HEALTHY DINNER RECIPES THAT MAKE GREAT LEFTOVERS

Healthy Dinner Recipes That Make Great Leftovers

Not all dieters have time to cook separate dishes for lunch and dinner. To save time, you can prepare dinner, and then eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. Not all dishes make good leftovers, though. You need to use the right kind of ingredients that taste just as good — if not, better — the next day. You also need to think about your weight loss diet with these leftover makeovers. If you need some inspiration, here are some healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers to get you started.

NO NEED TO THROW AWAY FOOD WITH THESE RECIPES THAT MAKE GREAT LEFTOVERS

1. QUINOA SALAD WITH SHRIMP AND GINGER-LIME DRESSING

Quinoa salad with shrimp and ginger-lime dressing is one of the recipes that make great leftovers. It’s a colourful dish thanks to the use of diet-friendly ingredients such as shrimp, red peppers and yellow corn.

The combination of the ingredients also results in a fresh but bold flavour. This healthy quinoa salad is delicious to eat after cooking or from the fridge the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 12 medium shrimp, cooked
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, halved and thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt, as needed

Directions:

  1. Place garlic, canola oil, lime juice, buttermilk, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, cayenne pepper and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to combine the ingredients.
  2. Combine scallions, cucumber, quinoa and cilantro in a large bowl.
  3. Pour ginger-lime dressing into the bowl with the quinoa mixture. Toss to evenly coat the ingredients with dressing.
  4. Transfer to a platter and top each serving with some shrimp.

2. TURMERIC AND MUSHROOM PILAF

My list of recipes that make good leftovers also includes this turmeric and mushroom pilaf dish. It’s a spicy one-pot meal you can enjoy from the stove or after reheating the next day.

This turmeric and mushroom pilaf recipe also contains ingredients that are good for weight loss. Apart from that, turmeric has many other health benefits. It can reduce your cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as relieve gas, bloating and inflammation.

Ingredients:

  • 230g brown mushrooms. sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 1/4 cups organic vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp raisins
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper, as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe casserole dish. Add onion and turmeric. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock, rice and raisins.
  4. Place casserole dish in the oven. Cook for 45 to 55 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  5. Add pine nuts, lemon juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients. Serve.

3. ONE-PAN TILAPIA AND VEGGIES

If you’re looking for healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers, it doesn’t get any better than fish and vegetables. They are diet-friendly ingredients that are just as delicious even after a few days in the fridge.

Apart from being suitable for weight loss and as leftovers, this tilapia and veggies recipe can be prepared quickly and with just one pan. Thus, it’s a good dish to cook when you don’t have much time to spend in the kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 227g asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 (170g) tilapia fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and diced
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup baby carrots, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp friend oregano
  • salt and pepper, as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat olive oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Add lemon juice, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange tilapia fillets, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli and carrots in a single layer on a large sheet pan. Pour the spice mixture on top of the fish and veggies. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  4. Transfer to a platter and serve.

4. ROAST CHICKEN AND SWEET POTATOES IN MISO-BUTTER SAUCE

Chicken and sweet potatoes are some of the best ingredients for leftovers. They’re sturdy, so they’ll hold up even after a few days in the fridge. Chicken and sweet potatoes are also good for weight loss. Thus, even a small serving of this roast chicken and sweet potatoes in the miso-butter sauce will be enough to keep you full and satiated for a long time after eating. Whatever you have left over can be eaten the next day — and it’ll be just as delicious then, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1.8kg chicken pieces
  • 680g baby sweet potatoes, halved
  • 3 cups white or yellow miso paste
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 bunch chives, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt, as needed

Directions:

  1. Preheat a slow-cooker on high heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place butter and 1/2 cup miso paste in a medium bowl. Mash to combine the ingredients.
  3. Brush sweet potatoes with a small dollop of miso-butter mixture. Season with salt. Then, place potatoes in the bottom of the slow-cooker.
  4. Use the rest of the miso-butter mixture to coat the chicken pieces. Place chicken on top of sweet potatoes.
  5. Cover the slow-cooker and cook on low heat for 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is cooked. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Preheat the broiler on high heat. Place a rack 6 inches from the heat source.
  7. Combine the remaining miso paste with honey in a small bowl.
  8. Transfer the chicken, with the skin side up, and the sweet potatoes onto the baking sheet. Drizzle miso-honey mixture on top of chicken and potatoes. Broil for 5 minutes or until chicken skin is crisp and dark golden brown.
  9. Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle chives on top of chicken and sweet potatoes. Serve.

5. SALMON, BROCCOLI AND QUINOA WITH ORANGE-SESAME DRESSING

One of my healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers is an Asian dish that’s delicious and flavourful. This recipe for salmon, broccoli and quinoa with orange-sesame dressing will keep you full and satiated, too, without having to go over your daily calorie limit. As a healthy dish, you won’t feel bad about eating leftovers for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 227g broccoli florets
  • 4 (113g) wild-caught salmon fillets
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup and 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions, but replace 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup orange juice. Remove from heat and stir in scallions.
  2. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Line a large baking sheet with aluminium foil.
  3. Place broccoli, olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl. Toss to evenly coat broccoli with mixture. Transfer to baking sheet and roast for 5 minutes.
  4. Place 2 tsp sesame oil, garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a small bowl. Brush mixture onto the surfaces of the salmon.
  5. Push aside broccoli and place salmon on one side of the baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until salmon is cooked through. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of salmon.
  6. Place 1/3 cup orange juice, 1 tsp sesame oil, tamari, ginger and cornstarch in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk to combine ingredients. Microwave on high heat for 1 minute.
  7. Transfer salmon, broccoli and quinoa to a platter. Drizzle with orange-sesame sauce and serve.

6. HEALTHY GREEN CHICKEN CURRY

Healthy green chicken curry is perfect for dieters who are craving the classic Indian dish. You’ll be able to satiate your craving without straying from your weight loss diet. Curries hold up well, too, so they’re good to eat for lunch the next day. As such, this green chicken curry dish is one of the healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into small pieces
  • 150g green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 3 long green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium red capsicum, deseeded and sliced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1/4 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 (2cm) fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 (400ml) can light coconut milk
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 1 1/4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • coriander leaves, as needed

Directions:

  1. For the green curry paste: Place chilli, garlic, onion, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, lime juice and coriander in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a smooth paste texture. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chicken. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned.
  3. Stir in green curry paste. Cook, while stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add coconut milk, vegetable stock and kaffir lime leaves. Reduce heat to medium low and cover the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add green beans, capsicum, fish sauce and coconut sugar to the pan. Let simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Stir in peas and let simmer for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle coriander on top. Serve with brown rice or quinoa if desired.

7. MEDITERRANEAN CHICKPEA AND QUINOA BOWL

This Mediterranean chickpea and quinoa bowl is perfect if you want a dish that’s suitable as a light lunch or a hearty dinner. It’s packed with protein, so even a small serving of this healthy dish can keep you full for a long time.

Nevertheless, it won’t make you feel bloated or stuffed so it’s a good choice for a quick, grab-and-go lunch. Since the ingredients hold up well, this Mediterranean chickpea and quinoa bowl is one of the healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (198g) jar roasted red peppers, rinsed
  • 1 (425g) can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup almonds, slivered
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Directions:

  1. Place garlic, red peppers, almonds, 2 tbsp olive oil, paprika, cumin and crushed red pepper in the food processor. Pulse until the mixture has a smooth texture.
  2. Place quinoa, olives, red onion and 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium bowl.
  3. Combine quinoa mixture with chickpeas, cucumber and red pepper sauce.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle feta cheese and parsley on top. Serve.

8. CAULIFLOWER RICE STIR-FRY

Cauliflower is one of the best vegetables for weight loss — especially when eaten in place of white rice. It’s low in calories and high in fibre. So, even if it lowers your daily calorie intake, it can keep you full for a long time.

Cauliflower also holds up well, so it’s great to eat as leftovers. With that said, I’ve included this cauliflower rice stir-fry in our list of healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • coarse salt, as needed

Directions:

  1. Place cauliflower florets in the food processor. Pulse until vegetable is finely chopped.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 red onion and 2 cloves garlic. Cook for 6 minutes or until tender. Add cauliflower and season with salt.
  3. Stir in vegetable broth. Cover pan and let steam for 6 minutes or until broth has evaporated. Set aside.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 red onion; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until tender. Add 2 cloves of garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook for another minute.
  5. Stir in broccoli, carrot and bell pepper. Cook, while stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until tender. Season with salt. Remove from heat and drizzle lemon juice.
  6. Transfer cauliflower rice to a platter. Top with vegetables, then sprinkle cilantro and pumpkin seeds. Serve.

9. SOBA NOODLES WITH GINGER-PEANUT SAUCE

Though your weight loss meal plan doesn’t include pasta anymore, you can still have some noodles — specifically, soba noodles. They’re good for weight loss because they have fewer calories than traditional pasta. Soba noodles are also packed with protein and fibre so they can keep you full for a longer period.

With this recipe for soba noodles with ginger-peanut sauce, you can enjoy different textures and flavours. This dish even tastes better in the following days, making it one of our healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 170g low-sodium soba noodles
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh lime zest

Directions:

  1. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  2. Place garlic, peanut butter, 1/4 cup cilantro, rice vinegar, ginger, lime juice, agave nectar, soy sauce and lime zest in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the texture is smooth and creamy. You can add water to dilute the mixture if needed.
  3. Place carrot, cucumber, bell pepper and ginger-peanut mixture in a large bowl. Add the soba noodles. Toss to combine the ingredients.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cilantro and peanuts on top. Serve.

10. YOGHURT MARINATED CHICKEN SKEWERS

Yoghurt marinated chicken skewers is the last of our healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers. This low-calorie dish has a tangy yoghurt-spice marinade that pairs well with the juicy protein-packed chicken.

It’s also a versatile dish. You can eat it with vegetables, brown rice or quinoa for a satisfying dinner. Then, you can pair it with a salad for a light lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

  • 680g boneless and skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 198g plain Greek yoghurt
  • 3 large cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 small yellow onion, grated
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • minced parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine yoghurt, garlic, onion, olive oil, chilli powder, cumin, sea salt and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add chicken to the bowl. Stir to evenly coat the chicken pieces with the yoghurt marinade. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the grill on high heat when ready to cook.
  3. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers. Cook on the grill for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Turn skewers frequently while cooking.
  4. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle parsley on top. Serve.

You can easily cook your dinner and lunch the next day with these healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers. The combination of sturdy ingredients and persisting flavours means that your next-day leftovers will taste just as delicious as when the diet-friendly dish was first prepared.

Now that you know 10 different healthy dinner recipes that make great leftovers, you can enjoy a variety of dishes — even if you didn’t have much time to cook in the kitchen.

ANTHONY HILL, FOUNDER

Anthony Hill

When you put together the sum total of my 30 years of bodybuilding training, the contests, the vast array of diets I have experimented (tortured) myself with as well as the experiences I have been through with various training partners in the gyms I have trained in all over the world, it’s been a great ride and I wouldn’t change it for anything. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to be able to do lots of personal training for private clients alongside my day job. For a few years during my 30’s, I moved to Asia and worked as the Fitness Manager and head personal trainer at one of Thailand’s leading gyms in Bangkok. Learn More

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