Festive Leftovers

christmas-581754_640Christmas is a major retail event in the UK, and has a significant environmental impact. Recent figures suggest that over the festive period, the equivalent of 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies are thrown in the bin.

We’ve collected some resources and recipes, to provide tips and inspiration for making the most of your food at Christmas. Reducing household waste doesn’t have to be a chore, but can be a way to think outside the box, and impress yourself and others with creative solutions – which often also save money!

Top tips:

  • Plan your shopping
  • Freeze any leftovers you won’t be able to use straight away
  • Try to source seasonal vegetables from a local supplier
  • Buy locally reared meat
  • Choose the organic option where possible

Recipe Collections:

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of ‘River Cottage’ and ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’, has written a number of recipes for using up Christmas leftover. These recipes feature on The Guardian website and can be accessed here and here. You can also look at one of the Guardian’s top 10 lists for leftover Christmas recipes here.

For more general leftover recipes, see Jamie Oliver’s suggestions here.



Leftover Turkey:

A popular way to use leftover turkey is to whip up a salad that can be eaten on its own or as a sandwich filling. Try mixing cold turkey scraps with a little mayonnaise, some chopped celery and nuts, accompanied by leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Jamie Oliver has put a sophisticated, citrus twist on the classic turkey salad in this Asian-inspired number, and an alternative turkey salad with warm clementine dressing. Nigel Slater also suggests a ‘zingy citrus dressing’ for his ‘Perky Turkey’ recipe here.

For a pasta recipe with turkey, try Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s turkey with cream, bacon and peas recipe here.


Leftover Vegetables:

There are dozens of recipes on the internet for bubble and squeak, a tried and tested way to lengthen the life of leftover veggies. Nigel Slater puts his twist on it here or you can try BBC Good Food’s classic method here.

For something with a little added oomph, and to use up stray bits of cheese, try Jamie Oliver’s vegetable and cheese fritters. Jamie Oliver also suggests making vegetable pancakes with Christmas leftovers. Although the recipe suggests squash, carrots, parsnip or potatoes would work equally as well.

Another simple meal to prepare with leftover vegetables is soup. Simply cook them in some stock, and then puree once properly softened. Here is an easily adaptable vegetable soup recipe.

For those thinking a little bit outside the box, give a roasted vegetable lasagne a go! This recipe completely restyles your leftover vegetables, and will leave any type of eater happy.



Jamie Oliver’s ‘Winter Pudding Bombe‘ is a great way to use up those extra panettones and assorted ice creams and desserts. His Christmas Pudding Strudel is also a wonderful sweet which will make use of leftover Christmas Pudding.

If you find yourself with any leftover gingerbread, this can be used to make a deliciously spiced Christmas Bread and Butter Pudding

The BBC Good Food Guide also lists its 10 favourite leftover Christmas dessert recipes here.