This ‘Leftovers Bowl’ Formula Helps You Use Up Food in Your Fridge Before It Goes Bad

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"It's the most delicious way to cut down on food waste."

If you’ve ever stood in front of the refrigerator wondering what to do with all the food that’s about to expire, the “Leftovers Bowl” is for you. Created by Gia Stanley, the sustainable chef behind Sustainably Gia, it’s a simple way to make something delicious out of what would have gone to waste.

“It’s my favorite way to cut back on food waste,” Stanley wrote on Instagram. “This super easy, delicious ‘Leftovers Bowl’ allows me to give my leftovers a second life.”

The formula for her Leftovers Bowl is simple: Stanley says you just need 2 to 4 hot leftovers, and 2 to 4 cold leftovers. That formula can also be adjusted so any of your about-to-go-bad produce can be used. For example, in the bowl below, her hot items included brown rice, sesame-glazed asparagus, a sautéed mushroom and shallot mix, and BBQ tempeh. For her cold items, she used kale, red cabbage, and salsa. “The possibilities are endless,” she says.

leftovers bowl
Photo: Gia Stanley

To make your bowl interesting and satisfying, try to incorporate different textures and colors. Also add in at least one protein source to make it filling. Stanley combined BBQ tempeh with a handful of different vegetables for a mixed variety of vitamins and nutrients.

While this formula always makes your Leftovers Bowl taste great, the best part is that it’s also totally sustainable. After all, you are cutting down on food waste by making a smorgasbord of different options, all in one bowl. Instead of throwing out those food scraps—sending them to the landfill where they won’t break down—you’re making use of them. Aka the best kind of sustainability hack there is.

Curious about a zero waste lifestyle? Want to know what the “circular economy” really means? Subscribe to Brightly’s top-rated podcast, Good Together. Every 30-minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help you live your life more sustainably.

It's the most delicious way to cut down on food waste.

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