There’s no question about it: we’re deep into feasting season, now. The days have gotten shorter, the air is crisp and chilly, and all we want to do is cozy up with our loved ones and tuck into
cozy, comforting meals.
Of course, food is a traditional part of most festivities, and whether you’re cooking to celebrate a holiday or just someone who likes to whip up large, fantastic feasts for no reason at all, around this time of year, home cooks often find themselves with leftover ingredients on their hands. Don’t worry, though — you don’t need to waste all that food, or resign yourself to making plate after plate of vegan French toast until all your leftover bread bits are gone. There are simple and exciting ways to use up your leftover bread loafs. Here are some of our favorites.
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan, plant-based and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Bread Archives!
1. Bread Pudding
Bread pudding is the quintessential way to repurpose your leftover bread, namely because the dish actually benefits from using older, staler bread (rather than the fresh, fluffy stuff). The best part? It’s totally versatile. Whether you’re working with an old loaf of brioche or some quickly hardening slices of seasonal pumpkin bread, with a little creativity, you can turn it into a comforting pudding in no time.
The Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding With Salted Caramel Sauce, pictured above, marries together all the flavors of autumn into a cozy, sweet dessert, as does this recipe for Banana Bread Pudding. Recipes like this Blueberry and Oat Breakfast Bread Pudding or this Cherry Tomato and Kale Bread Pudding offer more breakfast-friendly and savory options.
Panzanella is a rustic-tasting Italian salad from Tuscany, made from stale bread and tomatoes — in other words, the perfect way to turn your leftover bread into a refreshing salad or light meal. Go for a Panzanella if you find yourself in possession of a good, hearty, crunchy, dry bread that can stand up to the salad’s vinaigrette dressing and acidic tomatoes.
The Warm Autumn Panzanella With Cinnamon Cider Dressing is the perfect late-fall, early-winter iteration of Panzella, while this Golden Beet Panzanella recipe is innovative and unique. A salad with bread cubes that sop up all the juicy goodness from the dressing? Yes, please. Finally, this Panzanella is classic and rewarding.
A famous Tuscan soup, Ribollita is a hearty potage that can be made in a variety of different ways. Traditionally, however, a Ribollita calls for leftover bread, cannellini beans, and an assortment of different vegetables, like kale, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, onion, chard, or even potato.
The recipe for the 15-Minute Rustic Ribollita, pictured above, yields a result that is somewhere between a stew and a soup, with a chunky yet starchy base and a substantial bite from the cannellini beans — and it’s a real time-saver. If you have a little more time, you can also try out this Tuscan Ribollita — it’s perfect for a rainy day.
4. Classic Romesco Sauce
Flavorful, warming, and bright, Romesco is a red sauce that hails from Catalonia, which is a region that sits on the Northeastern coast of Spain. While a traditional romesco doesn’t necessarily require bread — what you really need is a variety of nuts, garlic, oil (olive or sunflower), and red peppers, many recipes call for flour and/or old, crusty bread to help thicken the sauce and provide texture.
Raw foodies will want to give this recipe for Raw Romesco Soup, pictured above, a go. If you’re opting for a more traditional Romesco experience, try out this recipe for a Cauliflower Steak Sandwich With Romesco Sauce, in which garlicky cauliflower steaks are smothered in tangy Romesco tomato sauce and topped with a dollop of creamy coleslaw. Finally, highlight the tangy flavor of the Romesco with this recipe for Caramelized Leeks With Romesco Sauce.
If you have some old rolls or slices of bread to use up, give Semmelknödel — aka German dumplings — a try. Knödel are boiled dumplings that are often made from flour, bread, and potatoes, and are delicious when paired with sauces, gravies, or broths because they sop up all the flavor in a cozy, soul-affirming bite.
These Cranberry Bread Dumplings With Red Wine Mushroom Sauce are held together with ground flax seeds. Fresh cranberries, parsley, and chopped almonds not only make these dumplings festive and pretty to look at, but also they taste amazing. Served alongside a red wine mushroom sauce, the two go together like no other. Add them to your holiday spread, alongside a veggie loaf, or just make them on their own.
6. Plant-Based Meatballs
Blitzing your leftover bread into breadcrumbs is an obvious choice — but using those breadcrumbs to make plant-based meatballs is the inspired next step.
This recipe for a Walnut and Mushroom Meatball Sub, pictured above, is savory, slightly sweet from the red sauce, and gets texture and freshness from the walnuts, breadcrumbs, and kale, while this recipe for Tempeh Meatballs calls for gluten-free breadcrumbs. Finally, these Lentil “Meat” Balls are full of protein and totally satisfying.
Interested in learning more about how to repurpose leftover ingredients into delicious, inspired recipes everyone will enjoy? Read this feature on How to Reuse Leftovers to Create New Dishes.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
- Reduce Your Fast Fashion Footprint: Take initiative by standing up against fast fashion pollution and supporting sustainable and circular brands like Tiny Rescue that are raising awareness around important issues through recycled zero-waste clothing designed to be returned and remade over and over again.
- Support Independent Media: Being publicly-funded gives us a greater chance to continue providing you with high-quality content. Please consider supporting us by donating!
- Sign a Petition: Your voice matters! Help turn petitions into victories by signing the latest list of must-sign petitions to help people, animals, and the planet.
- Stay Informed: Keep up with the latest news and important stories involving animals, the environment, sustainable living, food, health, and human interest topics by subscribing to our newsletter!
- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, donate if you can, grow your own food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!