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Give Your Beef Leftovers a Second Life

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No one hears “leftovers” and starts signing Fergie’s “G-L-A-M-O-R-OUS”, but hear us out. Not only does repurposing leftovers help you cut back on food waste, which is great for both your wallet (win!) and the environment (double win!), it also means you’ve already done the heavy-lifting meal prep, so you can quickly assemble dinner the next night. Whether you have extra pot roast or meatloaf, you can turn them into dinnertime gold. Here are a few ideas for what to make with leftover beef…

Make the Most of Pot Roast

birria tacos made from leftovers

Pot roast—chuck roast braised in beef broth or wine with veggies like onions or carrots—is so versatile you might want to make one just to tap for leftovers all week. The next day, take the meat and shred it (bonus: this is particularly soothing after a stressful day). So many different cuisines feature shredded beef, like Cuban vaca frita: pan-fried beef served with rice, black beans, and sauteed onions (if you cooked some alliums with your pot roast, use those to save even more time).

Or how about using shredded beef from leftovers as a tortilla filling? You can make tacos (with chopped onion, cilantro, and salsa), burritos (wrapped up with rice, beans, guacamole, and vegetables), or enchiladas (rolled up in a baking dish, topped with salsa and shredded cheese, and baked until it’s all warm and melty). Try our birria tacos recipe using leftover chuck roast and your taco night will never be the same.

You could also set the shredded meat over white rice with veggies, a fried egg, kimchi, or gochujang for bibimbap. Or, mix it with barbecue sauce for a shredded beef sandwich. There’s no limit to what you can do.

Maximize Your Meatballs and Meatloaf

meatball sandwich

Whether you made Diane’s classic meatloaf from scratch or heated up some frozen meatballs to have with spaghetti (zero judgment here!), the leftovers are already seasoned and sauced, so you don’t need to add anything else in terms of flavor.

Meatloaf makes an absolutely delicious sandwich. Just cut a thick slice and set between pieces of white bread with mayo, lettuce, pickles, onions, and whatever other fixings you want; this is the kind of sandwich where whatever sounds good to you will work.

For meatballs, yeah, you can also make them into a sandwich, but why not make a dish inspired by British sausage rolls? Tap into your inner British Bake-Off contestant, and slice them in half (or use slabs of meatloaf) and line them up on puff pastry, then roll it all up and bake until golden. Dunk the meaty, crispy rolls into mustard or marinara for a tasty snack that will have your pals calling you Star Baker.

Steak: Take Two

garlic-citrus tri-tip tostada

If you’ve splurged on steak, you don’t want a single scrap to go to waste. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do with the extra steak. To make a stir fry, cut it into thin slices and toss it in a wok with broccoli, snow peas, carrots, and some soy sauce or stir fry sauce, and serve it over white rice with scallions.

The same method works with fried rice: start by cooking day-old fried rice (using up more leftovers, baby!) in oil, then once that’s toasty, add in cubed steak, onions, and bell peppers. Finish with a fried egg and some sriracha or spicy mayo.

Sliced steak is also great in a salad to amp up the protein while still getting some greens, or in nachos along with melted cheddar, black beans, pickled jalapenos, and sour cream.

Our garlic-citrus tri-tip tostada recipe is another delicious way to use up your extra steak.

Corned Beef Rehash

corned beef hash sandwich

Not just for St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef is a leftover powerhouse year-round (that green beer though, not so much). You can slice it up for Reubens, the delish sandwiches with Swiss, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island, but you don’t need to stop there. You can cut it into cubes and make hash with potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and a fried egg.

It’s also delicious in shepherd’s pie, which typically calls for ground beef. Cube it up with cooked veggies like onions, cabbage, and carrots, add to a baking dish, then top it with mashed potatoes and bake. It’s not your typical March 17 classic, but you can make it one this year.

Looking Forward to Beef Leftovers

As Beefitarians, we just love to savor every morsel possible. Check out all our recipes for even more ideas—though we can’t guarantee you’ll have leftovers.

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