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Leftover Bowl Recipe

A Health Conscious Recipe / Guide for Leftovers

The average American discards about 20 pounds of food each month

Up to 40% of food in the US and a third of food produced around the world is never eaten.

This food waste has an impact on the environment as well as on your grocery bill and your nutrient intake.

Creative Cooking for the Health-Conscious Gourmet

Low-Calorie | Low-Fat | Low-Cholesterol

leftover bowl recipe

Healthy Leftover Bowl Recipe

This quick healthy meal uses up leftovers you have in your refrigerator and includes almost all of the food groups. While it calls for beef and chili powder to make a Mexican themed bowl, you can substitute chicken, turkey, ground beef, or a plant-based meat alternative and change the vegetables and flavoring to fit your leftovers (See Notes below). 


leftover bowl recipe

  • 3/4 cup cooked rice 

  • 3 oz cooked, beef

  • 3 Tbsp Italian dressing

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • ½ cup black beans 

  • ½ cup diced tomatoes

  • ¼ of an avocado

  • 2 Tbsp each of corn, onions, green peppers 

  • ½ oz cheese 

  • 2 Tbsp salsa

  • Cilantro for garnish  


These instructions are for a microwave, but if you use an oven, preheat to 300°F, use an oven-proof bowl, cover, and heat for 20 minutes.

  • Mix salad dressing and chili powder in a bowl with the meat. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator.

  • Spray a microwave-safe bowl with cooking spray. 

  • Shred, slice, or dice the meat into bite size pieces. Discard the marinade.

  • Add rice and marinated meat to the bowl.

  • Cover and heat for 1 minute in microwave. Stir and add in the beans and corn. Microwave for another minute or until hot.

  • Top with any additional veggies along with the cheese, and salsa

NOTES: Create your own bowl recipe by using different combinations of starches, protein foods, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and flavorings such as those suggested below. If cooking for a group, heat the starches and proteins in separate bowls. Reheat meat slowly on low heat with a small amount of broth or water to keep it from drying out. Offer a variety of toppings including cold vegetables, fruits, yogurt, sauces, gravies, and salad dressings. Everyone can choose their own combinations.

  • Choose the starch: Use any grain or starchy vegetable such as leftover noodles, pasta, quinoa, rice, or potatoes.  For more fiber, choose a whole grain like brown rice. Make a lower calorie room temperature bowl using lettuce or spinach instead of a grain.

  • Add some protein: Cooked turkey, beef, chicken, fish, tofu, garbanzo beans, or a plant-based meat alternative

  • Color with vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, avocados, or whatever vegetables you have available.

  • Dash in some dairy: Cheese, yogurt 

  • Sweeten with fruit: Add cut up apples, oranges, grapes, or berries or serve them on the side.

  • Flavor it: Mix in a sauce, gravy, salsa, Asian dressing, or a spice mix like taco seasoning. 

Nutritional Information:

Serves 1

575 Calories, 7g saturated fat, 70 g carb, 11g fiber, 45 grams protein, 750 mg sodium, 960 mg potassium 

Chef and Author: Mary B Grosvenor, MS,RD and Lori A Smolin,PhD

Medically Reviewed by FibonacciMD editors.

Check out this great article " Food Waste: Be part of the solution"


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