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Lovely Leftovers

Lovely Leftovers with Merchant Gourmet Simply Cooked Beluga Lentils

By Alex Mackay

You’ve been asking us how to use up your leftover grains and lentils. I’m the perfect person to answer you because I can’t bear food waste and I love leftovers so much that I often create them on purpose. Think of leftovers as a bonus, a head start to your next meal, a way of turning two portions into three. Half a pouch can be enough for a healthy packed lunch; a delightful dinner, a late-night cheese fest or a side dish for two. Just a few spoonfuls can be an exciting addition to anything from porridge to pasta sauce. Here are a few suggestions to get you started, after that the ideas are as endless as your imagination…

These ideas will work with any of the plain pouches of grains and pulses unless I’ve been specific:

  1. Add the last of your lentils or grains to a bolognese for bulk, extra taste and texture.
  2. Fry Freekeh for 30 seconds in hot oil, add smoked paprika and salt flakes then mix with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the top of pasta and gnocchi or to use as a crunchy topping for a gratin or bake, totally delicious!
  3. Stir the simply cooked grains or pulses into tomato sauce for extra flavour and texture, also additional protein in the case of lentils and quinoa!
  4. Mix grains or lentils with macaroni or cauliflower cheese or use go that extra step and make it all about the grains and lentils like our Cheesey Puy Lentil and Squash Bake
  5. Make ‘gremolata’ with quinoa, garlic, lemon zest and parsley to scatter over stews, soups, salads and pastas.
  6. Add grains or lentils to salsa roll into wraps to serve with crisp tacos.
  7. Add grains or lentils to hot broth in place of noodles, I particularly like to do this with the wholegrain rice and seaweed as it works so well.
  8. Stir leftover lentils and grains into mince for meatballs, this adds brilliant texture and makes the your leftover grains!
  9. Mix your leftover quinoa or grains in with your porridge oats before cooking them, season with a touch of orange or lemon zest and juice and a squeeze of honey!
  10. Stir lentils or grains into vegetable curry sauce.
  11. Add the remains of your cooked Puy or Beluga lentils into your mashed sweet or normal potato
  12. Use your leftover quinoa as a crust for roasted potatoes/chicken/fish – or for use for any breadcrumb recipes
  13. Throw your leftover grains in your smoothie
  14. Add your grains to an omelette
  15. Crisp up your grains in a little oil (add your favourite seasoning) and use as a crunchy salad topper or just have in a bag at work for a little snack