Dump Dishes Are The Best Way To Meal Prep

Person stacking three containers of vegetables
Person stacking three containers of vegetables - Violetastoimenova/Getty Images

Not all of us are meal planners, and to some extent, that's okay. But it's hard to be an effective grocery shopper without a meal prep list. Even roughly planning meals can help organize thoughts about what key ingredients to buy and how you can combine them into different recipes throughout the week. Remember the essence of meal planning: less is more.

Even if you don't want to overbuy, it's bound to happen. Maybe you bought too much spinach or boiled too much pasta, but you don't want it to go to waste. When this happens, resort to the dump dish, a tasty and efficient way to use food leftovers.

A "dump dish" refers to any meal that uses leftovers in your fridge as ingredients. These dishes come in many variations and can accommodate almost any food — leftover salads, stews, soups, stir fry, pasta, and omelets are just a few examples. Just pick your dish and toss in any leftover meats and wilting veggies. Your meal will feel fresh again, and you'll have more room in the fridge!

Read more: The Best Ways To Use Leftover Buttermilk

There Are No Rules For Dump Dishes

Spinach omelet with cherry tomato
Spinach omelet with cherry tomato - Katarzyna Hurova/Shutterstock

Dump dishes require a bit of creativity, so let go of any preconceived notions about what constitutes a proper dish. For example, how about blending a thick, creamy spinach-and-tofu sauce for pasta? It sounds different, but that's where its beauty lies. To make the sauce's base, put tofu in a blender with all the leftover spinach you can fit inside. Then flavor the concoction with lemon juice, herbs like mint or basil, and a few cloves of garlic. Now you have a pasta sauce that's packed with greens that would otherwise be wilting away in the fridge.

Along this same line, a simple veggie omelet can use up a few eggs and beyond. Have half an onion left over from yesterday? Dice it up and throw some in. A bit of shredded cheddar still in the cheese drawer? Now you're having a cheesy omelet. Use this same mindset to finesse any leftover ingredients into a surprisingly delicious dump dish. Whether you're a meal planner or not, these dishes ensure nothing ever goes to waste.

Read the original article on Mashed.