sticky mixture around it.
  4. Bread your rice balls. Roll them into the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat oil on medium heat and fry your rice balls till golden brown (approx. 3-5 min)

Rice milk

Rice Milk - Zero-Waste Chef

Rice milk became very popular, as it’s a good vegan alternative and perfect for people with milk allergies. It’s actually very easy to make. If you like rice milk, you would be shocked at how much money you can save by making your own. The cheapest rice milk carton cost around 1.60£/litre.

 Ingredients: Rice and water.

  1. Put half a cup of cooked cold rice into a blender with 2 cups of water and blend it until it's smooth. It is that simple and easy.

Tip: If you want to turn it up use some fresh vanilla pod, cinnamon stick or saffron, and honey.

How to use your vegetable leftovers

Vegetables are always good to keep and reuse in delicious new recipes. We can use leftover vegetables in many ways but usually at halls, we use them for salad or soups. 

Minestrone soup

Minestrone Soup Recipe - Love and Lemons

It’s a versatile tomato-based soup where you can use up a lot of different leftover vegetables and it’s also easy to make. 

Ingredients: Chopped tomato (fresh or can), onion, carrots, green beans, beans, celery, garlic, oregano, basil, bay leaf, pasta (you can use many kinds, but the smaller ones are the best) parmesan for garnish (Optional) 

Tip: You can use a lot of other veg too like mushrooms, parsnips, celeriac, green peas, courgette etc.

  1. Make vegetable stock. You can use any stock cube or stockpot (about 1,5lt will serve 4x people)
  2. Have a larger saucepan. Drizzle in some olive oil and heat it to medium temperature. Put in your diced onion, carrots and celery and sweat them off.
  3. Add in your chopped tomato then fill it up with the stock. Put in your vegetable leftovers. Season it with some oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste and simmer it for about 30 minutes. Keep in mind if you are using leftover vegetables that are already cooked/steamed, cook your soup for less than 30 min. 
  4.  Add in the pasta (usually I’m using macaroni or spaghetti braked into little pieces) and cook it for about 10 minutes. The starch from the pasta will make your soup creamier and thicker. 
  5.  Serve it with some fresh basil and parmesan on top. Enjoy!!!

Spicy sweet corn and mixed bean salad

Easy and fast salad where you can use leftover sweet corn and beans, but it also works with a lot of other vegetables like peas, green beans, mushrooms, potatoes etc.

  1. Have a mixing bowl and tip in your sweet corn and beans. Add a good drizzle of olive oil. Lightly season them with some salt and pepper, you can add a bit of lime or lemon juice.
  2. Chop in some fresh chilli or use sriracha or any chilli sauce. It’s that simple!

Tip: You can add some rocket, spinach leaf fresh coriander and avocado. Will give you vivid colours and some extra taste. For more colours use some red pepper or cherry tomatoes.  

These are just some ideas of what we can do to save food waste and create new recipes out of our daily leftovers. Let us know if you try any of them @lsecatering! For more recipes to help prevent unnecessary waste, check BBC good food.

Win, don’t bin it!
Chef Tamas Noll, Assistant Chef Manager