By Becca DiCenso
We all know about the kitchen secret of turning our leftovers into a soup concoction to give them new life. But what about flip-flopping the situation and turning your leftover soups into something brand spankin’ new? Let’s do it!
With all the amazing weight loss and fat-burning soups out there, we’re big fans of soup around here at Eat This, Not That! There is simply no denying that it’s a great way to eat nutritiously when you’re looking to lose a layer of flubber before warmer weather hits. But just like most things here in America, we tend to go overboard on preparing too much—and end up with absolutely no clue what to do with the leftovers.
It might sound like the easiest option is to just zap the remaining soup in the microwave before eating again…for the fourth time this week…but who wants to do that when there are these fun easy tricks to getting a completely new meal out of it? With no force-feeding necessary, there are tons of ways to still eat that leftover soup three days later. And we’re not just talking broths and stocks; there are plenty of hacks that will get those heavier bean and meat soups incorporated into your meals in brand-new ways, too! Soups are a fun addition to a recipe when you’re looking to lighten it up or when you need to add some necessary flavors to a dish that are otherwise a bit bland.
We’ve discovered these 15 ways to use leftover soup that we’re sharing below. Just make sure you steer clear of ever putting these 20 Worst Ingredients to Put Into Your Soup in the first place!
1. Replace Water with Flavor
By adding chicken stock instead of water to cooking different grains like rice, or seeds like quinoa you give a dish a lot more dimension with a bolder flavor and a richer texture. Since the stock is generally a thicker liquid than water, the smoothness of the dish is bound to go way up! Rice, quinoa, and other similar starchy foods have such mild flavor on their own that by simply switching out the water with stock they absorb the bright flavors and improve the whole meal. (We also love to replace water with tea for a boost of antioxidants! Green tea with quinoa works especially well, according to Kelly Choi, author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse.) Soups work particularly well with risottos; you can also remove the oil and use more vegetable broth to lower the fats.
2. Lighten Up Pasta Night
A light version of the beloved Alfredo sauce is super easy by simply ditching the heavy cream base and replacing it with 2% or nut milk instead. Cook the milk with Parmesan cheese, butter, chicken stock, and spices—and there’s no way this lighter Alfredo won’t please your taste buds. It’s the uncomplicated little swap-outs that really make up for it in the long run when you’re looking to lose those love handles!
3. Cut the Fat
Lowering the fat content when sauteing vegetables is simple by replacing the oil with a vegetable broth and a great alternative to help you lose weight. The great part about cooking with broth instead of oil is that you get all the flavor of what’s actually being cooked instead of only tasting the oil coating. Vegetables naturally release a lot of water when they’re being cooked so it’s unnecessary to add too much broth, just a small amount will do the trick. This is an easy switch that won’t fall short on flavor!
4. Make Skinny Mashed Potatoes
Mash potatoes are comfort food royalty. They definitely taking the cake when it comes to choosing a heavy side dish loaded with creams and fats. Instead of using cream, use some chicken or veggie stock to lighten it up a bit. The stock will bring extra taste and a consistency that keeps that creamy texture you’re looking for. Mash them up with garlic, chives, spices and butter and you’ll feel full and light leaving the dinner table.
5. Cook the Best Stuffing Ever
Stuffing is a perfect way to put leftover bread and leftover soup to its best use. Use a plain stock or an entire veggie soup to cover the stale bread cubes and cook for the same amount of time as usual. For Thanksgiving or a random Tuesday night, this is an easy way to put good use to food that would otherwise end up in the trash. Combine this with the mashed potatoes in step 4 and that’s sure to be a meal you won’t forget.
6. Make Oatmeal Savory
Oats are always a fun way to spice up the morning because there are so many sweet endless options. But, wait! Here’s a way to eat your oats at night and not feel like you’re just eating a sweet breakfast for dinner! Oatmeal is an extremely fiber-filled grain that adds a lot of nutrients to a diet but typically has a mildly boring flavor. By adding a broth to oatmeal (instead of the normal milk or water), you’re getting a savory component that builds to the flavor profile of the bland oats. From there, you can really go wild! Add any of your favorite veggies or lean meats to get a complete meal that’s fun and easy, any time of the day.
7. Create a Low-Sugar Pizza Sauce
Pizza and pasta sauces bought from the grocery store are usually filled with fake sugars and processed preservatives. This is a little change up to your average pizza sauce that includes butternut squash and chicken broth with no tomatoes in sight so it’s also completely nightshade free, just like Gisele and Tom would prefer (no inflammation here)! The squash gives the sauce a mildly sweet flavor along with spices that make it super appetizing. Try it on your next pizza and you’ll see why we’re such big fans. All you need to do is combine the following ingredients, heat on the stove, and then add to your favorite pizza or pasta dish! Grab your ingredients—1 cup pureed butternut squash, ½ cup of chicken broth, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. onion powder, ¾ tsp. basil, ¾ tsp. dried oregano—and voila!
8. Make a Lean Casserole
Casseroles are the go-to whenever there are any leftovers in the fridge. With casseroles, you can take just about anything you have left from the past week’s dinners and turn them into a new meal (even soup). Make sure you have a binder like eggs or potatoes included so that everything stays together! Use those heavier soups here to give it a nice consistency that you’ll really love!
Make a deconstructed burger by adding some beef or turkey to your leftover minestrone, vegetable or bean soups. You can add spices and top with a few crushed croutons too. There are tons of hamburger soup recipes on the web so search em’ up and get cookin’! We found this one from Art and the Kitchen and we’re really digging it: Italian Turkey Burger Soup.
10. Make a Light Version of an Old Fave
Use our potato soup recipe to make a lightened-up hearty Polish dumpling dish. This food is more commonly known as the Pierogi, which is normally filled with a lot of fatty sour cream. Instead of using the classic filling just add one more baked potato plus another tablespoon of flour to thicken it up. Put about a tablespoon of the potato soup mix in the center of a 3-inch wonton wrapper, fold and seal the edges. Oven bake at 415 degrees for 15 minutes. We recommend using Nasoya All Natural Wonton Wrappers (8 wrappers have only 1 gram of sugar and .5 grams of fat!).
11. Whip up a Stir Fry
Turn a boring soup it into a stir fry dish. Take out some of the broth, add fresh veggies, tofu or chicken breasts and noodles like the Sea Tangle Noodle Company Kelp Noodles that’s on our list of 9 Best Pastas for Weight Loss. There’s something so comforting about having a warm broth with your noodles in combination with some soft wholesome vegetables. Warning: Slurping noodles too fast can get messy!
12. Try a Savory Pancake
Heard of savory pancakes? Well if you haven’t, you have got to try them! Instead of using water or milk as the liquid, add in 1 cup of leftover chicken or vegetable stock with 1 cup whole wheat flour along with some of your favorite spices and veggies, then lightly oil the dough and cook it just like you normally would cook a pancake. Voila, you’ve got yourself some savory delicious pancakes! The broth adds a ton of extra needed flavor to a dish that is usually on the bland end.
13. Drink it Straight
Forget the coffee and tea; broth is new morning go-to drink. Put it in the same cup you would for your old favorites, and guzzle it down on your AM commute. Broths that are made of meat, veggies or even bones are packed full of nutrients that will give you enough energy to get your day going! Make sure you strain any of the excess denser ingredients so you’re just drinking the liquid!
14. Brine Your Meats
Making your own brine with a homemade broth is easy and adds some major juiciness to your meats. Combine the veggie, chicken or beef broth with spices. The brine prevents you from overcooking the meat and brings extra flavor to the table. When you’re adding spices you can adapt the amount of salt to your own needs so you’re not overdoing it on the sodium. That’s another huge plus with making your own broth over store bought—you know exactly what’s going into!
15. Wrap a Burrito
Getting a Tex-Mex craving? Chili and bean-based soups are easy to dehydrate by heating in a saucepan. Use your leftover soup to fill a tortilla or make a burrito bowl. Add fresh toppings like homemade guacamole and crunchy onions.
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