How to Turn (Almost) Any Leftovers into a Sandwich Lunch

March 22, 2016

Among our go-to lunchtime heroes—hearty soup, grain bowls, dumplings—none travel so gracefully or are as satisfying as the humble sandwich. It doesn't ask for much (not even to be reheated) and delivers all the basic food groups—no fork required. But even sandwiches have their faults: They require a fully-stocked drawer of cold cuts and can get old quickly (even if you love grilled cheeses).

"When I grow up, I want to be a sandwich!" — Meatball

To give our lunchtime sandwiches a kick, but still keep things simple, we're drawing inspiration from our leftovers. Here are 20 ways to transform tonight's dinner into tomorrow's sandwich, with minimal effort:

Roasted Vegetables

Either keep things simple and slather toast with a little bit of olive oil to let the vegetables speak for themselves, or process your roasted vegetables and combine them—with the help of beans and grains—into a veggie burger. And if you're lucky enough to have any ricotta dregs, pesto, or tapenade in your fridge, use it up by slathering it on your slices before pressing the vegetables in between.


The next time you make a batch of spaghetti and meatballs, classic Swedish fare, or meatless balls, save a few for tomorrow's lunch, then put them in a pita with Greek yogurt or tahini, or a sub with gobs of mozzarella.


What's bread but an extra-large crouton? If you have a thick dressing left over, slather it onto the sides of your bread before pressing your salad in between—just remember to toast the bread beforehand to keep it crouton-level crispy.


Don't jump to any conclusions on this one until you've mixed your shrimp with a white bean purée and slapped it onto a croissant, made a tuna salad sandwich with fresh tuna—even better if it's a melt—or put your scallops between ciabatta.

Roast Chicken

If you're a believer that roast chicken is never quite as good as it was when you first took it out of the oven, might we suggest a leftover chicken sandwich? Pile a few slices high with roasted onions, dressing, and greens and for a lunchtime masterpiece.

Breakfast for Dinner

You know what they say: "Last night's waffles are tomorrow's grilled cheese." And if they don't say that, they should. (That goes for bacon, too.)

What leftovers will you be turning into a sandwich? Tell us in the comments below!

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1 Comment

Paula B. March 25, 2016
You've got lots of great ideas here. It seems like I've always got leftovers in the fridge, so I'll definitely be trying some of these!

Paula, Editor, PJ Media Parenting